What to Wear to a College Career Fair

If you’re a college senior, congratulations! You’re almost there. Now comes the time to put your hard-earned degree to good use. If you’re looking to fully understand your options after attending university, college career fairs are an excellent place to start. Career fairs help you network through meeting representatives from different businesses, determine your next steps, and make a first impression that can help you get your foot in the door at a competitive company.

But you’ll only see all those benefits if you wear the right clothes. If you want recruiters to see you in the best light, you need to wear the best stuff – let’s break down what to wear to a college career fair in detail.

Smart Casual is the Rule

First things first: you should dress in the “smart casual” style when attending a college fair. If you don’t already know, smart casual means:

  • Combining casual clothing items, like comfortable shoes and shirts, with more formal items like tailored pants or a nice skirt
  • Wearing clothes that are casual enough to suffice on a “casual Friday” at the office
  • Wearing clothes that aren't as formal as a full-on business suit for men or women

Your college professors typically exemplify the smart casual aesthetic. Think collared polo shirts, tailored slacks, long skirts, and good accessories. If you dress in the smart casual style, you’ll look mature and ready to attend college.

Shirts and Blouses

With out of the way, let’s break down some specific clothing options.

Men and women alike can wear collared shirts. Collared or polo T-shirts or long-sleeve shirts are great choices. If you want to lean a bit more toward the casual side of things, men can wear Henley shirts instead.

Women also have the option to wear modest or conservative blouses. The goal for your upper clothing items is to look ready to work. Don’t wear graphic tee shirts or especially any shirts with offensive imagery or language on them.

Trousers and Skirts

Legwear follows essentially the same philosophy.

Men and women alike can both wear tailored trousers. Tailored trousers look great since they appear to fit much better than trousers you purchase off the rack at a store.

Women have the additional choice of stylish skirts. The skirts shouldn’t be too short (the old school rule of, “longer than your fingers outstretched hanging out your sides” applies here). Skirts can be and are worn at the office, so they fit the smart casual aesthetic.

As far as trousers go, washed Charleston khakis are excellent options. Not only are these trousers you might wear out your future workplace, but they’re not so formal that you can’t go do something after the college fair with your friends.

You can try to impress college fair attendees or college recruiters by wearing some cotton twill pants as well. These come in a variety of colors – spice things up with a bright shade like green or blue and you’ll be smart casual without seeming overly stiff or serious.

Smart Accessories

Any good smart casual outfit is completed with the inclusion of certain accessories. Men and women can both wear watches, and women can wear plenty of smart casual jewelry.

Men should consider their belts when putting together their career-fair outfits. Quality leather belts are better than metal or rope belts by far. Make sure the belt fits snugly around your hip and that the tongue of the belt doesn’t hang over one of your hips when you’re finished tightening it.

Comfortable Shoes

Then there are shoes. Oxford shoes, comfortable sneakers, and similar footwear are fine. You don't need to wear full-on dress shoes to a college fair! In fact, opt for comfortable footwear no matter whether you're a guy or gal – odds are you'll be walking around for several hours, and you don't want your feet to hurt while talking to a recruiter.

Just avoid open-toed shoes like sandals or flip-flops, as these footwear options are not serious enough to fit in the smart casual mold. At worst, they can signal to a recruiter that you aren't very serious.

Get the Look at Vintage

As you can see, there are lots of great options to wear smart casual to your next college career fair. Who knows? A recruiter might be so impressed with your outfit that they recommend you apply to their company then and there! Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, and we wish you the best of luck.

For more style inspiration, shop the Vintage 1946 collections today.

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