(Fashion expert Joyann King explains the basics of dressing appropriately for every opportunity.)
Got a lunch date with a friend who knows a friend who has a friend who is hiring? Did the boss invite you to join him at the Yankees game? Schmoozing at a gallery opening? If your calendar is chock-full of potential networking opportunities, it’s time to make an appointment with your closet as well.
Networking outside the office is your best chance to meet new people beyond your corporate circle who can help promote your career. It’s also a no-man’s land when it comes to the dress code.
Networking is not an interview, and once outside the office, the strict rules of the dress code no longer apply. You’re left on your own to overdress and look like you don’t belong or underdress and look like you’ll never belong.
If you’re not sure what everyone will be wearing, ask around to ensure you won’t be the only one sans suit. When in doubt, business casual is your best bet. But the clothes call could run the gamut from a tuxedo to jeans. Networking outside the office, with more focus on culture and entertainment, is also the perfect opportunity to be more fashion forward and express yourself. This is not a free pass to don your sequined ‘80s jumpsuit, but wear your favorite colors; accessorize; and, most of all, smile.
To help you dress properly for the occasions you might encounter on the job search, here are some common networking scenarios as well as some stylish solutions for men and women facing each event.