When Should I Wear a Business Suit?

WIB Answers Your Questions About Business Suits

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Question: When should I wear a business suit?

WIB Answers: Knowing when to wear a suit is not hard if you follow a few simple guidelines. And, when in doubt, in a business setting, opt for a suit. For men, a suit consists of dress pants, jacket, shirt, and tie. For women, a suit consists of a jacket, blouse, and either a dress pant or skirt.

Why You Should Wear a Suit

Wearing the right suit commands and projects respect whether it is in a professional or personal situation.

Arriving at an event or meeting in a suit conveys a subtle, but powerful message you are there to focus on the matter at hand.

When You Should Wear a Suit

You should wear an appropriate business suit:

  • At any business networking event not specifically mentioned as “business casual” or “casual attire.” The term “informal business attire” does not mean casual and may still require both men and women dress conservatively.


  • When talking about proper business attire, the terms “informal” and “standard” do not mean “casual dress,” “semi-casual,” or “smart casual.”


    Wear a suit when the event calls for any of the following: “informal attire, or “standard business attire,” “International business attire” or “Western business attire.”


  • Any time you want to convey the image that “you mean business” or need to show you are in control (even if you are not). For example, a suit is appropriate for contract negotiations, depositions, and board meetings (especially if you are the chair person).


  • Any time you are representing, presenting, or defending yourself or your company in the media, a legal setting, or other situation where you need to convey a message of power and competence and respectability.


  • Always wear a suit for a job interview, including informal interviews and job inquiries at career fairs and expos.


  • Unless otherwise requested or noted on an invitation as “casual attire,” men should wear a suit to weddings and funerals. Women are not required to wear suits to funerals and weddings, but should still dress conservatively (and never out dress the bride).

The purpose of wearing a business suit is to convey a message that you are a competent professional treating a particular situation as business.

In certain personal situations, such as weddings and funerals, wearing a suit conveys a message of respect to the person or occasion.

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