But the same cannot be said for when you are interviewing for a job.
Alexander and Meagan Julian provided advice for students on how to wear professional attire and establish an image Wednesday at the Carolina Inn. The talk was organized by University Career Services.
Some of their tips included dressing more formally than you think is necessary and in a way that will convey a respect for the position.
The Julians, famous for their fashion design, may be best known at UNC for their store on Franklin Street, which was opened by Alexander Julian’s parents.
Alexander Julian said dressing is an opportunity for self-expression, but clothes should not interfere with one’s image. Both Julians said the way clothes fit is important, and Meagan Julian added that both men and women should invest in altering for their work clothes.
“You have to feel comfortable in your clothes to perform in them,” Alexander Julian said.
Men’s choices are rather straightforward, while women must choose from more options for professional attire, Meagan Julian said. She said women have to be careful not to wear too much makeup, have too short a skirt or leave bra straps uncovered in a professional setting.
“You’re not looking for a date, you’re looking for a job,” she said.
Ray Angle, director of University Career Services, said understanding how to dress in a job’s environment and culture shows professionalism to employers. Internships can often lead to future job opportunities with the company, and dressing well during the internship could be a factor, Angle said.
“Employers often say that students come to them with the book knowledge, but they may not have what we call the soft skills, or the interpersonal skills,” he said.
Freshman Rachel Posey said she was happy with her first Career Services event, particularly because of its relevance to her career goals.
“I thought it was really helpful, especially from a female standpoint because the lines between different things that are appropriate for women can be really blurry sometimes,” Posey said.
Austin Smith, another freshman, said the lecture helped clarify different standards of professional dress.
“You think you understand, but when you get an email and it says dress casual, dress business casual, you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be wearing,” Smith said. “It’s nice to have leading experts in style to give you the thumbs-up for what you should be doing.”
Alexander Julian and two of his children are UNC graduates, while two of his other children are current students.
He joked that his favorite suit he has ever designed is the UNC men’s basketball team’s argyle uniform, and said he still feels connected to his alma mater.
“I would do whatever I can to help Carolina.”