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June 25, 2008

How to Dress for the Job You Want

what to wear for a job in finance

Dress for a job in: Finance

Photo Credit: Taghi Naderzad

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"Wall Street may be 95 percent men, but don't dress like one. But don't dress like a girly-girl either."

Promotion vs. Demotion
Tailored shirts with stretch—fitted looks more feminine
Express your personality through shoes—an element of style you can have fun with
Have your tailor put a hook-and-eye inside the bust of your button-down to keep your bra hidden

Linen—no matter how gorgeous or expensive, by the end of the day, it's a wrinkled mess
Camisoles, spandex, and cropped tops. These are for weekends only
Wearing bright colors—you'll stand out at the Stock Exchange, and not in a good way

FUTURE MOGUL: Lucia Knight, 27, bond sales assistant on the trading floor

EXPERT: Becky Quick, co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk Box and former financial reporter for The Wall Street Journal

FORMALITY FACTOR: (10/10) "Nothing less than impeccable is what flies on Wall Street. If your lipstick's a mess or your skirt is too trendy, it instantly devalues you. Wall Street may be 95 percent men, but don't dress like one—but don't dress like a girly-girl either."

THE GOAL: "Like their male colleagues, women need great-looking go-to suits and several pairs of killer classic shoes."

THE MUST-HAVES: "Three good suits—black, gray, and brown—off the rack that a tailor can make into great suits. Pay special attention to fit, fabric, and sleeve-cuff length: When your arm is straight down, the cuff should stop between your wrist bone and the top of your hand. And a quality watch—nothing too flashy."

THE FASHION DISASTER: "Overnight, I went from being a financial reporter for The Wall Street Journal who wore jeans to being on-camera. I only owned one suit, and I had to safety-pin the pants. Then I bought 10 cheap, garishly colored suits that hung all wrong. I looked at least 20 pounds heavier on the air."

DRESS FOR SUCCESS: "Get measured by a tailor, and then seek out designers who cut for your body—Tahari works well for petite frames like mine. Since your work wardrobe doesn't have to be this season, scour the outlets."

FINISH THE LOOK: "Keep makeup simple and natural. I usually just wear a watch, an elegant necklace, and pearl studs—no big statement pieces. You want people to notice you, not your jewelry."

On Becky Quick, left: Jacket, $2670, skirt, $940, Dior; shoes, $995, Burberry. On Lucia Knight, right: Jacket, $536, BCBG MaxAzria; top, $510, Bottega Veneta; skirt, $350, shoes, $310, Tory Burch.

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