Hello! I am attending a “business casual” open house this weekend at a college that I am strongly considering. I want to make a strong impression, I was just wondering, as a coach, what do you think would be appropriate to wear? I want to look nice without looking silly or too glitzy. Thanks in advance!
Long after you’re gone, the coaches are going to be remembering you, not your outfit. Looking nice is obviously a given but don’t forget that what’s going to leave the strongest impression is your personality, interest in the school, and what you feel you can bring to the program.
Pro tip though, don’t overthink what you’re gonna wear. The key is to pick something you’ll be comfortable in since that’ll help you project confidence in whatever situation you’re in.
I usually wear similar iterations of what’s above to job interviews or other business casual -ish events (rowing related and otherwise) and dress it up or down as necessary, either by swapping the top for a blouse and jacket or the shoes for a more casual pair of flats or sandals. I’d probably dress up a little more for schools like Harvard than I would for somewhere like Miami but it’s your call based on the environment you’ve seen when you’ve visited previously.
For shoes, stick to flats or, if the weather’s wet, snowy, etc., a pair of tall boots. If you wear any jewelry, try to keep it simple and not too flashy, noisy, or in your face. If you wear any perfume, try to keep it toned down too. You don’t want that to be what announces you when you walk in a room.
For guys, you really can’t go wrong with a button down and a nice pair of slacks or chinos. I wouldn’t completely rule out jeans as long as they’re a darker wash – anything lighter looks way too chill for something billed as “business casual”. If nicer shoes are deemed appropriate, just go for a pair of dress shoes or boots. Do not wear tennis shoes and don’t forget a belt.