Knowing the appropriate clothing for the job will help you “dress for success.”


  • Life Skills


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Compare types of dress codes.
  • Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate dress for the workplace.


  • Dress Codes activity sheet
  • Poor Clothing Choices activity sheet


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and life.



Ask participants: What does the expression “dress for success” mean to you?


Say: Each workplace is unique in its dress code. Depending on the specific dress code for a company’s environment, employees will need to follow the code for business professional, business casual, or casual.

Share the Dress Codes activity sheet. Ask: When and where do you think the clothing pictured here might be worn?

As Explorers generate responses, build upon their comments with the following points. 

Tell participants: Business professional dress is at the highest level of the dress code. It is conservative, usually a dark business suit, dress shirt with a tie, and dress shoes. For women, it is a suit with a skirt or pants, hose, and closed-toe shoes with a heel. A dress is also acceptable.

Business casual is the most common dress code you will see. Clothing should be conservative and nice. Button-down shirts, pants, blouses, sport coats, and skirts are appropriate. Business casual shoes do not include athletic shoes or flip-flops.

Casual wear is the most difficult dress code to understand. It should still be work appropriate, which means neat and conservative. Jeans are OK with polo shirts or button-downs. A T-shirt may be acceptable if it is in good condition and does not have a slogan or ad on it.

Skirts should be knee-length or longer. Hats are not appropriate in the workplace.

Note that clothing is not really good or bad, but people need to make good choices for professional settings. A short skirt might be perfect for a party and athletic shorts might be fine for a barbecue, but neither is appropriate for most places of business.

Share the Poor Clothing Choices activity sheet.

Ask participants to comment on where the articles of clothing shown on the activity sheet can be worn without concern and why they might not be appropriate for a work setting.


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • What are some thoughts you now have about your own wardrobe?

Analysis Questions

  • Your employer is going to be older than you and is more likely to have more conservative taste in clothing. How will you use that knowledge to make sound choices when selecting clothing for a work setting?

Generalization Questions

  • What is the worst thing that can happen if you dress inappropriately for a job or a job interview?
  • What are some positive things that can happen from dressing appropriately?
  • What does the expression “dress for the job you want to have” mean as a part of today’s discussion?
  • Why is having a working knowledge of good clothing choices important?
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