10 Jobs That Require Formal Attire (And What That Means)

Updated March 10, 2023

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Business professional typically refers to clothing choices like dark-colored (gray, navy) suits and ties, pantsuits, tidy dresses, skirts or slacks. Tops include button-down shirts (in colors like white or light-blue), blouses and a blazer.

Shoes should be closed-toe like an Oxford, loafer and classic heels no higher than 3 inches. Accessories can include minimal jewelry, matching belts and ties in a solid color or stripes. Avoid chunky, noisy jewelry, bold colors and busy patterns.

Although casual dress codes have spread in prominence, there are still various jobs that require formal or business formal attire. Dressing formally presents a professional appearance and can help to ensure coworkers and clients find your outfits tasteful. If you work in a profession that requires formal attire, it's important to understand your company's dress code and remain aligned with it at all times.

In this article, we discuss what exactly formal attire is, as well as list some professions that typically require formal attire.

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What is formal attire?

Business formal attire is a style of dressing that emphasizes clean and professional presentation. It typically comprises button-up shirts with a jacket or blazer on top, along with a tie for high-collared dress shirts. Slacks and business skirts are most common for your lower body, paired with professional shoes that match your suit. Additional accessories, such as jewelry and makeup, should also present a professional appearance if worn.

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10 jobs that require formal attire

When working in one of the below fields, it is typical for an employer to require formal attire:

1. Political consultant

National average salary: $35,023 per year

Primary duties: A political consultant works with a politician or political organization to help develop policies and public statements. The political consultant uses expert knowledge and research to analyze the politics surrounding an issue in order to provide guidance to a client. Most political buildings require formal attire for those working at them, meaning a political consultant needs formal attire whenever they are working at an official building, and often when working at a political office or public appearance as well.

2. Accountant

National average salary: $58,235 per year

Primary duties: An accountant maintains the financial record for a company or for multiple clients. An accountant's tasks for an employer or client can vary based on the needs of the company or individual but may include maintaining tax records, offering financial advice and providing financial forecasting. Although some accountants prefer an informal approach, it is typical for companies to require accountants to dress in business formal attire when at work.

Related: Learn About Being an Accountant

3. Broadcaster

National average salary: $58,366 per year

Primary duties: A broadcaster serves as an on-air personality for television and radio broadcasts in a variety of fields. Broadcasting opportunities can include working as a news reporter, covering sports, hosting a talk show or game show and appearing on opinion programming. Most on-air personalities dress in formal attire for all broadcasting responsibilities.

4. Funeral director

National average salary: $60,437 per year

Primary duties: A funeral director is a professional who oversees funeral rights, also commonly known as an undertaker or mortician. Funeral directors work with family or friends of the deceased in order to plan and hold funeral services ranging from viewings to burials. As funerals are typically formal attire occasions, a funeral director is expected to wear formal attire as well.

5. Investment banker

National average salary: $61,496 per year

Primary duties: An investment banker is a banking professional who specializes in services for entrepreneurs, investors and other business professionals. An investment banker may specialize in corporate finance, research or securities and commodities training. It is typical for investment bankers to work in settings that require formal attire at all times.

6. Entrepreneur

National average salary: $69,482 per year

Primary duties: An entrepreneur creates and manages a company and often holds a majority controlling interest in the company. An entrepreneur carries out a range of responsibilities depending on their industry and the number of co-owners and staff they have. Entrepreneurs may seek additional financing both at the start of the company and after launch and may look to sell to investors after establishing value.

7. Principal

National average salary: $85,206 per year

Primary duties: A principal is the most senior educator at a school. They are often responsible for making administrative decisions within the school, such as setting policies for both students and teachers. A principal often receives evaluations based on the academic performance of students within their school. It is common for school districts to require formal attire for their principals as it helps to maintain authority and professionalism around the students.

Related: Learn About Being a Principal

8. Lawyer

National average salary: $89,645 per year

Primary duties: A lawyer provides legal services to their clients, which can include working as a retained lawyer for a single organization or for multiple clients. Legal services a lawyer may provide to clients range from preparing and trying cases to assisting with legal documents and processes such as contractual negotiations and real estate purchases. Courtrooms require formal attire from practicing lawyers, and most law offices maintain this formal dress code when not in court as well.

Related: Learn About Being a Lawyer

9. Real estate agent

National average salary: $94,304 per year

Primary duties: A real estate agent assists with the buying and selling of both residential and commercial properties. It is common for a real estate agent to specialize in either buying or selling, allowing them to further enhance their focus and expertise to provide the best care for their clients. Both agency and independent realtors commonly maintain formal attire dress standards in order to look professional when meeting with clients and with representatives of other buyers or sellers.

Related: Learn About Being a Real Estate Agent

10. Chief executive officer

National average salary: $128,435 per year

Primary duties: A chief executive officer is often the highest-ranked executive within a company. The CEO is often the primary point of contact between representatives of the company and members of the board. The CEO commonly serves as chairperson of the company board. Most companies require formal attire from senior officials, including the CEO.

Related: Learn About Being a CEO (Chief Executive Officer)

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link(s) provided.

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