Grad students: How do you dress?


Oct 26, 2008
the Beach, SC
(Not sure if I should post this under The Wardrobe?.. If so, please feel free to move it..)

I am starting an MBA program in three weeks, and I am just wondering, how should I dress?

I'm not a big jeans person to begin with, and I assume that girls will not be walking into class in mini-skirts and Uggs (not that I would even do that as an undergrad)... so I'm just wondering- from your experience, do students generally dress in business casual attire.. Gap/Banana Republic type of stuff...

Dec 6, 2008
I dress business casual but only because I work mon-fri other than that I wear whatever I want unless I'm going to meet with an advisor or prof then I would also dress business casual. However I've noticed that some people in business school tend to over dress because the atmosphere is more professional I guess but I don't think it matters...


Nov 12, 2007
My Master's program was in the evenings, so I went straight from my 9-5 job. I wore whatever I wore to work- which is business casual. At my workplace, jeans are acceptable, so I'd wear those too. But, I did see clothing that looked "undergraduate" in nature (sweats, Uggs, etc.) all the way up to suits and ties for those in the working world. I made it a point to always dress up for any presentation, however.


born this way
My master's program was pretty casual jeans and sweats mostly, and some people dressed in business casual because they were coming from work. If you are not into jeans, wear a casual dress and bring a sweater - classrooms are always freezing no matter where you are. Good luck in earning your MBA!


Lady Philosophy
May 13, 2008
Near carnage alley
When I was doing my master's program, I was basically in sweats or just super casual attire. Some of the people from my department and others in the psych department usually get together after office and lecture hours to go play tennis or racquetball or grab a drink at the pubs, so nothing ever fancy. Our grad program was our full-time work - we weren't allowed to do more than 10 hours of outside paid work, so we practically lived in the building. Professional attire would be out of place.


Oct 26, 2008
the Beach, SC
I'm a SAHM, aside from school.. but I guess I'll be hitting up the stores to grab some business casual attire, because that seems to be the consensus.. and my school only offers MBA classes at night, so I imagine a lot of people will be coming directly from work and I don't want to stick out like a sore thumb.


✯ mathemagician ✯
Nov 4, 2006
^^I agree, don't go and buy a new wardrobe for this! I just always made sure to wear something business casual for a meeting with a professor. As long as it's not too casual or overly sexy I think you'll be fine with the clothes you usually wear.


Oct 18, 2007
I'm in law school, and frankly, all I care about is being comfortable. I worked full time my first two years and had to sit through 4 hrs of class in suits... As soon as I quit, I switched to a lot of juicy tracksuits, hoodies, dresses, and yes, sometimes uggs with miniskirts! No one has given me grief about it (if they did, I would punch them in the face :P). Though we have a prof who wears uggs/hoodie/sweatpants occasionally that EVERYBODY talks **** about. I agree it's not exactly professional, but she's really sweet and a great prof, so who cares?

Anyway, wear whatever is comfy and makes you feel good!


windy city
Dec 12, 2008
My so is a grad student at university of illinois at chicago and he also works there. He works in a lab so he wears whatever he wants and has classes during the day, and he is really reaaaaaally casual.
Aug 14, 2007
I always dressed in jeans and sweaters/tops or yoga pants/hoodies. If I was doing a presentation, then I would dress up. Otherwise, I was casual/comfortable. I would not buy new clothes for this. Honestly, in my program most people dressed like slobs and my casual wear actually looked quite dressy in comparison.


<3 <3 <3
Feb 18, 2007
depends on how your program mba program was super laid back so I lived in jeans and dress up for presentations

but my undergrads mba program was more formal, and everyone would wear business attire every day (slacks, dress skirts, suits etc)

For law school im planning on being business casual - jeans with a nice top. I've discovered BCBG tops are SUPER comfy, so i plan to live in them. I also have a sweet spot for lacoste polos, so khakis and a polo could very well be the outfit of choice. I remember those that wore yoga pants and sweats to class, and they weren't shunned but they didn't look as put together...but then again I was known on many occasions to scrub it!

So just wear what you feel comfortable in, the worst would be if you have to keep tugging at your clothes in a middle of a lecture, that will distract you and others. If you're looking to invest in a few pieces i would DEF recommend BCBG tops, they can be dressed up or down and are SO COMFY!


Jul 30, 2007
I'll be a 2nd year MBA student this fall...I wear strictly jeans and tshirts. Then again, I'm the most unbusinessy business student ever. The people who come straight from work are always dressed more professionally...but those of us who went straight from undergrad to grad tend to be much more casual (sweats or jeans).


Loving the BB
May 13, 2009
When I was in law school, which I admit was 5 million years ago, everyone dressed really casual. If I were you, I would dress nice/casual the first week and feel it out and see what others do. Good luck and congrats on your new program.
Oct 29, 2006
Los Angeles
I'm in medical school, and transitioning to grad school (I'm in a combined program), and all my classmates dress very casually. I think when people are in school and living on student loans, no one really judges you on what you're wearing. Business school might have a few more dressed up people since many of the students have worked previously, but again, I don't think you need to buy a whole new wardrobe. Maybe wear business casual clothes the first day (that you already have in your closet), and if everyone's wearing suits and ties you can go get some new clothes.