Proper DECA Dress
When competing at a DECA conference, you should NEVER be without a blazer (Of course, at ICDC a DECA blazer is required) or a suit. It is common to wear a color of black or navy blue, but sometimes gray or brownish apparel is also selected. It is vital to incorporate every aspect of your outfit in your planning, as you do not want any clashing among your various pieces. Accompanying your blazer, a nice, long-sleeved dress shirt should be tucked into a pair of nice pants. Pants are often chosen to be of khaki or black color (if a part of the suit then they will match the top half). A belt, often black to match black or gray pants and brown to match khakis, must not be forgotten. The belt can sometimes get tricky, as the holes may not give you exact flexibility as to your size, leading to a scrunched part around the waist if too tight or constant lowering if too big. Just remember, your blazer is likely to cover any scrunch that occurs, perhaps giving a reason to join the tight side. Dress socks, preferably directly matching the selected pants, should be worn as well, high enough so that no one will see any bare leg while sitting down. Dress shoes must also be worn, often brown or black, corresponding to the rest of the business dress being put together. To top it all off, a tie must be worn. This is the most personalized selection in a man’s business dress. Bow ties, bull ties, plain old regular ties… There are ties for sports teams, for music artists, for foods… There is not much of a limit on what tie you can wear, as long as it matches. But do keep in mind: judges will get different first impressions of you based on your tie. If you’re going for a professional look, a tie with a bunch of pizzas on it is not recommended.
Females are faced with more flexibility in their selection of business dress: a blessing and a curse. Skirt suits are often worn to radiate a conservative and professional look (although remember, a DECA blazer is required for women at ICDC as well). It is very important as a woman in the professional world to look appropriate in her environment. Judges often do not take well to unnecessarily revealing outfits. If a skirt suit is not preferred, a blouse is another route. Not just any blouse will do; sleeves are a necessity. To go along with the “revealing” factor again, if it gets hot and you want to take off your blazer, it might give your judge a poor impression. Similar to the tie on a male, flashy colors are not encouraged, as it may give a poor impression to the judge. Stockings should be worn as well, the lightness corresponding to the rest of the outfit. Jewelry is fine, as long as it is not distracting. For example, large hoops or strange, unique shapes should be ignored in favor of more conservative accessories. Lastly, shoes: the never ending demise of the female attitude towards business dress. Hate to say it girls, but standard business dress shoes consist of pumps with one and a half inch heels. I know it hurts, but it’s a sacrifice to take on the look of a professional.