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Dress and Grooming Standards


Proper dress is proportionate to the dignity of one’s activities. Those who dress appropriately for a given activity display a fitting level of respect.   

As GWU students, you are training for potential leadership roles to advance the cause of liberty in the real world. In the mixed environment of the classroom, the Capitol, internships, the workplace, even on the street—at times you will find yourselves under a magnifying glass. Only on rare occasions will it become obvious that this is true, most often in retrospect.

Moreover, students are representing not only themselves, but their fellow classmates, alumni and future GWU students. Important visitors such as internship providers, elected officials, media, etc., may appear on campus at any time. Consequently, one’s attire and conduct will affect the internship and professional prospects of their peers, plus the reputations of all who are associated with GWU. Consideration of other people who we represent by association is a fundamental aspect of the diplomacy we declare in the GWU mission statement. Such thoughtfulness is one of its hallmarks.

You are not merely messengers for the cause of liberty and what we do at GWU; you are also part of the message itself.


Professionalism Requirements

Business Casual is the minimum dress standard for students anywhere on campus or attending any GWU function (other than a picnic, hike or similar outdoor event). The next level up is Smart Casual, and this is the preferred standard. For attending all events and classes held at the Capitol the standard rises a level to Business Dress.  For details on this see our Capitol Dress Code. We expect students to adhere to these standards. Those who attend class or other functions improperly attired may be asked to change.

Grooming and finishing touches

Men’s Hairstyles: Clean, neat and professional, trimmed above the ear and collar (not mussed, tangled or spiked; fauxhawks are not appropriate.)
Facial Hair: Men must be clean shaven. Sideburns may extend no lower than the bottom of the earlobe.

Women’s Hairstyles: Contemporary, modest styles consistent with a professional appearance: well kept, neither excessively long or short.
Women’s makeup, jewelry and accessories: Contemporary, modest styles consistent with a professional appearance. An effective enhancement without being loud.


Business Casual

Men: Well-kept slacks or khakis, collared or polo shirts, leather shoes (usually black or brown) with matching belt.

Women: Dress shoes or sandals (not casual or athletic type) and slacks, skirts or dresses with hemlines no higher than the top of the knee. Shirts and tops not excessively tight, with sleeves and modest necklines.

Not acceptable: Cargo pants (pockets on the outside), jeans, shorts, men’s T-shirts, sweat shirts, athletic shoes.

See examples below     

Smart Casual

Men: Suit and dress shirt without necktie. Khakis/slacks with a jacket (no necktie), or with a sweater and dress shirt either with or without necktie. Jeans (darker) may only be worn if paired with a sport coat.

Women: Dressier blouses and sweaters, often layered. More formal accessories than business casual. Professional appearing skirts or slacks. Jeans (darker) may only be worn if paired with a jacket or dressy sweater.

See examples below     

Business Dress

Men & women: Professional business attire appropriate for the Capitol. See details.

See additional examples below     



Business Casual Examples



Smart Casual Examples



Business Dress Examples






Earn Your Degree From Home

Learn about the GWU Off-Campus programs: Online Studies, Extension Courses and Statesmanship Seminars

Click Here

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