Finding the right clothes to wear for an interview can be as stressful as the interview itself. We all know that first impressions usually stick. Wearing clothes that look good on you and fit the style of the interviewing company can make all the difference when it comes to getting “that” job.
What to Wear for an Interview
This complete guide of what to wear to a job interview gives you guidelines to have you looking your best, feeling comfortable, and ensuring you present as the perfect fit for the hiring organization.
Statistics show that 55% of first impressions are determined by the way you dress and walk through the door in a job interview while 65% of hiring managers say clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates.
Researching and understanding the company’s culture immediately captures the interviewer’s attention so it’s important to dress the part. You will find a lot of relevant information on the company’s website.
If there are images of the workforce, this will tell you whether to opt for a professional or smart casual dress. If you still have doubts, a quick phone call asking about their dress code is acceptable. What to wear to an interview.
Employers often deliberately leave dress details out of any correspondence so they can make their own judgments on how prospective employees have dressed.
Whether you’re applying for a position in a formal business environment, interviewing for a more casual setting, or chasing a hands-on labor role, this guide will help you pick the best job interview outfit.
How to Dress for a Corporate Interview
If you’re going on a job interview at a company in a traditional industry, such as finance, banking, or insurance, you should opt for more formal corporate attire.
In general, this means a suit and tie for men and a pantsuit or skirt and blouse for women.
Women’s Interview Attire
In general, interview fashion for women in corporate jobs is more complicated and varied than it is for men. The increased options make assembling an interview outfit a bit more challenging for women than for men.
For instance, if you’re wearing a dress or skirt, you need to decide if you should wear pantyhose or if bare legs are acceptable. What to wear to an interview.
Women also need to consider interview accessories and choose an appropriate purse. The best interview bags are ones that are professional and large enough to fit a resume but aren’t flashy.
Here are the fundamental building blocks of what women should wear to a professional interview:
‣ Suit in navy, black, or dark gray
‣ Suit skirt just below or above the knee
‣ Coordinated blouse
‣ Conservative shoes
‣ Limited jewelry
‣ No very large dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets
‣ No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
‣ Professional hairstyle
‣ Neutral-colored pantyhose
‣ Light makeup and a limited amount of perfume
‣ Clean, neatly manicured nails
‣ Portfolio or briefcase
Men’s Interview Attire
The best interview outfits for men in the corporate world tend to be conservative. Men should always default to wearing a suit. All clothes should fit well and be free of stains.
Here are a few guidelines for men who are interviewing in corporate roles:
‣ Suit in a solid color such as navy, black, or dark gray
‣ Long-sleeved shirt that is white or color coordinated with the suit
‣ Leather belt
‣ Dark socks and conservative leather shoes
‣ Little or no jewelry
‣ Neat, professional hairstyle
‣ Limited amount of aftershave
‣ Neatly trimmed nails
‣ Portfolio or briefcase
Interview Outfits for Women
Outfits suitable for women’s interview are explained below:
1. Gender-Neutral Interview Attire
If how you typically dress doesn’t conform to a traditional gender norm, your interview attire shouldn’t have to either.
The key, as with gender-specific attire, is to find clothing that is polished, professional, and a fit for the company you’re interviewing with. Here’s an overview of gender-neutral attire for interviews and work.
2. Wear a Navy Blue Blazer for Endless Options
These blazer and blouse combinations are great business interview outfits that consist of three pieces that are simple, yet extremely versatile. A navy blue blazer is a great addition to your interview wardrobe.
Not only can you wear a blazer on numerous occasions, but it also works well with many different outfits—over a button-down, with a blouse, and even with a dress, for example. What to wear to an interview.
The gray collarless jacket with three-quarter-length sleeves is a less formal look.
A navy blue blazer also looks great paired with a simple blouse or button-down shirt. It’s a staple combination that you can wear with khaki pants, a khaki skirt, and even dark-wash jeans in a casual workplace or to a casual interview.
A matching skirt or slacks, or a khaki skirt or dress pants, round out the outfit. A khaki skirt is a good addition to your working wardrobe because it can be worn with many different tops.
Like the blazer, it can also be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion.
3. Experiment With Button-Down Shirts
Guess what? Button-downs don’t have to be boring! And you don’t have to limit yourself to the basic white, blue, or pink version.
You can experiment with fabrics, like the sheer silk chiffon here, which works well layered over a camisole. Try being creative with color, too. This shirt’s color works well, as it’s more interesting than the usual colors but still tasteful and professional.
When you’re shopping for a button-down, remember that the neckline should be modest. Make sure your bra is covered, and avoid showing cleavage.
It’s also a good idea to keep your button-down tucked in unless it’s a style that is designed to be worn not tucked in.
4. Look for Blouses with Interesting Details
A blouse like the one shown here with a bow makes for an elegant look, which can b What to wear to an interview.e completed with either a skirt or slacks. Add a skinny waist belt for a touch of detail that makes the top pop.
Depending on where you’re being interviewed, you can add a jacket to dress up the look.
5. Think Menswear with a Khaki Mix-and-Match Suit
A menswear-inspired khaki blazer is an extremely versatile piece to have in your wardrobe. Wear it with a button-down shirt or blouse.
It looks great with a matching skirt, dark-wash jeans for a startup casual interview, or navy blue bottoms for a dressier look.
The button-down here might be a basic top, but the pink makes the look pop. With a shirt that has an interesting collar detail, you could choose to button it up to the top, eliminating the need for a necklace.
Another option for a unique collar detail is a rounded Peter Pan collar.
Finally, a navy blue skirt is a stylish alternative to the traditional black pencil skirt. It’s a bit more easygoing than the typical black skirt, but it’s still professional, creating a look that is relaxed and also refined.
6. Go Classic With a Black Dress and Tights
A tasteful “little black dress” is the hallmark of a simple yet refined business wardrobe. Invest in a quality dress that skims the knee.
A dress with a structured fit and nice details (like the capped sleeves here) is professional yet still modern.
To give your outfit some life, pair the dress with textured tights, like the ones shown here.
Make sure the pattern is subtle, though a sheer stripe, cable pattern, or ribbed look adds texture and interest, anything that resembles fishnets is not workplace-appropriate.
Finish your outfit with a pair of black heels for a classic, timeless formal business look.
7. Pair a Sweater and Black Dress Pants
A pair of classic black slacks is an essential part of a woman’s interview wardrobe. It’s worth investing in a pair of quality black dress pants that fit well and will hold up after many wares. What to wear to an interview.
Once you have a good pair of dress pants, it’s easy to dress them up or down. You can pair your dress pants with a button-down shirt or a blazer for a formal look, or with a sweater for a business casual look.
With a bit of creativity, black dress pants don’t have to be boring. Add a top with interesting detail, like this heather-gray sweater with black stripes and a button-down blouse. This softens the look and makes it a bit more special.
8. Try a Statement Dress
Although it’s important that your interview attire is professional and conservative, that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with color. A tasteful dress in an interesting color, such as a muted turquoise or deep red, is a good addition to your interview wardrobe.
With a statement dress like the ones here, you don’t need to bother to add jewelry or other accessories—the dress speaks for itself. When working with bright colors, though, make sure the rest of the dress is modest.
It’s always important to make sure that both the neckline and hemline are appropriate: avoid short dresses and low-cut, revealing necklines. With a bright-colored dress.
It is more important than ever that the piece covers you appropriately. All you need to round off a dress like this is a pair of black heels or black ballet flats.
9. Pair Up a V-Neck Sweater and Slacks
Pair a blouse or a button-down top with a V-neck sweater for a versatile look.
You can dress the top up with black dress pants or a skirt, or dress it down with khakis or dark-wash jeans if you’re interviewing at a startup or casual company.
What’s great about this combination is that it’s easy to create a variety of looks with only a few pieces.
If you invest in three simple blouses or button-downs and three sweaters that all coordinate with each other, you’ll have nine different tops that you can mix and match with different bottoms to wear to interviews and work.
10. Add a Print Cardigan
Don’t be afraid of prints. Although you should avoid anything too bright or flashy, a two-tone print, like the sweater here, can spice up an otherwise boring outfit while still looking professional.
That’s especially the case when you’re not going to be working in a formal office environment. If you’re going to wear a bold print, limit it to just one print and keep the rest of the outfit simple and subdued.
What is Business Casual Attire?
Business casual sounds like a breeze. After all, with this dress code, you won’t have to worry about what to wear to work, right? Not quite.
In fact, this dress code guideline is a frequent source of confusion for workers. And it’s not their fault—there really isn’t a clear, standardized definition.
Business casual may mean different things in different companies, cities, and industries. And on top of that, understanding the subtle differences between “business” and “business casual” isn’t easy.
When you’re working remotely, there can be different variations of appropriate attire, and what you wear to work remotely may be different from what you wear on site.
One thing is clear: Dressing in shorts and a T-shirt or a sundress and sandals is too casual. But wearing a full suit is overly formal.
When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of dressing too formally, rather than too casually. But where’s the line?
Get advice on appropriate business casual attire for men and women, along with tips on what to wear—and what not to wear—in the office and during job interviews.
Business Casual Attire Basics
Appropriate business casual outfits for women include:
1. A skirt or dress slacks, blouse, /sweater, twinset, jacket (optional), and hosiery (optional) with closed-toe shoes.
2. Sandals or peep-toe shoes may be permissible in some offices but save flip-flops for the weekend.
Any working woman should have the following staples in her wardrobe:
‣ Khaki, corduroy, twill, or cotton pants or conservative-length skirts
‣ Sweaters, twinsets, cardigans, polo/knit shirts
‣ A professional dress—try a sheath silhouette
‣ Keep in mind that solid colors are generally preferable to busy or bold patterns.
What to Wear for Men
For men, appropriate business casual attire is dress slacks or chinos, a button-down shirt, dark socks, and dress shoes.
Avoid wearing polo shirts to an interview, even if they are acceptable for the job in question. Do not wear jeans or shorts. Athletic socks are also a no-no.
The following will help you solidify good standing in a new position:
‣ Khaki, gabardine, wool, or cotton pants, neatly pressed
‣ Cotton long-sleeve, button-down shirts, pressed
‣ Leather shoes, in black and brown
‣ Leather belt, in black and brown
‣ A selection of ties
What Not to Wear
Things to avoid when preparing for an interview:
‣ When the dress code is business casual, it’s not appropriate to wear your favorite old T-shirt, ripped jeans, ratty sneakers, or flip-flops.
‣ Remember the “business” part of business casual, and leave your old, comfortable clothes at home: outfits should still be clean, pressed, and fit properly.
‣ Avoid clothing with logos or potentially offensive words or graphics.
‣ Men do not have the option to skip shaving or to go without a belt.
‣ Women should not wear anything that’s too tight, flowing, short, or low cut. Make sure that bra straps aren’t visible. And it’s a good idea to keep makeup natural and low-key.
More Dress Code Rules
Always have these tips in mind:
1. Look Before You Leap
If you are new to a job, avoid dressing like you’re heading to a picnic until you understand the company standards. It’s wiser to dress on the conservative side rather than show up underdressed.
Check with HR or a colleague to determine what exactly business casual means for your company. During job interviews, it’s always best to opt for the more formal version of business casual.
Even if you show up and your interviewer is clad in shorts or a short skirt, that doesn’t mean it would be appropriate for you to dress that way.
During a job interview, you want to make a good impression, and part of that is dressing professionally. Here are outfits you shouldn’t wear to a job interview, regardless of the dress code.
2. Maintain Consistency
If you wear professional and conservative outfits Monday through Thursday, don’t show up Friday looking unrecognizable in ragged shorts and a concert T-shirt.
That’s true even if your office has “casual Fridays,” when dressing down a bit is appropriate. While it’s acceptable at many companies to wear jeans, for instance, you should opt for your best jeans, not a pair with stains or ripped cuffs.
Your outfit should always be formal enough (even on casual Fridays) that you can comfortably attend an unexpected meeting with your boss or client. What to wear to an interview.
No matter the company you work for, maintaining a consistent image helps to establish trust and credibility with you as an employee.
3. Consider Your Calendar
If you’re meeting with clients or scheduling a business lunch, dress on the conservative side out of respect for the people you’re meeting with. Save the casual comfort for a time when you’ll be in the office all day.
4. Keep Cameras in Mind
In general, what you would wear to an in-person job should match what you wear if you’re working remotely and will be in any meetings or conversations with the video on.
Your industry, role, and company standards can guide your outfit decisions—along with your personal preferences.
If you have many unexpected meetings with video turned on, it’s wise to keep a blazer by your desk so you can slip it on and look more professional in seconds.
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How to Dress for a More Casual Interview
When the workplace or the job is less formal, the dress code may be more relaxed. If you’re not sure what to wear, it’s fine to check with the person scheduling the interview.
However, it’s still important not to dress sloppily. Learn more about some casual options:
1. Business Casual
You can leave the suit at home, but don’t get out those jeans just yet. Business casual means no jeans, no sneakers, and no apparel that would be more appropriate for the gym or the club.
2. Startup Casual
Jeans may be OK for an interview at a startup, but make sure they’re clean and free from holes or ragged seams.
You’re going for stylish, not sloppy and it’s still a good idea to dress up a bit more than the folks who are already working there. What to wear to an interview.
3. What to Wear When There’s No Dress Code
Not sure what to wear? When there’s no real dress code, keep it professional and err toward business casual.
Tips for Making the Best Interview Impression
Do you want to make the best impression? Always consider the following:
1. Take some time to prepare your interview outfit to be sure you’re ready to make the best impression.
2. Well in advance of your interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire, and everything fits correctly.
3. Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don’t have to spend time getting them ready the day of the interview.
4. If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners right after an interview, so you’re prepared for the next interview.
5. Be sure to polish your shoes the night before.
6. If you’re interviewing remotely, it’s best to avoid very bright colors, stripes, and wearing the same color as your background. Here’s advice on what to wear for a remote job interview.
What to Bring to the Interview
In addition to getting your interview attire ready the night before, also gather what you need to bring with you:
1. Interview location/directions
2. Contact name and number for the person you’re meeting with
4. Notepad and pen
5. Extra copies of your resume
6. List of three references
7. Work samples (depending on the job)
8. Laptop or tablet to showcase your work (depending on the job)
9. Breath mints with you to use before entering the building
10. You can bring your smartphone but make sure it’s on mute or vibrate during your interview. It avoids -the risk of getting a distracting loud text alert or phone call mid-interview.
What Not to Bring to the Interview
There are some things you shouldn’t bring to a job interview:
‣ Coffee or soda
‣ If you have lots of piercings, consider leave some of your jewelry at home (earrings only is a good rule)
‣ If possible, cover tattoos
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions on interviews and dress code:
1. What is the best formal dress for girls in an interview?
The first impression is the best. So, you have to wear good official wear for an interview. It will help you to get confident always. But, first, you have to be comfortable with your choice.
2. What to wear when there’s no dress code
Not sure what to wear? When there’s no real dress code, keep it professional and err toward business casual.
3. What should I wear for a video interview?
1. Always wear professional attire. Try to dress the same as you would for a face-to-face meeting with a prospective employer.
2. Coordinate with your surroundings.
3. Remove any distracting elements.
4. Ditch the striped or patterned shirts.
5. Record yourself in what you’re going to wear.
4. For an interview, what can I wear with my navy blue blazer?
An interview is formal so you should choose a conservative look. A blazer is a step down from wearing a suit in terms of formality. The ultimate interview outfit is a navy opt grey suit, white shirt, subtle tie, and black shoes.
But if you are wearing a blazer, wear a pale blue shirt (avoid white shirts with odd jackets unless in casual, tieless settings),a tasteful tie, and mid to dark grey trousers. You can vary your shoe colour.
5. What is the best outfit to wear to a new job interview?
Simple, professional tops
Wear a top that is comfortable, professional and conservative. Try a button-down shirt paired with a cardigan, a simple blouse with a casual jacket, a navy blue blazer or a knit sweater.
Choose neutral colors and simple patterns. Avoid slouchy or oversized sweaters, ill-fitting clothes, plunging necklines and fabric that wrinkles easily. It’s also an option to wear a casual dress paired with a cardigan and simple belt.
6. Is it okay to wear slacks and a polo shirt for a job interview?
It totally depends upon the industry. The general rule is to dress like people who supervise the position.
So, if you were applying for a job at a golf course I would say you would be appropriately dressed is you wore slacks and a polo shirt. Not if you were applying for a job in a bank.
If you are applying for a job in a specific industry and would like more concrete suggestions I would be happy to try and help.
7. Can you wear a T-shirt and jeans to a job interview?
With so many options, how do you know when it is appropriate to wear jeans to the job interview? This should come down to the position that you applied to. What to wear to an interview.
If you are interviewing for a managerial role or business-facing position, such as a project manager or business analyst, it is recommended to wear khakis and a button-down or polo for men or slacks and a nice top or casual dress for women.
If you have an interview for a technical position and will not be business-facing, it is appropriate to wear jeans and a nicer top or casual dress to the job interview.
8. What should I wear to a job interview at a grocery store?
I would suggest you come dressed for work. I got a tip from a friend to show up wearing a tie and white shirt and start bagging groceries. I did that and the manager came to me at the end of the day and said I was hired.
I showed incentive and the desire to work there and he respected that. I suggest you wear a smile and come ready to start today.
9. What kind of hats are acceptable to wear to a job interview?
I’d always be wondering why the candidate wore a hat. Are they trying to hide something, or simply show off? I wouldn’t like it.
In fact, I was brought up to never wear a hat inside, so it would also be against how I was brought up. And try as I might, it would probably color my impression of the candidate. So, no, not a good idea.
10. What kinds of shoes should I wear to an interview?
Choose dark-colored, freshly-polished leather shoes. You can wear brown or black loafers, lace-up dress shoes, Oxfords, or another professional closed-toe shoe that compliments your outfit.
Be sure to wear mid-calf-length dress socks that match the color of your trousers. Avoid athletic socks.
11. What is the proper attire to wear for any entry-level job interview?
Generally, a job interview calls for you to wear professional, or business, attire. For men, this might mean a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie or a sweater and button-down.
For women, a blouse and dress pants or a statement dress is appropriate.
12. What is the best outfit to wear to a new job interview?
Wear smart slacks or dark-coloured jeans, tailored jeans are often best for interviews. A knee-length or midi skirt can also work. For shoes wear flats or small heels with closed toes. What to wear to an interview.
Choose a blouse or shirt that fits well, avoiding low-cut tops.
13. How Should I Dress for a More Casual Interview?
Business Casual: You can leave the suit at home, but don’t get out those jeans just yet. Business casual means no jeans, no sneakers, and no apparel that would be more appropriate for the gym or the club.
Startup Casual: Jeans may be OK for an interview at a startup, but make sure they’re clean and free from holes or ragged seams.
You’re going for stylish, not sloppy and it’s still a good idea to dress up a bit more than the folks who are already working there.
What to Wear When There’s No Dress Code: Not sure what to wear? When there’s no real dress code, keep it professional and err toward business casual.
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