How to Dress for an InterviewBy Alison Doyle
Updated November 18, 2016
The first impression you make on a potential employer is incredibly meaningful and important. When you first meet, employers will form an assessment based on what you’re wearing and how you carry yourself. Regardless of the work environment, it’s important to dress professionally for a job interview. This will help guarantee that you make a great first impression.
In general, the candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.
That said, different industries do have varying expectations for what candidates and employees should wear. The appropriate dress code can vary greatly depending on company and industry.
Here’s more on what to wear to an interview for professional, casual, and startup companies, when you want to make the best impression.
How to Dress for a Professional Interview
Men’s Interview Attire
Here are examples of interview outfits for men. For a professional interview, men can default to wearing a suit. All clothes should fit well and not have any stains. Here are the fundamental items a man wears during a professional interview:
- Suit (solid color – navy, black, or dark grey)
- Long sleeved shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
- Tie (here’s how to tie it)
- Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
- Little or no jewelry
- Neat, professional hairstyle
- Limit the aftershave
- Neatly trimmed nails
- Portfolio or briefcase
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Women’s Interview Attire
- In general, fashion for women is more complicated and varied, which makes assembling an interview outfit a bit more challenging for women than it is for men. For instance, for any job interview where a woman is wearing a dress or skirt, she needs to determine if she should wear pantyhose or if bare legs are acceptable. Women also need to consider interview accessories, and choose an appropriate purse – here are the best
- interview bags, options that are professional, large enough to fit a resume, and aren’t flashy.
- Here are some examples of good interview outfits for women, and here are your best interview outfits if you’re a woman in college. And here are the fundamental building blocks of what women should wear to professional interviews:
- Suit (navy, black, or dark grey) – make sure the suit’s skirt is long enough so you can sit down comfortably
- Coordinated blouse
- Conservative shoes
- Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
- No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
- Professional hairstyle (here are the best job interview hairstyles for women)
- Neutral pantyhose
- Light make-up and perfume
- Neatly manicured clean nails
- Portfolio or briefcase
Less Formal Interview Attire
When the workplace or the job is less formal, the dress code may be as well. 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 like a slob. Here are some alternatives:
- Business Casual
- Startup Casual
- What to Wear When There’s No Dress Code
More Interview Attire
- College Campus Jobs
- College Student
- College Graduate
- High School
- Summer Jobs
Best Colors to Wear
Wearing the right colors can help convey your confidence, professionalism, and ability to fit into an organization’s environment.
Here are tips for choosing the right colors for your interview attire.
What Not to Bring to the Interview
- Coffee or soda
- If you have lots of piercings, leave some of your rings at home (earrings only, is a good rule)
- Cover tattoos if possible
While you can bring your smart phone, do make sure to turn it off or put it in airplane mode during your interview. This will help you avoid the risk of getting a loud text alert or phone call mid-interview.
Interview Attire Tips
- Before you even think about going on an interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire and everything fits correctly.
- Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don’t have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview.
- If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners after an interview, so they are ready for next time.
- Polish your shoes.
- Bring a breath mint and use it before you enter the building.