How to Dress For a Job Interview

Dressing appropriately for a potential new job is important, because your first impression will leave a lasting impact on the place of employment and the interviewer. It is important to learn the appropriate way to dress for a job interview, so you come off as professional. Those who do not take the time to dress appropriately for job interviews may risk job opportunities, as they may not be taken seriously. Review the below tips on how to appropriately dress for job interviews.

General Tips
  1. Research the company. It may either have a stated dress code or even a social media account with pictures of employees, so you can see how they normally dress. Once you have a sense of the company’s level of formality, plan your outfit to be slightly more formal than that.
  2. Make sure everything is neat and tidy. Slacks should be pressed, shirts should be ironed and shoes should be polished. If your outfit is more casual, you should still aim to have everything freshly cleaned and wrinkle-free.
  3. Try on the outfit the day before, checking whether everything fits correctly and is comfortable. If the clothes are uncomfortable, you should think about changing them, as this will likely distract you during the interview.
  4. It is usually best to go for a gentle, neutral color palette and simple cuts. Subtle additions like pops of color or interesting accessories can give your outfit personality without being overpowering.
Masculine Tips
  1. Avoid oversized and ill-fitting clothes. If you have a good suit or a blazer, it can pay to get it tailored to fit properly. At the very least, make sure the cuffs of your pants are not swimming around your ankles.
  2. If you are wearing leather shoes, make sure they are properly polished. More casual shoes should also be cleaned properly – including the soles.
Feminine Tips
  1. Make your accessories count. Avoid adding things just because they look good with the outfit, as too much will become distracting. One or two pieces chosen with a specific look in mind can be used in a classy way.
  2. Avoid anything too tight or too short. Remember that you will likely be sitting for the interview, and you do not want to be worrying about where your hemline is headed or whether you can take a deep breath or not.
Business Professional
  1. This is the most formal of office wear. Suits, preferably well-fitted, are a must. Keep everything polished, pressed and crisp – and tucked. Dry cleaning might be worth paying for in this case.
  2. Skirt suits can be a good idea for women, depending on the company culture. The hem of the skirt should meet the knee, at the very least.
  3. Keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum. You may be able to dress more expressively if you get the job, but these offices can be quite conservative, and it is not worth risking a bad impression.
Business Casual
  1. This usually allows for mixed styles: button-downs with no tie, khaki pants with a blazer, or sweaters and cardigans instead of jackets. This will vary from company to company, and you should be careful to do your research.
  2. You should still follow the rule of going up a level of formality. It is always better to be a little overdressed than underdressed. A suit is still a good idea, though it may be worn with a button-down. A jacket or blazer of some sort is recommended regardless, and can be worn with a dress for women.
Casual or “No Dress Code”
  1. This is sometimes seen at more creative businesses or start-ups. People at these companies could wear anything from dress pants and a sweater to sweat pants and a baseball cap.
  2. Following the “slightly more formal” rule, you might still consider a blazer or a jacket of some sort. A buttoned shirt with khakis for men or tailored pants with a blouse for women are good formulas. If you do wear jeans, they should be a dark color and well-fitted.
Physically Demanding Jobs
  1. For jobs in kitchens, warehouses, construction, etc. the work clothes, themselves, will be dictated by the job, and cannot be used as a basis for your interview clothes. In these cases, business casual is the best way to go.
  2. Be aware that a job interview can turn into a tour of the premises/warehouse/factory floor, or even into a “trial shift.” Make sure that your clothing is potentially appropriate for this.
  3. If you are interviewing for a catering or a kitchen job, be especially sure that everything you have on is clean.
Retail
  1. In the case of retail, it is all about the brand. Do your research, and try to pin down the company or the store’s aesthetic. Is it an indie consignment store? A minimalist-style interior décor company?
  2. Use your outfit to show your understanding of the brand, but keep it discreet. Trying too hard might have the opposite effect. A plaid shirt worn to interview at an outdoor goods store might be a good idea – adding hiking boots and crampons is not.