Friday, April 12, 2024

What To Wear To An Interview

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Tip #: Prepare Your Interview Attire The Night Before

What to Wear to an Interview: Professional, Business Casual and Smart Casual (Ft. Ingrid Nilsen)

You never want to be stuck in a situation where you’re preparing your outfit the day of your interview.

When interview day rolls around, everything should be ready to go and planned out. The only time you should spend is focusing in on your game plan for the big day.

One of the things that helped me save some mental bandwidth was laying out my interview outfit the night before. I’d make sure it was ready, stain-and-wrinkle free, and hanging up before I went to bed. That way it was ready to pack the moment I woke up.

I don’t recommend packing your interview outfit the night before. We want to avoid bunching and wrinkles so the less time spend in a bag, the better!

What To Wear For A Video Interview

While the interviewers are likely to just see your face and shoulders during a video interview, your safest bet is to still dress your entire body smartly. You canât plan for events such as your laptop becoming unplugged or your housemate opening your room door, but you can make sure youâre not sorting them out while showing the interviewers your stripy pyjama bottoms. Remember that the interviewer might see your head more closely than they would across a desk from you â so brushing your hair and making sure your makeup isnât smudged will be even more important.

Why Job Interview Attire Is Important

While Im sure they refrain from judging a book by its cover, recruiters and HR managers notice how well-dressed a job seeker is the moment they walk in. It takes them seconds to form an impression of you.

Your appearance impacts their perception of how suitable you are for the position. And while a lot of debate could arise on whether that’s fair or even accurate, appearance does matter.

All social contexts, including a workplace, have norms on grooming and dressing, and violating them can lead to scrutiny.

If the workplace is conservative and you show up dressed casually, you could come across as sloppy to the recruiter and lose credibility.

But if you’re dressed appropriately and well-groomed, the conversation will start off right because you will match the model they have formed of you in their mind from you impressive resume.

Use these four tips to help choose what to wear to your interview.

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Business Casual Interview Outfit Examples For Men

Business Casual has some more structure for us guys. The rules are a bit more defined and easy to follow we’re taking the same principles from our Smart Casual look and dressing them up a bit.

For example, instead of a free form button down you’re going to want a shirt with a bit more structure. Instead of distressed chinos you may want to opt for clean, tailored chinos or slacks.

While you don’t need to break out the suit jacket just yet, Business Casual typically calls for some sort of sport coat or blazer . Let’s check out some examples:

Men’s Outfit Example #1

Top: Ironed white button down

Jacket: Gray unstructured sport coat

Belt: Always, and make sure it matches the tone of your shoes

Bottom: Navy slacks

Shoes: Polished leather loafers or oxfords

Accessories: Watches are great, you can also add a pocket square to your sport coat if you want to spice things up. No tie needed at this point.

Awesome, see? Pretty straightforward. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with things like the jacket and shirt style. You want to be professional but you can still show a little bit of personality:

Men’s Outfit Example #2

Belt: Always, make sure the belt matches the tone of your shoes

Bottom: Ironed Navy dress chinos

Shoes: Polished, dark leather dress shoes

Accessories: Watches are great, you can also add a pocket square to your sport coat if you want to spice things up. No tie needed at this point.

It’s Ok To Ask What To Wear

Nurse interview outfit

In many traditional industries, like finance or accounting, business professional dress will be appropriate: A conservative suit, shirt, and tie if you’re a man, or a conservative suit if you’re a woman, with, perhaps, personality shown through your shirt or jewelry, Glass says.

In other industries such as advertising, public relations, graphic design, and information technology, what to wear to an interview might be less clear. If that’s the case, Glass says, ask about the company’s general dress policies when you’re first contacted about an interview.

“You can say to the person you speak with, ‘I want to make sure I understand your company culture and dress appropriately,'” Glass notes. “It’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, it shows respect.”

If in doubt, err on the conservative side. “I’ve been overdressed at times, and that can be uncomfortable,” Glass says. “But that’s much better than being underdressed.”

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Business Formal Interview Outfit Examples For Men

Our most formal option and the easiest to prepare for. You’re going full matching suit and tie for this one!

The biggest thing to watch out for here is matching the suit and shoes. The suit’s already going to match, but you don’t want to ruin the whole thing with a goofy color choice for your shoes. Just because they’re fancy doesn’t mean they work with the outfit. Business Insider has an awesome guide to help you match suits and shoes.

When you’re suiting up, your best option for showing off some personality is with your tie. Be careful though, it’s easy to go a little crazy. You still want to keep things on the professional / conservative side, but don’t be afraid to go beyond basic black or blue if you feel compelled.

Men’s Outfit Example #1

Bottom: Suit pants that match your jacket

Shoes: Polished formal dress shoes

Accessories: Tie is a must here, watches are great, and a pocket square is always a nice touch if it’s your thing

Black and blue suits are a super common and traditional move. They look awesome and are definitely a safe play. If you want to spice things up, you can switch up the suit color to something that’s not quite as common like a charcoal or gray.

Just don’t go Miami Vice on us with the white, khaki, or seersucker. You may think I’m dumbing it down a bit too much I wish I wasn’t, I’ve seen it.

Men’s Outfit Example #2

Bottom: Light gray suit pants that match the jacket

Shoes: Brown or black formal dress shoes

Accessories: Tie and watch

Stained And Wrinkled Clothing

Wrinkles, tears and stains can make you appear unprofessional and sloppy. To avoid creating the wrong impression on your potential employer, take a close look at your outfit before leaving for your interview. If you identify loose threads, wrinkles or stains, repair them or change your clothes before meeting with the hiring team.

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Try To Be Conventional

Its important to be memorable at your interview, but youd rather be remembered as the one who goes skydiving at weekends, than as the one in the bright red shirt. Give yourself the best chance by dressing in a way thats simple, understated and traditional. Opt for dark grey or navy, and only play with things like pinstripes if youre 100% sure you know what youre doing.

With everything else, such as shoes, ties, bags, tights and scarves, play it safe. Keep the colours muted. Orange is a gigantic no-no yellow, red and pink are pushing it.

Yes, sorry, youll look a bit boring. Thats the point. Let your personality shine, not your clothes.

What Isnt Business Casual

What To Wear To An Interview

OK, so now you know what to wear, but its equally important to understand what not to wear. Under no circumstances should you wear clothes with offensive slogans or graphics, or clothes that are inappropriately tight or revealing.

Additionally, steer clear of ripped jeans, flip-flops, crop tops, sweats, shorts or yoga pants. Again, if youre still unsure, best to check with your supervisor on the companys approved dress code.

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General Rules For What To Wear During Interviews

In another life, I worked as the manager of a manufacturing plant, and as part of that job I had to interview everyone from other managers to the folks who ran the machines. Obviously, on the job, these people wore different clothes.

The thing is, regardless of what they were interviewing for, most people came in ready for my questions, but dressed seemingly without much thought about what they were interviewing for! Accounting and logistics candidates might come in fancy t-shirts, and shop hands would come in rumpled suits.

The bad news is this had a real impact on my perception of their qualification for the job. The good news is that with a little consideration, you can dress for an interview to set yourself WAY ahead of the competition.

Remember these three key points if you dont get anything else from this guide:

  • Frumpy, too-tight, or wrinkly clothes will always reflect poorly on you, no matter how formal or stylish it is
  • Classic style is always a good choice, and trendy clothes can actually have a negative impact on your first impression.
  • Its always better to overdress than to underdress. Its way easier to play off a suit in an office of hoodies than to shrug off wearing a hoodie to an office of suits. Jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies are never enough.
  • And the absolute, must-remember, never-forget, always-do tip:

    Business Casual Interview Outfit Ideas

    The term business casual for women varies somewhat between companies, but it is better to overdress a little than to underdress for an interview if you do not know for sure. At the same time, you can usually wear dress trousers to a casual business interview.

    Flat shoes or shoes with a bit of heel would be appropriate, but you will want to avoid wearing tennis shoes. Additionally, you have more leeway in your jewelry, but avoid wearing too much or too bold pieces because you want the attention to remain on your answers and not your jewelry.

    A light blue chiffon blouse is a great choice. If you are a little short, consider a tie in the front where the ends hang down the front, which also eliminates the need to wear a necklace. Unless it is scorching, go with a long-sleeved option.

    Wear it with a pair of black dress pants. Choose a pair that rises high enough that you do not have to worry about the back when you sit down. This outfit looks superb when worn with ankle-high dress boots. Since you are wearing long-sleeves and a shirt with a tie, you can have some fun with a ring and your earrings, but do not go too bold.

    A maroon ribbed knit dress with long sleeves that stops slightly below your knee is a great business casual interview outfit. Choose one with a side slit that stops a little below your fingertips.

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    What To Save For A Rainy Day Interview

    Image: Shutterstock

    Interview attire on a rainy day is not that different from what you would wear on a moderately cold day. An umbrella or a raincoat is something you definitely need, so dont shy away from walking into the office in a raincoat. Skirts or dresses might be a better option if you want to avoid your trousers getting wet.

    What To Wear To A Casual Interview

    20+ Gorgeous Interview Outfits That Will Guarantee You The Job ...

    Even if youre interviewing at a casual office, a café, a movie theater, or anywhere you think things are going to be pretty lax, you still need to step it up a bit. You still want to be polished and professional, and leave regular jeans, t-shirts, and any open-toed shoes in your closet.

    Stick to dark jeans or chinos , casual shoes, and if you want a cardigan or sweater. Make sure your clothes fit well, are clean, and look neat.

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    Dressing For A Job Interview In A Creative Field

    These fields almost demand less formality, since they may expect you to bring your unique talents to the role. Its a good chance that suits won’t be required at any creative agency, and while everyone will dress within bounds, personal style trumps the specifics.

    If you have an idea of what people wear there in advance, use it as a guideline. If you dont, again, dark-wash jeans matched with a blazer with a button-up, a polo, or a cardigan and shirt combo are great options for a less formal feel.

    The exception to this is if you’re interviewing for a supervisory, management position or higher. Then something more formal, from business casual to a suit and tie, would be appropriate.

    Look Good To Employers

    Now that you know what to wear to an interview to look like a pro, it’s important that you also sound like a pro. Need some help with that? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you’ll get interview insights, career advice, and job search tips sent directly to your inbox. The more tailored your presentation is as a whole, the better your chances of making hiring managers sit up and take notice.

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    Putting It All Together

    Ultimately, figuring out what to wear to an interview doesnt have to be a challenge. With the tips above, you can head in the right direction. Just consider the standards for that workplace, and aim slightly above. Or, when in doubt, aim for somewhere between executive casual and business formal. If you do, youll probably be in great shape.

    Good luck!

    Look For Blouses With Interesting Details

    What To Wear To An Interview

    A blouse like the one shown here with a bow makes for an elegant look, which can be completed with either a skirt or slacks. Add a skinny waist belt for a touch of detail that makes the top pop. A skirt made of an interesting fabric or a simple black pencil skirt is a great way to make a business look your own.

    Depending on where you’re being interviewed, you can add a jacket to dress up the look.

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    Tell Me About Yourself

    This seems like some informal small talk. But its actually your opportunity for a grand opening, where you can humbly brag about everything you want them to know. This question will likely come up at the beginning of your interview and can be thought of like the trailer for a movie, Elliott says. Keep your response to 60 to 90 seconds in length. Focus on your relevant experience, transferable skills, and the reason you want to work for this specific company.

    Your answer could include:

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    Dressing For A Casual Working Environment

    If you are applying to work in a bar, café, or restaurant, there is likely to be a set uniform you have to wear. Conversely, there may be no uniform at all, and just about anything may be acceptable. However, it is still important to dress semi-smart for an interview to show that you take it seriously.

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    Ask For The Dress Code

    Its really simple, and not at all off putting, to ask for insights regarding a company dress culture. When scheduling the interview you can simply say, I know some offices are formal and others are really casual these days. Can you give me an idea of what would be most appropriate for me to wear to the interview? Asking means you wont feel awkward when you walk into the office. Show that youre confident, get the information you need and then your outfit wont even be a factor in the interview.

    Logan Mallory,Motivosity

    Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at to answer questions and get published.

    Simple And Professional Tops

    What To Wear To Casual Interviews

    Choose a top that is comfortable while also being conservative and professional. A button-down shirt or blouse paired with a cardigan or a simple jacket is ideal. It is best to go for more neutral colors or simple colors. The top you choose should be appropriately fitted rather than being too loose and baggy, which can appear sloppy.

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    Business Professional Interview Outfit Ideas

    A professional business outfit is not as formal as a formal business outfit so that you can wear dress pants and conservative pantsuits. It would help if you still stuck with very conservative colors, but you have a little more leeway to add deep browns and blues.

    Ensure that nothing you wear detracts from your answers by choosing conservative clothing styles. You can also trade in your heels for flats as long as they are closed-toed if you desire. You also have more freedom in your jewelry and handbag selections.

    A dark brown blazer and a matching pencil skirt with a white dress blouse are excellent options for a professional business interview. Choose a blazer with two buttons that you can easily button with front pockets. Put it on over your favorite white blouse.

    Select a brown pencil skirt with a front or back slit to make movement easier. This is the perfect outfit to match with a pair of ballet flat shoes, so moving gets even easier. Complete the look with gold jewelry with a matching brown citrine necklace and earrings.

    A monochromatic navy-blue pantsuit is a fantastic choice for a professional business interview. Consider one with a stand collar, and you can skip the necklace. Select an option with two hip pockets so that you do not need to carry a purse into the meeting. Pair it with a matching blue skirt with a bit of flair and an artic blue blouse that buttons down the front. Complete the look with turquoise jewelry to create an outfit that will impress.

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