Wondering what to wear to an interview? Here are some tips to help you look your best (and on a budget)
Searching for a new job is tough enough, take the guesswork out of what to wear by following these simple tips!
Whether you go with business casual or business formal attire, be conservative and keep it simple. Go with solid colors and clothing that has ‘full coverage’.
What is business attire?
Business attire is a more formal and extremely conservative way to dress. You will see Business attire in atmospheres that deal more directly and in person with clients. Business attire should be fitted and neatly pressed.
- Solid color, conservative pants (or long skirt) suit with a blouse
- For long skirts, wear tan or light colored pantyhose (no pantyhose is not an option here)
- Shoes: Closed toe only, moderate heel (this is not the time to show off your pedicure or stilettos)
- Dark business suit
- Matching vest (optional)
- Conservative tie
- Dress shirt – button down
- Leather dress shoes and dark dress socks
What is business casual?
Business casual has been adopted by many companies who allow employees to dress a little less formal and slightly more comfortable while maintaining a professional atmosphere. All clothing should be neatly pressed and neither too tight nor too loosely fitted.
Examples of Business Casual For women
- Skirt, khakis, or solid color pants (grey, navy blue, black, tan)
- Coordinated with your pants or skirt: button-down, collared shirt or open-collared blouse
- Shoes: Open toe is ok as long as the shoe cannot be classified as a flip flop. As a best practice, closed toe shoes are the most appropriate.
Examples of Business Casual For men
- Khaki, or a pair of slacks (grey, navy blue, black, or tan)
- Neatly pressed long sleeve button down shirts, polo or knit shirts with a collar, tucked in
- Knit sweater or sweater vest with a matching collared shirt underneath
- Coordinated dress shoes and dress socks
- Tie is optional
When to wear business casual vs. strictly business
Business attire is always your best bet. Especially if you’re unsure, it’s better to dress up than dress down. It’s also best not to ask the Hiring Manager what to wear to your interview as part of their evaluation of you is how you prepare ahead of time. Review the job description and company website – will you be dealing with clientele face to face? If so, you’re definitely better off going with Business attire. If you have a back office position where you will only interact with coworkers or will be working in a facility that has a warehouse or manufacturing plant, then you’re probably safe with Business Casual.
What not to wear:
T-shirts, jeans, sneakers, flip-flops, tank tops, revealing shirts, short skirts
Can I wear makeup?
Yes, you can certainly wear makeup. However, it’s best to go with very light, natural looking makeup.
Jewelry or no jewelry?
Going back to our general conversation about being conservative, it’s better to tone down the extras in your wardrobe. If overdone, jewelry can be distracting to your interviewer. Oversized earrings, necklaces and bracelets can be a disturbance if they are swinging around or clanking against each other.
Can I wear perfume/cologne?
Some will tell you that a little is ok. However, you should be very cautious when applying fragrances as many people have allergic reactions to different colognes and perfumes. The last thing you want is to cause your interviewer to have a sneezing fit!
How can I have multiple outfits for my interviews on a very tight budget?
Find a local consignment shop or discount store. Many of these stores have brand new or like new items for extremely low costs. You can also have one good business suit with different coordinates like ties, shoes, and shirts.