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Dress for Success

  • Drive by the company. If possible, take some time to check out the company beforehand. See what other women are wearing at the company to get a sense of what you should wear.
  • Check out social media. You may also be able to find out what employees wear by looking at social media. If the company posts pictures, you can get an idea of what everyone is wearing in the office.
  • Email the HR representative. It doesn't hurt to ask what type of clothing is appropriate for that company. When you get an email about coming in for an interview, add a line in your reply.
  • Think about the industry and region. The company is part of a certain industry, and that industry will have certain dress standards. For instance, librarians are going to dress differently than a financial corporations. Nonetheless, even within the industry, you'll see some variation by region.
  • Dress up from the day-to-day wear. Once you've observed what women at the company are wearing, it's your job to dress a level up or so from what they're wearing. For instance, if they're wearing nice pants or skirts and blouses with hose, you should opt for a suit and hose.

Women recommendations

  • Stick to a suit. When you're unsure, a suit is always a good bet. Whether the suit has a skirt or pants is up to you.[1] However, more conservative companies may prefer a skirt. Pick a suit that fits you well and isn't too flashy. Stick to darker colors.
  • High-end brands will get you noticed, but they aren't strictly necessary. Buy the best quality you can afford, and try supplementing with a name-brand briefcase, handbag, or scarf if you can. For skirt length, knee length is usually the most appropriate. If you wear something longer, it shouldn't puff or flow.
  • Keep your shirt simple. Stick to neutral colors, such as white, beige, gray, or black. A button-down shirt or blouse is generally best. However, you can also wear a shell or a knit top underneath a suit, as long as it is well-made and professional-looking.
  • Pick something classy if you don't wear a suit. If the place you're applying to is more casual, you may get away without wearing a suit. However, you should still wear something classy and sophisticated. For instance, a dark sweater and tailored pants are a good pairing.[6]
  • Nonetheless, if you wear a shirt, make sure it is button-down with a collar. You should still stick with dark colors and high-quality materials. You don't have to purchase a high-end brand, but you should try to purchase the material of a quality that will last. Shy away from anything too flashy, including loud patterns. Also, pay attention to details. Make sure you don't have any loose threads hanging down. Check for stains and holes while putting your outfit together, and don't forget to use a lint roller, especially if you live with pets.
  • Wear hosiery if you're unsure. Some places will expect you to wear hose no matter what the weather. Other places won't care as much. If you're not sure about your company, it's best to err on the side of caution and wear the hose.
  • Skip the jeans. Even if the company is casual, you shouldn't wear jeans to an interview. Dressing up shows you are serious about the job, and you want to show you are a professional, even if you dress more casually in your day-to-day job.
  • Clean and iron your outfit. Before you go in, you need to make sure your outfit is clean and free of wrinkles. Check on it a week before the interview to see if you need to take it to the cleaners.
  • Pick a conservative shoe. A mid-heel pump is a classic choice. Don't pick something you can't walk in. If you don't like heels, stick to something low and basic. Also, don't forget to take your industry into consideration when picking the shoe. In the fashion industry, you may want to choose a glamorous high heel, while as a teacher, a basic flat is probably fine.
  • Don't wear too much jewelry. Keep it simple. For instance, a small necklace and a pair of smallish earrings. In addition, don't wear too many rings. You also want to skip other piercings besides a regular pair of earrings. Most companies frown upon other types of piercings.
  • Don't go overboard on the makeup. Like your jewelry, you want to keep your makeup simple. Go for a more natural look, and don't go overboard on designs or colors. Pick a natural, neutral concealer to hide flaws, followed by a neutral powder to help take care of shininess. Use a blush that goes with your complexion; usually warm pink or peach is a good choice. For your eyes, a light brown or one slightly darker than your skin tone can add dimension without looking like you're wearing eye shadow. You can use eyeliner, but try light gray and just lightly dot it on your upper eyelid. Finally, choose a lipstick or lip tint that is the same color as your lips. Keep all of it light. You want to look like you're not wearing makeup, but you want to even out your skin tone and add a bit of color.

Mens Dress for Success

Why is it important to dress appropriately for an interview?

You can use a job interview to sell yourself to your prospective employer, and the clothes you wear are part of that. Dressing appropriately can help ensure that you present a professional image of yourself to potential employers. Clean, well-fitting clothing can also help you feel more comfortable and confident during your interview. This confidence can translate into your interview responses, helping you build rapport and trust with the interviewer.

Here's a list of things you should have in your professional wardrobe when choosing what to wear to an interview:

  • Button-down shirts with dark trousers

When choosing a button-down shirt, seek subtle solid colors or prints. You can pair these shirts with navy or grey trousers and add a matching tie for a professional look. If you are interviewing at an organization with a more casual dress code, you may choose bolder colors or prints. In such casual environments, you don't need to wear a tie, and your choice of button-down can help showcase your unique personality.

  • Button-down shirt with a sweater

When interviewing at a workplace with a business casual dress code, consider wearing a sweater over your button-down shirt. You can choose from several sweater options, such as a pullover or cardigan. Choose neutral colors, such as grey, black or brown, that pair well with many other colors.

  •  Textured blazer

For a slightly more sophisticated outfit, you can pair your button-down shirt and trousers with a textured blazer. You can commonly find corduroy or tweed blazers in neutral colors. If the office you are interviewing at is more formal, consider adding a tie to this outfit.

  • Navy blue blazer

An alternative to a black jacket is a navy blazer, a versatile piece to have in your professional wardrobe. For example, you can combine a navy blue blazer with matching navy trousers or khaki trousers. If you are going for a formal interview, pair it with a tie for a more professional appearance.

  • Light-colored suit

A khaki or light-colored suit jacket with matching pants represents another professional outfit choice. The lighter color still makes this option a bit more casual than a formal suit. You may consider this option when you feel unsure about the dress code because it is safer to go more formal than casual in such situations. As usual, you can make it even more formal by adding a tie.

  •  Polo shirt

If you are interviewing during warmer weather and know the organization has a casual dress code, you can consider wearing a polo shirt. However, pair this shirt with khaki trousers to maintain a professional appearance. You can also try to make this shirt a bit more sophisticated by pairing it with a sweater.

  • Ties

A tie can add interest to outfits and leave a favorable impression on the interviewer. For a job interview at a formal organization, a conservative tie is best. Traditional ties are typically striped or have a checkered pattern. However, if the organization is more casual, you can experiment with a tie that has a bolder design. In this situation, the tie you choose can also showcase your unique personality.

  • Closed-toed shoes

You need to wear closed-toed shoes for interviews, and you have several options to choose from depending on the organization. For example, you can wear Oxfords, lace-up dress shoes, or loafers. Pick dark-colored styles, such as brown or black, in materials like leather or suede. Shoes can help pull your appearance together if you ensure they match the rest of your outfit.

  • Belt

Regardless of the dress code, you typically need to tuck your shirt into your pants. Wearing a belt helps complete your outfit and maintain a professional image. When choosing a belt to wear, pick leather styles that match the color of your shoes.

  • Socks

While your interviewers may not see your socks, they still represent an essential component of your interview outfit. Match your socks with the rest of the outfit for a professional look. For example, wear black socks with black pants. You can choose solid-colored styles or those with subtle prints or designs, such as striped or checkered socks. When wearing prints, make sure the primary color of the design matches your outfit.

Tips for men on what to wear to an interview

Dressing appropriately for an interview is fairly easy, even if you are not conscious of trends in fashion. Here are tips to help you plan what to wear for an interview:

Research the organization’s dress code

Knowing the organization’s dress code can make it easier to plan your interview outfit. When working with a recruiter, they may tell you about the dress code when notifying you about the interview. Otherwise, you can check the organization’s website or the job description to see if these resources mention the dress code. Sometimes images on the website can give you an idea of how their employees typically dress. If you can't find the actual dress code, opt for more formal outfit options to be safe.

Last Modified on Mar 10, 2023
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