Working out what to wear to an interview is an important stage of the interview preparation process. And believe us when we say: you CAN get it wrong. If you dress too relaxed, you risk coming off as scruffy and unorganised. If you dress too glamorously, you can come across as ‘too much’. So what’s the balance?
Read on to find out the best interview outfits for women and men!
General rules for interview outfits
If you’re not sure of the dress code, always opt for a more professional look. It’s much better to be overdressed and underdressed at all stages of the interview process.
- Polish your shoes
- Iron your clothes
- Wear a neat hairstyle
- Carry a handbag, portfolio or briefcase
Interview outfits for women
Generally speaking, women have more interview outfit options than men. You can opt for trousers and a shirt. Or maybe you’d prefer a skirt or dress.
- Any skirts or dresses shouldn’t be shorter than just above the knee
- Only use a light spritz of perfume – don’t drench yourself
- Don’t wear peep toe shoes or wedges
- No stilettos – a smaller heel is fine, or even flat shoes
- Avoid wearing low cut tops
- No chipped or brightly coloured nail varnish (neutral colours or french manicure are best)
- Try not to use heavy makeup that you might wear on a night out
- Always go for tailored trousers, not jeans
- Try to use a proper handbag rather than a smaller purse
Interview outfits for men
The safest interview outfit option for men is to wear a suit and tie. This is a classic choice – you can’t really go wrong!
- Avoid wearing a black suit (navy and grey are solid choices)
- Carry a portfolio or briefcase
- Don’t wear jeans – this could be a huge red flag for some employers
- Fashion a neat and combed hairstyle
- Tidy up your facial hair
- No shorts – even for a casual interview!
- Wear a flash of colour to be memorable (ties and handkerchiefs are eye-catching!)
What if the dress code is casual?
Some workplaces have a casual dress code or ‘business casual’. This means less formal than a suit and tie. But more formal than a t-shirt and jeans. Never assume the attire is casual. If you’re unsure, always check the dress code with the employer. If it’s business casual, opt for a ‘smart-casual’ outfit.
Casual interview outfits
- Tailored trousers
- Flat shoes
- Polo shirts
- Button down shirts without a tie
- Smart jumpers
What is too casual?
Despite the dress code being casual, you can still be too casual. There are still standards to maintain. Here are a few items that are never okay for an interview:
- Ripped jeans
- Mini skirts / mini dresses
- Peep toe shoes
- Crop tops
- Caps and hats
What to wear to a video interview?
It’s easy to assume you can dress casually for a remote interview. But virtual interviews don’t necessarily indicate an informal dress code. You should still dress professionally just as you would for a face to face interview. Only dress casually if the employer tells you it’s business casual.
Look the part
Nailing your interview outfit is important to give a strong first impression. Always try to clarify the dress code before your interview by asking the hiring manager. If you can’t find out, always opt for a smart outfit. Remember, it’s much better to be overdressed than underdressed!
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