A Comprehensive Guide to Proper Interview Attire (With Tips)
Updated 10 April 2023
When attending a job interview, one factor that's under your control is your outfit. Your closet may be stacked full of good-looking clothes, but putting them together well to make a good outfit can take preparation. Gaining an insight into the proper interview attire can help you prepare for your interview and make a positive first impression. In this article, we discuss the importance of dressing well for a job interview, the different clothing items you can wear, their colours and a few tips.
Why is proper interview attire important?
Proper interview attire is important because it can help you convince the hiring manager that your addition to their company is the right decision. Dressing appropriately for an interview can help you appear professional as you answer questions. It can also help you communicate your dedication to getting the job to the hiring manager.
While the focus of a job interview is mainly on your answers to interview questions, presenting yourself professionally may also help you appear more confident, which may affect your overall tone. It can also help you show the interviewer that you have prepared properly for the interview.
What you can wear for a job interview
Here are examples of clothing you can wear to a job interview:
A two-piece suit
One of the best options at your disposal if your final interview is at a company that has a business professional environment is a two-piece suit. A two-piece suit is simply a formal outfit that comprises a suit jacket and matching suit trousers or skirt. This outfit balances comfort and style to help you look competent and professional during your interview. It's very important to stick to more neutral or darker colour tones when picking a suit for an interview to ensure that the interviewer can focus on your qualifications rather than your outfit.
A blazer is a typical business casual clothing item that you can wear to an interview. Blazers come in many fabrics and colours, but if the interview isn't in an air-conditioned environment, you can wear a lightweight blazer to communicate your professionalism through your outfit. The lightweight fabric you opt for may have a tailored and polished look, but you can ensure it comes in a synthetic material designed to wick away moisture.
One of the few materials that can accomplish your desire to feel good in a warm environment is cotton. Wearing this alongside a button-down shirt with pants may help you present yourself positively during an interview.
A button-down shirt or blouse with slacks
Another outfit option for a job interview is a button-down shirt or blouse paired with slacks. You can ensure the shirt or blouse is well-ironed, and the pants are of a matching colour. You may also choose to wear a colour-coordinated tie with this outfit. The best colour choice for the button-down is a white shirt that's free of stains. It's essential to incorporate the current weather conditions when you're picking out your attire, so you may prefer it if the fabric of your shirt or blouse is lightweight and breathable.
When considering size, a necktie is one of the smallest articles of clothing you can wear to a job interview, but it's also a determining factor in your overall outfit. If you decide to add a tie to your outfit, try to keep it simple. Choosing a plain tie is the best option if it's a business professional environment. You can also show a bit of personality with a checkered tie if it's a business casual interview.
Loafers or ballet flats
When it comes to footwear for a job interview, closed-toed shoes are the best choice. Loafers or ballet flats are a sensible footwear option that may help you balance comfort and professionalism in your attire. You can choose a clean pair of loafers or neutral-coloured flats to go with the rest of your outfit for a polished final touch.
Leather lace-up shoes or classic pumps
A nice pair of leather lace-up shoes, commonly known as oxfords or brogues, or a pair of classic and comfortable pumps is another acceptable footwear option for a job interview. It's important that the shoes are a correct fit, and you can walk properly in them for optimal comfort. Black and brown are the most practical colour options for leather shoes and pumps. You can polish your leather footwear to help you present yourself positively during the interview.
The socks you wear to an interview may also be an important consideration. Ensure the socks match each other and the primary colour of your outfit for a coordinated appearance. For example, plain black socks can go with a black suit and pants.
A dress or a skirt
There are many business casual options that can also give you a polished aesthetic. If you opt for a dress or skirt, the length can stop right above your knees. The dress you choose might be lightweight in fabric, but it's essential that the dress is not translucent.
A polo shirt may be a good choice if the company has a business casual or casual dress code. You may wear this item with khaki pants for a business casual outfit. If you choose to wear a polo shirt, be sure it's in a dark colour to help you appear professional.
You may choose to complete your job interview outfit with a belt. Using a belt may help your overall appearance to look more professional and can help you ensure success during an interview. A good choice is a leather belt with a subtle buckle that matches your shoes.
Wearing a wristwatch for a job interview is not necessary, but if you choose to wear one, it may help your outfit appear more sophisticated. It may also make you seem like a time-conscious person. A good choice is a simple leather wristwatch without stones or excessive designs.
What colours can you wear for your interview?
Here are some of the most common colour choices for interview outfits and what they represent:
The colour black represents professionalism and simplicity. Since it's a very versatile colour, you can make any item in your outfit black. Just make sure you add a bit of colour to balance the outfit.
People associate white with purity and peace. You can limit this colour to a simple shirt while using other colours to complement it. White is also a versatile colour that matches most other colours, making this a good option for a job interview outfit.
This colour appears on the colour scale between white and black. Grey represents balance and neutrality. It's a very versatile colour that complements bright colours nicely, so you can easily incorporate them into your outfit.
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
Dressing tips to know before a job interview
Here are a few tips that can help you look your best and put you in a position to get the job:
Do your research
Before your job interview, you can visit the company's website to learn key information about its practices and culture. You can look for images of the employees who work there to gain an insight into how they dress daily to help you prepare for your interview. You can also ask the hiring manager whether the company has a formal, business casual or casual dress code before the interview to help you display your respect for the company's practices.
Prepare your outfit the night before your interview
To help you get ready for your interview, you can plan your outfit in advance and lay it out the night before your interview. This can help you dress for your interview in a timely manner and ensure your clothes are clean and pressed. Setting aside time the night before your interview to prepare your outfit can help you focus more on other aspects of the interview, like answering questions effectively.
Follow instructions from the company
When you're about to attend an in-person interview, it's normal practice for the hiring manager to send you details regarding the interview, including its location and time. These details may include what to wear to the interview. If you receive these instructions, it's important to follow them, as it shows the hiring manager you're willing to align with the company's standard dress code.
Inject personality into your outfit
The purpose of an interview is to give the hiring manager a chance to know you better. As dressing can be a form of expression, you can try to make your outfit choices come across as appealing. Use the common colours in a stylish blend to appear unique.
Wear minimal jewellery
It's important to keep jewellery items to a minimum for a job interview. This can help you create a polished appearance for your interview. Wearing minimal jewellery can help the interviewer focus on your answers to interview questions instead of your appearance.
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