Navigating the world of job interviews can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to deciding what to wear. To ease your worries, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on interview attire. This guide takes into account current workplace norms, different employer dress codes, and the location of the interview. So, let’s dive right in!

Selecting the Perfect Interview Attire

When picking out your interview outfit, there are several key factors you need to consider:

  1. First Impressions Matter: Your attire can set the tone of the interview. Dressing appropriately can help you make a positive impression on potential employers.
  2. Comfort and Confidence: Your outfit should not only look good but also feel good. Choose something that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
  3. Consider the Job Role: Keep in mind the job you’re applying for. Is the dress code formal or casual? This is especially important as remote work is becoming more prevalent.
  4. The Location Matters: Are you interviewing onsite at the company’s headquarters or via an online platform like Zoom? Your location could determine the type of clothing you should wear.

Remember, the main goal is to present your qualifications and make empowered career decisions. Your attire should complement, not distract from, the primary focus of your interview.

Choosing Your Interview Attire: A Three-Step Process

Follow this simple three-step process to select your interview attire, while freeing up mental energy to focus on the rest of your interview preparation.

1. Common Rules of Thumb

  • Dress a notch above the workplace attire: If the company’s employees typically dress in jeans and T-shirts, you might consider wearing non-denim pants and a tucked-in shirt.
  • Prioritize comfort and confidence: Even if you’ll be wearing formal attire, ensure your clothes do not restrict movement or irritate your skin.
  • Pay attention to the details: Ensure every garment is clean, free of wrinkles or tears, and fits properly. These details can significantly enhance your overall look.

2. Research the Company’s Dress Code

In addition to dressing a step up, you should also understand the company’s culture, dress code, or attire expectations. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Contact your interview point of contact and inquire about the company’s dress code.
  • Peruse the company’s website and social media profiles for visual clues about the typical attire.
  • If possible, visit the company’s location and observe how employees dress.

After understanding the company’s dress code, consider these examples in four workplace attire categories:

  • Formal environments: Tailored suit, button-down shirt with tie, blouse, lace-up dress shoes or close-toed pumps, and stockings or dress socks.
  • Casual environments: Business casual attire typically blends elements of formal and casual attire and can include non-denim pants, blazers, button-downs, and dresses and skirts.
  • Creative environments: Choose garments and accessories that reflect the latest trends and resemble the styles worn by employees and clientele.
  • Industry-specific environments: Dress codes can differ significantly between interviews and the job attire. For example, for a personal trainer interview at a fitness studio, you might wear business casual for the face-to-face part of the interview and athletic attire for a physical demonstration of your training approach.

3. Dress for the Interview Location

Whether you’re interviewing on Zoom or at a company’s headquarters, the location may influence your clothing choices.

For Zoom interviews, choose colors that contrast with your background but don’t clash too much. For onsite interviews, consider the physical comfort. For example, air-conditioned office spaces can feel cold, while fitness facilities may feel warm. For an outdoor location, you may need a durable pair of shoes or a weather-proof coat.

What Not to Wear to an Interview

While you have some leeway in choosing your interview attire, there are some things to avoid:

  • Heavy perfume or cologne
  • An abundance of accessories
  • Wrinkled, torn, or ill-fitting garments
  • Uncomfortable, restrictive garments
  • An outfit that doesn’t match the company culture
  • A combination of radically different patterns, colors, textures
  • Flip flops or athletic shoes

For more inspiration, you can search image-based sites like Pinterest and Instagram for visual examples of appropriate interview attire.

Preparing for Your Interview

Once you’ve chosen your interview attire, remember to thoroughly prepare for the actual conversation with the prospective employer. This includes researching the company, crafting STAR method stories about your professional experience, and preparing questions to ask the interviewer. As you continue your job search, consider building strong interviewing skills to help you along your career path.

Set yourself up for success in your next interview by learning more about non-verbal communication, interview mistakes to avoid, how to analyze job descriptions, and more.

Additional Resources

You can consider enrolling in courses such as “The Art of the Job Interview” to help prepare you for your interviews. These courses can provide insights into communication, resume writing, networking, and more.

Keep Reading

You might also find these articles useful:

  • Second Interview Questions: What to Expect, What to Ask, and How to Prepare
  • How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?” in an Interview
  • STAR Interview Questions: What They Are + How to Answer Them
  • Phone Interview Questions: What to Expect
  • How to Answer “What Are Your Career Aspirations?”

Conclusion

Remember, while it’s important to look professional, it’s equally critical to feel comfortable and confident in your attire. Your outfit should be a reflection of you, and it should align with the company culture and the job for which you’re interviewing. Good luck, and dress for success!

Cherie Richardson

Cherie Richardson
President

Cherie is the owner and president of Carter Recruiting and Associates. She holds a BA in psychology from the University of Mississippi and has over 30 years of experience in the recruitment of executive and manufacturing professionals. Cherie’s work has been instrumental for new plant start-ups, as well as building and maintaining relationships throughout the region and state of Arkansas. She is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and the National Association of Women Business Owners.