Interview Attire: Choosing the Best Interview Clothes for Your Job Interview

Make a great first impression with the right interview attire. Learning to dress for success is easy when you follow this checklist for selecting your interview clothes. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a great first impression!

Why is interview dress so important? You only have one chance to make a first impression. Sound cliché? Perhaps, but when the first impression can possibly determine your fate, it’s wise job search advice – cliché or not.

dress for success - man adjusting his tie for an interview

Don’t make the mistake of wearing what the company’s current employees wear every day. Remember: You don’t work there yet. Your interview attire is supposed to be more formal than every-day wear.

It’s easy to overlook our own interview attire mistakes, so reach out for a second opinion from a trusted friend that has professional taste and an objective point of view.

Even before we get into the details of interview attire, be sure to consider these basic guidelines:

  • Even before you dress, be sure you are freshly showered and clean. Wear deodorant, but no cologne or perfume.
  • Your clothes are fresh, clean and pressed.
  • Your fingernails are clean and trimmed.
  • You have fresh, clean breath (garlic, tobacco and even coffee are strong culprits here).

Now for the particulars:

A traditional, conservative style is typically the safest bet. The general rule of thumb: Dress for the position you want – not the position you currently hold. Invest in a well-made, good-fitting suit. Consider accessories (the color of your blouse, tie or jewelry) to update your look and add a bit of flair, but keep it simple. Polish your shoes.

For men:

  • Choose a dark, wool, two-button suit. Focus on fit and quality. Be sure the trousers are the correct length – not too long or too short.
  • Wear a clean and starched light-colored (white, cream or very light blue) shirt. Do not wear short sleeves. Check the fit at the neck and wrist.
  • Choose a silk or silk-blend tie in a color that complements (not matches) your suit.
  • Dark socks should complement the suit color. Socks should be long enough that you can cross your legs and still only see the socks.
  • Wear black or brown leather shoes (polished).
  • Your belt should match your shoes. Keep it simple, no fancy belt buckles.
  • Keep your watch and accessories simple. A wedding ring is fine, but avoid multiple rings or other jewelry.
  • Just to be sure it does not go unsaid: Visible body piercings and tattoos are not acceptable.

For women:

  • Choose a quality, solid-colored suit. Darker, more subtle, traditional colors work best at first interviews, where you can take your cue on style/color for the second interview. Jackets should be a simple style. Stylish is OK as long as it is not gaudy. A solid skirt or trousers in an appropriate length. No short skirts.
  • Light colored blouse, no sleeveless shirts.
  • Complimentary, simple jewelry or scarf that complement the suit. Avoid multiple rings and dangly earrings. No anklets.
  • Leather shoes in a dark, complementary color. Keep the style professional and the heels a moderate height.
  • Neutral nylons or stockings are best, again, keep it simple.
  • Belts should match your shoes.
  • Makeup should be natural and subtle. Do not apply lipstick in public.

Good luck with your job search!

Honing your interview skills is one of the keys to a successful job hunt. If you are looking for additional resources to prepare for your interview, you may also like these articles: