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Ho To Dress For An Interview

Updated on November 14, 2014

What You Wear Matters

It doesn't matter if you are interviewing for a part time job at a fast food restaurant or a high profile career that you've spent years at college and thousands of dollars planning for, you will be judged on your appearance. That's not too say you have to be attractive, but you must be clean, neat, modest and professional if you want a first interview to turn into a second or even better a job offer.

Some people are probably reading this and wondering why anyone would need to be told what is and is not appropriate to wear to an interview. You would be surprised how many, mostly young adults, walk into interviews wearing too tight, too revealing, too wrinkled and far too inappropriate clothing items. Here's how to avoid making a fool of yourself and better your chances at being hired from a job interview.

Don't Be Dirty

For the love of all things with Bacon on them, take a shower, put on some deodorant and style your hair. It's recommended that you don't use perfume or cologne unless you feel it's absolutely necessary and even then choose one of your most neutral and light scents. Different people are attracted to and turned off by different scents and you don't want your interviewer to be distracted trying to not vomit because your scent doesn't agree with them.

Your hair, male or female, needs to be freshly washed and kept tidy. Men, this means you should have had a recent hair cut and facial hair needs to be trimmed and neat. Women, keep your hair simple but professional. Be sure to style it, even if it means a simple french twist but try to keep most of your hair out of your face and don't go overboard with the teasing and hair spray.

Clean clothing should be an obvious one; but it sadly needs to be said. Be sure your clothing is free of dirt, odor, pet hair and stains. If you have pets, bring a lint roller and use it after you get out of your vehicle just before going into your interview.

Clothing Not Optional

What you wear matters, to an extent. For most jobs, you do not need to be dressed in designer threads or a 3 piece suit but you do need to look professional and put together. Here are some basic "do's" and "do not's" when planning your interview wardrobe.



  • Wear jeans, shorts or anything resembling lounge wear or work out clothing.
  • Wear tennis shoes, sandals, house shoes or steel toed style boots (unless requested by the interviewer).
  • Wear graphic, or plain t-shirts of any style.
  • Wear sweatshirts, fleece or hoodies.
  • Wear hats or sunglasses of any style.
  • Wear your junior high graduation suit; ill fitting clothing no matter how fancy it is will look bad. All clothing should fit well and not be too small or too big.
  • Let an under shirt or underwear show!


  • Wear slacks or khakis. If you don't own either corduroys or chinos can be worn if styled appropriately, are in great condition and are wrinkle free.
  • Wear a belt and make sure your pants are worn around your waist, not your butt.
  • Wear a button up shirt (a polo shirt can also be worn if it's an only option, go for a solid neutral color). Button up shirts should be easy on the eyes; meaning no outrageous colors or prints.
  • Tuck in your shirt. A shirt that's not tucked in will look sloppy even if ironed crisp.
  • Iron all of your clothing. Nothing says lazy and "I Don't Care" like wrinkled clothing.
  • Wear clean and polished dress shoes. Matching your shoe color to your belt and outfit is also a good idea.
  • Wear dress socks. When you sit down your ankles will show and it will just look awkward if all you see is skin.
  • Accessorize; adding a blazer, cardigan, vest and/or tie can help pull together your ensemble and make you look ultra put together and professional.
  • Dress for the weather and season. Don't wear a scarf in the middle of summer and don't forgo a blazer or suit jacket in winter.



  • Wear tennis shoes, sandals of any style, boots higher than the ankle (unless pants are covering them), heels that are taller than an inch, or open toed shoes of any style
  • Overdo it on the jewelry. Keep it simple. No large distracting earrings or necklaces and unless it's dainty or medical avoid bracelets.
  • Wear tight or revealing clothing. If you would even think about wearing it to the club DO NOT wear it to an interview. If any part of your clothing is tight or clingy it's not appropriate. Low cut shirts are also a no-no. It's also recommended that you don't wear any sleeveless tops, or skirts that hit above the knee. Lastly, leggings are NOT pants and are never appropriate for a job interview unless worn under a skirt or dress.


  • Wear slacks, a skirt or a dress. Slacks should fit fell but not be snug. Dresses and skirts should not be tight (bodycon skirts are for clubbing, not interviewing) and never have a hem higher than an inch above the knee.
  • Layer for a more professional look. Layering a plain top or a button up with a blazer or a cardigan can instantly make you appear more put together and professional.
  • Wear something you are comfortable in. It's extremely distracting to the interviewer if you are tugging and pulling at your outfit through the entire interview. They won't remember what your skills are that may have been a perfect fit for their company if they are heavily distracted.
  • Show off your personal style. You can still wear your favorite colors and prints if done in a modest and professional way and depending on the company your interviewing for and who's doing the interviewing a stylish outfit may help your interview.

Men's Interview Attire. Button up shirt and tie. Shirt is tucked in.  Dress slacks that are clean and wrinkle free.
Men's Interview Attire. Button up shirt and tie. Shirt is tucked in. Dress slacks that are clean and wrinkle free.

Of course, what you wear isn't everything and realistically you should be judged more so on your skills and experience. Here are some more quick tips for excelling in an interview.

  • Practice interview questions with a friend to get comfortable answering tough questions
  • Always research the company you will be interviewing with
  • Brush up on your skills directly related to the position your interviewing for
  • Bring a copy of your resume with you to the interview, along with any letters of recomendation

How many interviews have you gone to in your life?

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