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What to Wear for a Job Interview

Updated on August 19, 2012
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When you get called by a potential employer about a job interview, you may be excited, but you may wonder, "What am I going to wear?" If you have researched the company and still don't know what kind of attire is appropriate for that workplace, there is a simple solution.

This guide will show you how to dress for an interview without having to know what type of office you are about to walk into.

What NOT to Wear to an Interview

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Job Interview Apparel Tips

Interview Attire Do's

  • Dress Conservatively: The last thing you want to do at an interview is show too much skin. Dress like you would to court and try to look professional as well as intelligent.
  • Wear Plain Colors: Bright colors often distract and are somewhat unprofessional-looking.
  • Wear Straight-Leg Pants: Any other type of pant, whether it is skin-tight or flared is not usually considered professional. When attending a job interview, make sure that your outfit reflects your work ethic--precise, exact, and proficient.

Interview Attire Don'ts

  • Don't Wear a Hat: Hats are traditionally removed during important events or as a sign of respect. Wearing a hat to an interview could make you look like you are not taking this opportunity seriously.
  • Don't Let Your Elbows or Knees Show: If your elbows or knees are exposed, you are not dressed appropriately. Part of being conservatively dressed is showing little skin and drawing the interviewer's eyes to your face.
  • Don't Wear Jeans: Jeans are not considered appropriate interview attire because they are made of denim, which is a casual material. If you wear jeans to a professional interview, you may be considered uninterested or serious.
  • Don't Have Any Holes in your Clothing: Having clean and in-tact clothing shows that you are dedicated to looking and performing to the best of your ability.
  • Don't Wear Heavy Accessories: Heavy pieces of jewelry or bags can weigh-down your look and distract from what you are saying. If you are going to accessorize, choose sleek items to wear and carry with you so the potential employer is not left thinking about your chunky briefcase when you leave.


Interview Clothing for Women

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Wearing a pin-striped blazer or another article with just a touch of flair can make you stand out without being overwhelming.
Wearing a pin-striped blazer or another article with just a touch of flair can make you stand out without being overwhelming. | Source

How to Dress for a Job Interview (for Women)

If you want to get a job and dress appropriately for an interview, you must dress conservatively. For women, this means avoiding low neck-lines, covering your shoulders and elbows with a sweater or blazer, and wearing pants or dresses that are no shorter than your knees.

When accessorizing for a job interview, you will need to keep in mind that your face and personality needs to shine the most in an interview. Dainty, small, but classy pieces of jewelry work best when interviewing for a position because they accent, but not distract.

An example of a "safe" outfit for a job interview would be a simple blouse or collared shirt (preferably white), a black blazer, and a straight-legged, black pant. You can accent this look with a few, gentle accessories, but you do not need much.

Men's Clothing for Job Interviews

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How to Dress for a Job Interview (for Men)

If the interview is for a large company, men should wear a suit. A good suit does not have to be expensive. What you need is a simple, black trouser (straight-legged), a belt, a white or light blue, collared shirt, and a black blazer. You can choose to wear a tie with this outfit and some shiny, black shoes.

For a job at a smaller company, wear everything you would to a big company's job interview, but wear a clean sweater instead of a blazer (like in the photo above).

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What to Wear to a Job Interview at a Place where You Don't Know the Dress Code

No matter what job you are going to interview for, you need to keep in mind that you are not dressing for the job, but for the interview.

Even if you walk in and everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts, know that you look professional in your interview attire.

A blazer, trouser and a collared shirt are the perfect elements to an interview outfit. If you have no idea what to wear to an interview because you aren't sure whether the company is formal or casual, these simple pieces can help you gain the confidence and possibly the job along with confidence.

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    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      All very good advice I found it interesting.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Washington State

      Sticking to the simple basics saves a lot of wear and tear in decision making on interview day too! Great read.

    • brittanytodd profile image
      Author

      Brittany Kennedy 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

      Thanks, cclitgirl! "Dress for the interview, not for the job," as they say. I'm so glad you got the job! Dressing is such an important part of a first impression. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      This is great information. I once had a job interview at a ski area and had no idea what to wear. I finally resorted to khakis and a button-up oxford with a blazer. I felt overdressed, but I got the exact job I was looking for. Sound advice here. :)

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 5 years ago from Texas

      Great tips! Presentation at an interview is very important and how one dresses is certainly the first visual impression one makes. Thank you for sharing.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      Very important guide for job seekers. First impressions are so critical and your appearance is just that. Great job.