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What women should wear to a job interview

Updated on May 5, 2015

There are a couple of main rules to keep in mind when dressing for a job interview: it's better to dress conservatively.

As to the first statement, you never want to be remembered for what you wore. Try to have your clothes be the least noticeable thing about you.

Here are some little tips to keep in mind when dressing for the interview:

• Yeah, it might look good, but if you'd wear it to a date or dancing, you shouldn't wear it now.

• Suit: Wear a two-piece matched suit. Pantsuits are beneficial in that you don't have to worry about being exposed when sitting or getting out of vehicles. They should be creased and tailored and not too tight.

If you wear a skirt, make sure it covers your thighs. Sit in front of a mirror and see how it looks; that's how your interviewer will see you. It should be at least to the knee; longer is fine so long as you can walk still. No high slits in the skirt; if there is one, it should be a small one in the back or on the side.

• Color / fabric: Navy, dark gray, brown and black are safe. Avoid extremes. Choose a solid or very subtle weave pattern or plaid (the kind that look solid across a room). Wool, wool blends, and high quality blends and synthetics are apprpriate.

• Shirt / sweaters: Underneath the suit jacket, wear a tailored blouse in a color or small print that goes nicely with your suit. A good quality knit is also good to wear under the jacket. And, of course, no cleavage!

• Jewelry / accessories: Wear a conservative watch. Keep your choices simple and leaning toward conservative. Avoid extremes of style and color. It depends on the industry; some may go for more creativity, but generally keep it simple.

• Cosmetics: Keep makeup conservative. A little is usually better than none for a polished look. Nails should be clean and well groomed. Avoid extremes of nail length and polish color.

• Shoes: Should be leather or fabric / micro fiber. Choose closed-toe pumps. No matter what's in style, avoid extremes; no stilettos or chunky platforms. Make certain you can walk comfortably in your shoes; no stumbling!

• Hosiery: Should be plainly styled (no patterns), sheer (not opaque) and in neutral colors that go with your suit. Avoid high contrast between your suit and hosiery color.

• Purse / bag: If you carry a purse, keep it small and simple, especially if you also carry a briefcase. Its color should go with your shoes. Leather is the best choice for briefcases; micro fiber or fine wovens are also acceptable.


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    • profile image 

      6 years ago

      It's Women Era...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have worked in retail and manufacturing management positions where I would interview folks for the final determination whether or not they would be right for the job. If a woman came in wearing a pants, blouse and the wrong type shoes {and many in Florida are so stupid they thinking wearing flip flops for employment interviews are commonplace!} they would not get hired. And yes, I'm a male and no I am not sexist as so many of today's women think, I was brought up in a time when women DRESSED like women, dresses, low heels or flats and looked great, no dressing like their male counterparts, if you looked like that, I would not hire you, but if you came dressed in a nice skirt and blouse, flat loafers or low heels {NO OPEN TOE SHOES!} and had the appropriate experience, chances are you'd walk away with the job. Once the offer of employment was offered, then and only then would I tell you that the appropriate attire for the job may or may not be pants or a dress, as well as the correct type of shoes for the position. This is where so many women and, yes, even some men miss the point of the interviewing process, look your best, wear the appropriate style clothes to impress whom your interviewing with and hopefully get the position. I probably can't even count the number of IDIOTS that came to interviews in flip flops, and that right there is an instant NO HIRE in most hiring interviews!

    • profile image

      Eileen Woods 

      7 years ago

      What crazy ideas show up here. Anyone who wants to be successful should concentrate on coming aross as someone who cares about themselves and the people they work with.

      Whether you wear pants or a skirt, make sure the suit is well tailored and attractive. Look to the better stores and what they feature and invest a little money in that first outfit. Hair? whatever is stylish and flattering.

      nails? wear red polish if you want. Better than broken of chewed nails.

      Shoes? Just don't wear flip-flops and one young lady did interviewing with me. I could have cried for her, she looked so bad. Wear a pantsuit if you are going to work in the field.( but not THE one you'll be wearing out there) Look like an executive at all times. But, for heaven's sake, be proud of yourself and let your self confidence show. Wear makeup like grown up women do. If you are scared of it, go to a professional (and I don't mean a department store) and learn how to apply it.

      I've been doing this for 50 years . If the guy isn't going to hire you, it won't make much difference what you wear. Be proud of yourself.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      engineergirl, why wouldn't you wear a skirt to an engineering job? Because it's a male-dominated field? I don't think that you should feel you need to dress like a man to compete with other men...Women bring their own set of unique skills to the table that their male competition might not have. Don't be afraid to be yourself, and especially, don't be afraid of being a woman. Show them that you can be a woman and an engineer at the same time. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Please share some tips of dressing according to Indian concert.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northern California

      Peg, great advice! I tend to be a little leery of stains when I see people in the office.

      Ahsan, definitely it should look good, but also be comfortable. I can remember the interviews where I didn't feel comfortable in my clothes and I feel like it consumed too much of my thinking.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      simply wear what looks best on you.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Hello Glassvisage,

      Your article is factual and full of great advice to get past some of the obstacles of the job interview process. The right outfit is a fine balance between good taste and common sense. From feedback I received when placing graduates at a Dallas Business School, cleanliness of the clothing is key as well - no spills, stains or safety pins to ruin the effect.

    • writingale profile image


      8 years ago from Land of the Green

      good tips for women to look good .thanks for the info. Looks does matter in interview or in any other situation.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you Ralph! With hope, it is helpful to people who are interviewing for jobs, especially now that the jobless rate for the nation has gone up to 9.2%. Best of luck to all.

    • RalphGreene profile image


      8 years ago

      Very useful hub! You did have good ideas on composing women for an interview.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great information! Thank you so much,

      By the way, I am a woman and I feel much more comfortable in my pants than a skirt in any occasion. Also I was told so many times that I looked way better in pants than a skirt..(You know you have a certain body shape that looks better in pants).I think I will wear a pant suit in my interview....

    • profile image

      Claude F 

      8 years ago

      As an HR professional I would add: never ever wear expensive clothes. If you are the best dressed person in the room, rest assured, you will not get the job. This is particularly true if women are interviewing you. Also, if you know women are interviewing you, then that is the time to really NOT look like the pretty rich girl who was mean to everyone in High School. Then good looks can be real hindrance. I have seen it a million times. The inter gender politics among women can be a career killer.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Huh. I would think that it would be silly for a woman to interview for an engineering job in a skirt suit. For a job in finance, or human resources I can understand.. but I can't imagine myself wearing a skirt suit to an engineering job interview. This is confusing..

    • Aakarshan profile image


      8 years ago

      If you are not comfortable or confident wearing a skirted suit, you might not interview well. You should be true to yourself, and your clothing should reflect your self-image and help you project your most confident self. Some women feel they look better in pantsuits than in skirted suits.

    • perfectperception profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I like this one. Its amazing how many people I have interviewed that come to see me in the MOST inappropriate attire.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I just wanted to say thank you for creating this Post. It has helped me hugely in understanding importance of lingerie costume . I think it is the best stuff out there…

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for your comments everyone!

      Angela Michelle, I go to the Goodwill and get my suits for $10! :)

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

      This is a really good hub. I need to find a dress suit. I don't have one and I have an interview next week.

    • katie54321 profile image


      9 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I once interviewed someone who was dressed in pink from head to toe - a pink hair accessory, pink shirt and pants, pink purse and pink toenail polish. I know about the toes because she was wearing pink platform sandals. I think you are right that conservative is best when it comes to the color of the clothes you wear.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am bond to routine and never wore a skirt to an interview. It does not feel right. Also, I have a huge tattoo on my leg that would compromise a good decision for a job interview. I was looking for more info on the best color that women should wear for the interview. Does anyone have any advice?

    • FirstStepsFitness profile image


      9 years ago

      Thought provoking .....So if the Hiring Manager is wearing a suit (male). Two interview for the position one female in a pant suit and one male in a pant suit . She is under dressed wearing the same choice as him for the interview ?

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Northern California

      Cath, thank you for adding that! It's so true. That has happened to me a couple of times!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      And I'd add never wear something that doesn't feel like 'you'. If you put something on that really doesn't express who you are - in an attempt to seem like the sort of person you think would get the job! - you'll feel awkward and it'll show. Just be yourself and you can't lose. Because even if you don't get the job, you'll still be a step nearer to the job meant for you.

    • ciidoctor profile image


      9 years ago

      useful info thnx

    • csd1509 profile image


      9 years ago

      definitely having that in mind for my next job interview!

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles 

      9 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      Great Tips!!! Great Hub!!!! Blessings!!! Come visit me!

    • profile image

      Big Dawg 

      10 years ago

      OK ladies - on the skirts, dresses thing - is this really so sexist?

      I would say a pantsuit is "dressing down" compared to a skirt suit. The simple fact so many seem to prefer it seems to support this claim.

      If I'm waring a suit coat and tie, and you come in in a pant suit, well frankly you are underdressed relative to me. If I'm going to go to that effort, you should too.

    • Juliet Christie profile image

      Juliet Christie Murray 

      10 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

      Great tips here. Very helpful

    • RavynSteel profile image


      10 years ago from North Wales

      The Skirt/pants thing is a little sexist - I've been to plenty interviews and been hired, despite wearing pants. At the end of the day, if you get turned down for a job because you didn't wear a skirt, you've had a lucky escape from a sexist moron of a boss! Otherwise, a good hub.

    • Jetes profile image

      Brooke Saul 

      10 years ago from Seattle

      It also matters that you dress for the job you are interviewing for. Great article.

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Northern California

      Very true! Thanks everyone for your comments and ideas... while it depends on the job, though, hopefully everyone is meeting some level of professionalism and decency! :)

    • Tickle me Pink profile image

      Tickle me Pink 

      10 years ago

      I think what you wear should depend the job, eg, if your applying as a buyer for clothing store, you should wear what represents your personality, show you have an eye for fashion and style, accessories are very important to create an individual look.

      Be confident, do your research, be comfortable, let them know what you will bring to this you will be of benefit to them!!!

    • Sandilyn profile image


      10 years ago from Port Orange, FL

      Very nice article. Looking professional brings about the right appeal to your interviewer. I have seen it all in FL. Some people have even showed up in flip flops. Those are ok for the beach but not for the office. I also agree with limiting the jewelry and no body wear. No one wants to see your nose rings! If you have one, show it off somewhere else.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Why not wear some lovely body jewelry -

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Women should be able to wear pantsuits to interviews!

    • beachartist profile image


      11 years ago

      Really really an excellent and timely article. I know employers are more scrutinizing when hiring women employees. This article will work great in non-work related occasions too. Nice job.


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