How to Dress For a Job Interview

As you walk inside the office for a job interview you want to make a good first impression, and this means wearing the right outfit that not only will meet the dress code, but that also looks good on you. It will tell the hiring manager how you present yourself in a professional manner. No matter how smart you look on paper, your clothes should show it. That’s why 5-Minute Crafts has a few practical and helpful tips that might help you choose your job interview attire.

1. Research the company’s dress code.

By doing some research on the company and their dress code you can have a sense of their work culture and what level of formality they deem acceptable. What you can do is check their photos online and get a clear picture of what people wear when they are at the office.

A casual dress code means more professional-looking but still casual attire.

For women:

  • Dark blouse, jeans, and a cardigan
  • Blouse or button-down shirt and knee-length shirt
  • For footwear go for heels or flats, but avoid open-toe shoes

For men:

  • Polo or button-down shirt
  • Dark slacks or jeans
  • Closed-toe shoes

A business casual dress code means you need to dress up a little bit more.

For women:

  • Navy or black pencil skirt or pants
  • Jacket, cardigan, or button-down shirt
  • Heels or flats

For men:

  • Navy or black dress slacks
  • A belt
  • Button-down shirt with a tie
  • For footwear, loafers or oxfords

For a formal dress code go for dark-colored suits.

For woman:

  • Tailored dress
  • Suit pants or skirt
  • Matching jacket

For men:

  • Suit pants
  • Jacket
  • Button-down shirt with a tie

2. Choose the right color.

Each color holds emotions and meaning. That’s why it is good to choose colors for your interview attire accordingly.

🟢 Consider wearing:

  • Gray — Shows how analytical, logical, or independent you are. Wearing it with confidence might tell the hiring manager that you can think for yourself.
  • White — This is a safe color to wear and it will show that you are organized.
  • Black — Represents exclusivity, sophistication, and leadership. It’s good for high-level interviews but it’s better to avoid it for entry-level jobs like customer service and retail.
  • Blue — Shows trust and confidence. It will tell the hiring manager that you are a true team player.

🟡 Wear with caution:

  • Red — It’s a great choice of color if you want to persuade someone. This is because it shows power, passion, and that you are energetic with a lot of courage and excitement. However, be careful with this color because it can also mean defiance and hostility.
  • Yellow, green, and purple — These vivid colors can tell that you are fun but they might not be the first colors you should consider for an interview because they don’t show feelings of trust or commitment.
  • Brown — It’s an earthy color that shows dependability and reliability. However, it’s an old-fashioned tone which means you should be careful how you wear it.

❌ Avoid:

  • Orange — This color is considered one of the most inappropriate ones because it can show you in a negative light, and make you seem unprofessional and overly confident.

3. Wearing a mix of colors.

When you are planning your outfit, if you want to wear different colors it’s important to know how to combine them properly.

For example:

  • Put on a dark suit if you are wearing a brightly colored shirt. It’ll look highly professional.
  • Combine muted gray clothing with a red jacket and plain shoes.
  • As for brighter clothes go for neutrals with just one bright accent item.

4. Choose the right accessories.

  • Hats: Don’t wear one, no matter what type of job interview you are going to. This means no fashion hats, baseball hats, or winter hats and hoodies.
  • Jewelry: For women, avoid putting a lot of bracelets on your arms and avoid dangling earrings. Watches and wedding bands are ok for men but nothing more.
  • Belts: Wear a belt if it goes with your outfit, like if your slacks or pants have belt loops. It should match the outfit you are wearing or your bag and shoes.
  • Shoes: It’s better to stay away from casual shoes like sneakers and flip-slops. Also, avoid platform shoes and high heels. Instead, if you are a woman, go for neutral colored closed-toe pumps, and if you are a man go for lace-up or slip-on shoes.

  • Makeup and hair: When it comes to job interviews less makeup and hair is more. Don’t overdo it. Your hairstyle should be simple without any big hair clips or scrunchies.
  • Nails: Keep your nails medium-length or short and avoid bright nail polish. The interviewer shouldn’t notice your nails at all.
  • Cologne and perfume: Just like for your outfit, you should be conservative with the cologne or perfume. There are people who are more sensitive to smell. Actually, scent is our strongest sense and your regular cologne or perfume might remind the interviewer of their past relationships, so don’t overdo it.
  • Purse and portfolio: These are great accessories because you can keep extra copies of your resume as well as a list of references in them. It’s better to consider a small briefcase or a larger purse that you can keep all your belongings in and plus what you will need for the interview. Stick to more neutral colors.
  • Coats: If it’s an option it’s better to leave your coat in your car. It’s easier compared to hanging up the coat and retrieving it after you finish with your interview. If you can’t, then go for a wool coat and avoid a ski parka.
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