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What To Wear To An Interview (Expert’s Guide)

We will enlighten you with our advice on how to dress for a job interview. We also list things you should avoid to help you out.

By 

Synkdup Editorial Team   

|  19 January 2024

What To Wear To An Interview

Getting a job is a major challenge that nearly all of us have to face at some point in our lives. But landing the perfect job is not just about what you can do. You also have to find the right organization where you fit. You also need to be able to showcase your skills confidently.

One of the ways your skills can be put on display effectively is by having a good job interview. But getting a job interview right is about more than just confidence and having the skill. An overlooked part of job interviews for many candidates is getting the dress code right.

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Of course, merely wearing the right outfit won’t guarantee you the job, but it can leave a good impression and reflect your attitude towards work. Not just with job interviews but generally too, knowing when to dress formally or informally is a huge plus.

Before The Job interview…

There are a few things you should always take care of before heading for the interview that will make things easier. Let’s take a look at them:

Having Everything Ready The Night Before

The last thing you want is to realize you are missing something important at the last moment. This can often affect how you dress, as you may not have time to pick the right clothes. Also, even if you wear the right outfit, you may still look untidy because you got dressed in a hurry.

Also, make sure you have all the important documents ready with you. You may know how to write an effective resume, but if you can’t find it at the right moment, what is the use? It also helps to carry a pen with you, as you may need to fill out forms there.

Find Out About The Company's Culture

If the company is well known, then this step can be easy, as there may be lots of information available online for you. However, for companies that are not so famous or household names, this may be a bit harder.

Pro Tip: Go through the company’s social media handles before the interview. They often post photos of their offices with employees working in them and other things. You can take note of their dress codes there and the general vibe of the organization. It can help you understand whether things work calmly or if it is a high-speed work environment.

It can also help you know the latest happenings within the firm, which may help you in the job interview. If you know these things during the interview, it indicates that you have done your homework and are seriously interested in joining the company.

Be Yourself

Whether the occasion demands formal or casual clothing, it is important to make sure you add a touch of yourself and your personality to your outfit. In terms of how you handle the interview and how you dress, always be yourself. Trying to be someone you are not, either in your personality or in your dressing style, is never good in the long run.

Tattoos

A tattoo may not be the end of the road, and more employers are willing to accept tattoos now. However, it is best to do your research beforehand. If the tattoo is small and not very noticeable, some employers may ignore it. Do not try to hide it, as it is better to be upfront and honest about it from the start than hide it and have them find out later.

Perfumes/Colognes

There is no harm in spraying them on before heading out for a job interview. However, make sure they are in small or moderate quantities. Excessive amounts of perfume or cologne scent are not good for any social situation. You could also avoid them altogether, if you please.

Interview Attire For Women

For female candidates, there are a wide variety of options when it comes to clothing, depending on the organizational culture. Keep the following guidelines in mind:

For Formal Dress Codes

If the company has a more formal culture, there is less scope for casual dressing styles, so wearing a dress shirt with a stiff collar is a good option. You can keep the collar button open for comfort if you are not wearing a suit and tie.

For bottoms, you can use slack pants, which are common in formal settings. Another option can be a nice knee-level formal skirt, which is becoming more common these days. As for color combinations, a white shirt with dark-colored bottoms is the most common. You could add a dark-colored blazer too.

However, there is no restriction on color combinations, and they do not do much apart from adding to the visual appeal of the outfit. As long as it is formal and you are well-dressed, you need not waste too much time on the colors.

For Informal Dress Codes

In modern times, a lot more companies are ditching formal dress codes and permitting more casual ones. If you are sure that casual clothing is accepted in the office, then you have a greater range of options.

You can wear a T-shirt either a full sleeve or a short sleeve. Full sleeves are preferable for cold weather and short sleeves for warmer temperatures. T-shirts are typically the best option for casual dress codes. You can add a sweater or jacket if it’s cold to make a good casual interview outfit.

When it comes to bottoms, wearing full-length clothing is best. Go for trousers, as they are a comfortable and easily available option. You could also try a long skirt, but go for one with a looser and lighter fabric so there is more room to move your legs. This will make it easier to walk, too.

Make-Up

Remember to make sure you use only appropriate amounts of make-up, if any. Too much make-up wastes a lot of time, which could be used to prepare for the interview in other ways. You can use it if you choose, but it's best to keep it basic.

Interview Attire For Men

Men have slightly fewer options than women, but they can still dress well if they plan accordingly. Keep the following guidelines in mind:

For Formal Dress Codes

Men can also opt for dress shirts and slack pants when going for an interview. A nice suit and tie are also a good option, as they look classy but are not a must. You can also keep your collar button open if you decide not to go with the suit and tie or if the weather is warm.

For Informal Dress Codes

Once again, a T-shirt is a good choice for more casual interview outfits. You could switch between short and long sleeves, depending on the weather. You could opt for a jacket or sweater if it is too cold. You can’t go wrong with jeans in an informal office culture. As mentioned earlier, wear bottoms that keep you fully covered; otherwise, it may seem too casual.

What Not To Wear To An Interview

Just as important as knowing what to wear is knowing what to avoid. Not enough emphasis has been paid to this aspect. Dressing inappropriately for the job interview may not be a death sentence to your hopes of joining, but it is best avoided.

Low-Neckline Tops (Women)

One should avoid such outfits when looking for a job unless it is in the fashion or entertainment industries. Even in those industries, it is not a must. As for the corporate sector, even in a more informal setting, it is best avoided.

Sleeveless

This one applies to both men and women. Wearing a sleeveless shirt or top is best avoided in an office environment. They are fine for parties, the gym, or when with friends, but not the best for an office. This applies even to more informal workplaces.

Ripped Jeans

They may be a popular fashion trend at present, but not when it comes to the workplace. They are fine for hanging out at the mall, but both male and female candidates should try to avoid them for interviews.

Casual Skirts Or Casual Shorts

For women, it is best to wear bottoms that are properly covered for a job interview. Casual shorts or short skirts are not usually worn in offices, even in informal settings. A formal skirt with a formal shirt may be accepted, but casual ones are best avoided in the corporate world.

Bonus Tips for Job Interview Attire

Here we list some extra dressing tips to consider when going for a job interview. These additional details can give you some more help when it comes to getting your outfit for the interview right.

Comfort Or Style

This is a dilemma that applies to dressing up for pretty much any occasion, not just job interviews. Many times, people choose clothes that are more fashionable at the expense of comfort.

This is not a good practice, especially not for a job interview. You don’t want to feel awkward or any other type of discomfort while giving the interview. Make sure you are completely present in the interview and not affected by anything else.

Footwear

An often overlooked aspect of dressing, it is nonetheless very important. Make sure you wear formal shoes if everything else you are wearing is formal too. If you are dressed casually, opt for casual footwear too. It is best to avoid wearing sandals or other such items.

When In Doubt…

If you are not sure whether the office culture at the new firm is informal or formal, it is safer to dress formally. Dress formally for an interview with a company; having a casual dress code is less disastrous than doing things the other way around.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I wear a hat to an interview for a job?

Ans: Although there is nothing against it, it does look a tad unprofessional and is best avoided. If it is very sunny, you can wear it outside, but take it off during the interview. You can wear it again while leaving.

Q: Should I wear heels to an interview for a job?

Ans: You can, but it's best to go for those that are of medium height. This is because the high ones may be a bit uncomfortable, which can divert your mind during the interview. If you have other alternatives, you may avoid them altogether.

Q: Can I wear a striped shirt to an interview for a job?

Ans: Yes, there is nothing wrong with it. Although most people prefer plain white or plain-colored formal shirts, those with stripes are catching on and are preferred by many.

Q: Can you wear a turtleneck to an interview for a job?

Ans: No, usually they are not accepted for job interviews. Instead, go for a typical suit and tie, as they offer a similar feel but are more suited to interviews.

Q: Can I wear leggings to an interview for a job?

Ans: No, they are a total no-no for interviews. Save them for the gym or yoga classes! The same applies to most athletic casual outfits.

Q: Can you wear open-toed shoes to an interview for a job?

Ans: No, they are usually best avoided. Many people ignore footwear when it comes to dressing for a job interview. However, it is important, so it is best to keep it nice and formal. Preferably, go for dark-shaded colors like black or brown when it comes to footwear.

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