With the job market booming, there's never been a better time to find a new profession. Securing a job interview and preparing for your job interview are the first steps to success, but without appropriate outfits, you may miss out on a great opportunity.
Getting your clothing right ensures you're seen as a professional person who can be trusted to do the job well. So let's take a closer look at how to assemble a job-winning interview outfit.
3 key points to consider when choosing your job interview outfit
Making a good first impression is important, and the right job interview outfit can help secure you a victory. It's more challenging than just throwing something on and hoping for the best.
There are rules to follow, some of which apply to all interviews and others which need adapting according to the individual workplace.
1. Understanding the company's culture
No two companies are the same, and researching their specific requirements is vital. The hiring manager will hopefully let you know whether it's a formal or informal interview.
A formal interview doesn't necessarily require a full suit, shirt, and tie. Still, neither does an informal interview give you permission to wear your chilling-at-home comfies.
You can assess the culture by asking upfront about the dress code. A hiring manager won't be put off by an eager candidate who asks questions. Alternatively, you may be able to find valuable information from images on the company's website or social media pages.
Companies such as law firms, banks, and educational institutions are more likely to wear formal outfits than those in other sectors.
Remember that not all roles within the same company are equal when it comes to the dress code. It's important to dress according to the specific job you're applying for. If you'd be meeting clients regularly, smarter is better.
Doing research and asking questions up front is always best practice.
2. Clean and well-ironed clothes
Nothing screams unprofessionalism like creased clothing. Taking pride in your appearance is important, and looking poorly groomed will affect your chances of being taken seriously.
If you feel confident in yourself, chances are you'll take pride in other areas of your life too, which is desirable for employers. Failing to have clean and well-ironed clothes points to a lack of maturity, which will be marked against you.
If you turn up to the interview in a stain-covered shirt, the company won't trust you to uphold their high standards. While a slight crease or stain doesn't seem that important, it will act as a distraction and will almost always jeopardize your chance of getting the job.
3. Appropriate dress shoes
Whether the company you're being interviewed is formal or casual, wearing flip-flops is never appropriate. Your shoes are important and can significantly complement or ruin an interview outfit.
Leather and suede are all good materials to choose from. However, we advise you to keep it safe with leather. Colors can be black and brown, but the key is to match these correctly with the rest of your ensemble.
If boots are more your style, consider wearing a pair of sleek cap-toe dress boots or leather Chelsea boots.
What attire to wear to a job interview: 4 examples
Less is more when it comes to job interview clothes. For example, a subtly patterned tie is a good choice. On the other hand, choosing daring colors is a big no-no. While you might think you're standing out for all the right reasons, chances are that you're drawing attention away from your professionalism and skill set.
Adding too much flair is a definite faux pas in a job interview. Instead, stick to neutral colors and simple accessories, so your work experience does all the talking.
1. Blazer for business casual
A dark-colored blazer is an appropriate choice in almost every business casual interview scenario. A charcoal gray or navy blue blazer is professional and will set the right impression.
Consider patterns such as windowpane and herringbone as an option. But remember, nothing too loud. Steer away from unstructured blazers and hold them for your night-outs.
Always remember to wear a full suit if your job interview is more on the formal end of the spectrum. If not, and business casual is more the vibe, you can wear separates. We recommend a navy blue blazer with dark gray pants and brown leather shoes for a refined look.
2. Sweater over a button-down shirt
Tech businesses, or start-up companies, are great spaces where a more casual approach is recommended. While still being sophisticated, these outfits show a creative, casual side ideal for those environments.
The button-down shirt is preferred to be a lighter shade, meaning that you can opt for a darker-color sweater.
Carefully choose the sweater style and fabric. Forget about the chunky knit sweaters you wear when running errands in town.
Instead, we highly recommend going for a simple wool crew neck. If you want to wear a tie, consider v-neck sweaters.
3. Dark colored dress pants
Matching a light shirt with light pants isn't a bold enough look for a job interview, meaning you'll be gobbled up by the competition. Dark-colored pants provide the right amount of contrast to perfectly complement your other clothing items.
Wool and cotton slacks are the most appropriate materials, with chinos being acceptable at more casual workplaces.
4. Dress shirts with solid colors & subtle patterns
Being too eccentric with your outfit is never the right call at a job interview. You should always opt for a solid color dress shirt to ensure a polished and professional look.
White is the most popular choice, but other light shades are appropriate too. Light pink and light blue work well and are suitable for those looking to stray from the classic white shirt.
A tie is a great way to add excitement to your job interview outfit without going too far. Opt for a simple pattern and color that matches the rest of your ensemble.
A leather or silver watch compliments an interview outfit. A pocket square is a good idea, but ensure that this doesn't conflict with your tie or include loud colors.
A leather bag is the correct choice and is perfect for transporting your portfolio to the interview.
Business formal, business casual, or professional smart casual: options to consider
Business formal job interview outfits
A navy suit is well paired with a light blue shirt and a tie in a darker shade. Works well with a blue striped shirt too. This formal outfit is super professional for industries where client relations are important.
To take this outfit to the next level, wear black cap-toe dress shoes and consider adding a white pocket square.
A charcoal suit matches well with brown garments. Thus, a brown tie and brown leather shoes will greatly complement and offer the wearer a confident look guaranteed for success.
It's a sophisticated and strong ensemble.
Purple is associated with wisdom and bravery, so it is a fantastic choice for a tie color. However, it's paramount to not choose a bright and showy shade. It can clash with your whole outfit.
Dark shades of brown shoes would tie this outfit together. We recommend mahogany or espresso oxfords. Black socks are best practice with this most formal of outfits.
Business casual job interview outfits
Wear a white button-up shirt under a light gray woolen sweater and a navy windowpane blazer. You can wear a tie if you want to, but unbuttoning the top two buttons also works. Tuck in your dress shirt for a tidy appearance.
The slacks with this outfit should be dark but don't have to exactly match the jacket in either material or shade. A brown leather watch and brown suede Chelsea boots finish off this excellent business casual look.
Another business casual look would be a pair of light brown pants with a light blue shirt and a red-navy striped tie. Again, dark shoes work really well here to offset the contrast.
The shirt should be tucked into the slacks, and a belt should be worn. Wearing a watch isn't necessary, but it is an excellent accessory - as is a tie pin.
For a chic business casual outfit, wear a white dress shirt with black dress pants and a black leather belt. If you're wearing a silver, gold, or rose gold watch, try to match the belt buckle to it for an elevated look.
This great business casual ensemble is ideal for retail or hospitality interviews.
Professional smart casual job interview outfits
Chinos are ideal for workplaces with a more casual atmosphere and the best fit for a start-up job interview. They successfully retain the right amount of professionalism and will demonstrate that you've accurately researched the company's culture.
A great outfit includes a pair of navy chinos, a white long-sleeve shirt, and a charcoal or tan blazer. This outfit should be matched with more casual shoes like loafers or sneakers.
Alternatively, you could wear a pair of light brown khaki pants with a matching jacket. To lower the formality of this look, wear a patterned long-sleeve shirt, but make sure the pattern is subtle such as white and black checks.
A solid color brown tie works really well with this look. Unfortunately, sneakers are rarely suitable for a job interview. Still, if you think you'd get it right by wearing them, this would be an excellent opportunity to sport minimalistic low-tops.
For the third option, we suggest a white polo shirt married with blue chinos. This will strike the perfect balance of being polished while being casual and comfortable.
A brown leather belt matched with a pair of brown leather loafers will add a touch of formality to this outfit.
What to Avoid Wearing for Your Job Interview
There are a few things you should definitely avoid wearing to a job interview.
For a start, avoid wearing jeans. Opting for a plain or graphic t-shirt isn't professional and is too casual, even for more laid-back workplaces.
Athletic wear is for the gym, while flop-flops and sandals should be reserved for your vacation and not on display in the interview room.
Likewise, if anything you plan to wear is damaged, it shouldn't be worn to the job interview. Beyond the clothes, you should also avoid using too much cologne and trim your facial hair.