When you’re trying to make a good first impression, the color of your outfit can be the difference between success and failure. It’s important to choose a color that matches your personality and conveys confidence, but keep in mind that some colors aren’t appropriate for certain settings. Here are some general rules for what color to wear for an interview:
The color of the suit you wear to an interview is an important consideration. It should reflect your personality, but also be appropriate for the job. Research has shown that most people are perceived as more attractive when wearing red. If you wear a red suit for an interview, you will stand out among other candidates, and may start on top in your interviewer’s mind.
Best Colors To Wear to a Job Interview
Related: Business Formal vs. Business Casual: What to Wear to an Interview
How do you dress for an interview? And how does business casual look different than business formal? Get answers to these questions and more tips on business attire.
If you’re preparing for an interview, you should put some thought into the colors of the clothing you plan to wear. Colors have meaning and convey emotion and you want to ensure you’re sending the right message to the interviewer. Learning about the meaning behind colors can help you decide which colors are most appropriate for your upcoming interview.
In this article, we discuss which colors are best for interviews, how you can choose which are most appropriate for your interview and some bonus tips to help you decide what to wear.
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What colors to wear to an interview
The best colors to wear to an interview are ones that are neutral such as black, navy, gray and brown. White is also an appropriate neutral color for a shirt or blouse. Depending on your preference, you can also add a bit of color to an interview outfit to introduce your own personality.
How to choose colors for an interview
Here are some steps you can take to choose the right colors to wear for an interview:
1. Consider the color
Here are the meanings associated with some of the colors you may be considering for your interview attire:
This color represents leadership, sophistication and exclusivity. Many companies have chosen this color for their branding to communicate that they are the leader in their industry. Because this is a high-powered color, it’s best reserved for high-powered interviews such as those for top jobs or managerial positions. It’s not an ideal color for someone interviewing for a position in retail, customer service or entry level.
This color exudes confidence and trust. Blue communicates that you are a team player. Many hiring managers name this as one of the best colors that candidates can wear to an interview. The brighter shades are eye-catching while darker shades are good for conservative professional jobs.
The color communicates that you are independent, logical or analytical. When you wear it with confidence, it tells the hiring manager that you are an individual capable of thinking on your own. Gray also provides a solid foundation for adding small amounts of color such as a jewel-toned tie, shoes or bag.
Wearing white or beige is a safe color and can indicate to the hiring manager that you are highly organized.
This is an earthy color that communicates reliability and dependability. It’s also important to note that while it can convey solidity, it can also come across as old-fashioned, so be careful how you wear it.
This color conveys passion and power and is a good choice if you are trying to persuade someone. It has also been associated with energy, excitement and courage. Keep in mind that red can also convey hostility and defiance. You may want to consider the role you’re seeking, such as whether it’s a leadership position, before wearing this color.
Yellow, green, orange and purple
These colors can communicate that you’re fun. However, they may not be the best choice for an interview as they don’t invoke feelings of commitment and trust. Orange, in particular, is considered the most inappropriate color for an interview and can come across as overly confident and unprofessional.
2. Consider the mix
As you’re deciding what color to wear, it’s also important to consider what the color combination will be when you select multiple clothing items. For example, a dark suit with a brightly colored shirt can look highly professional. The same can be said for wearing muted gray clothing with plain shoes and a red jacket. If you do want bright clothing, consider wearing mostly neutrals with just one brightly colored accent item.
3. Consider your audience
Do your research and find out what attire is appropriate for the office. In general, for positions in management consulting, finance, investment banking or government, the recommendation is to wear a dark-colored suit. If the company’s dress code is business casual, you might mix pants or a skirt with a blazer to create a professional, polished look.
Tips to consider when picking colors
Here are some tips to you decide what colors to wear to an interview:
Choose solids over patterns
Because you generally want the interviewer to remember you, not your attire, it’s best to wear something that allows them to focus on your qualifications. By wearing solids, you ensure that you look professional and that your clothing isn’t a distraction. If you prefer to wear a pattern, it’s best to choose one that is small. The general rule is that if a pattern looks solid from across the room, it’s appropriate for an interview.
The dominant color of your outfit should be neutral
While small amounts of color, such as red, can convey authority and be appropriate for leadership positions, you should limit the amount of color. The primary color should always be a neutral color like navy, black, gray or brown. Brighter colors could be used as small accents only.
Consider your confidence
While color is an important consideration, you should also consider which items in your wardrobe give you the greatest amount of courage and conviction. The same applies to any special jewelry or good luck charms that you may wear or put in your pocket. If wearing—or carrying—something increases your level of confidence, you should consider including it.