Last Updated on 2022-08-29 by okiki Lydia
In the world of business, it’s important to dress for success. But what does that mean? For an informal interview, it might be tempting to just throw on your favorite jeans and a t-shirt. After all, you’re applying for a job that doesn’t require a suit or anything else formal.
But while it’s true that you don’t need to wear a suit or any other kind of formalwear to an informal interview, you still want to look professional and put-together. So what should you wear?
The short answer is: business casual attire—think collared shirts and slacks (or skirts/dresses). You can add some flair by wearing a tie or scarf if you’re comfortable with those accessories. Just make sure your clothes are clean and ironed, so they look crisp and professional—not sloppy or wrinkled!
What to wear to an informal interview
You’re here because you want to look your best—and that’s awesome.
We get it: job interviews can be intimidating, and you want to make sure you’re presenting your best self to potential employers. But how do you know what that is? And how do you make sure your outfit doesn’t send the wrong message?
We’ve got some tips for how to dress for an informal interview, so that whatever happens, people will see the real you.
You’ve got the job. Now what?
A lot of people think that once they get the job, it’s all over. But it doesn’t end there; you still need to show up to work and make sure that you’re presenting yourself in a way that will make your boss happy! And while there are some things that are just out of your control—your boss is going to notice if you smell like cheap perfume or if your clothes aren’t ironed—you can absolutely improve your chances of getting noticed by putting in a little extra effort.
In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on what to wear for an informal interview so that you can make sure everyone notices how great you look!
If you’re looking for the perfect outfit to wear to an interview, chances are you’ve been searching for hours, days, or even weeks. You’ve scoured Pinterest and Instagram, you’ve looked through every article on Reddit, and still—nothing.
But you’re not alone! It’s hard to find the right outfit when it comes to interviews: you need to be stylish enough to impress your potential employer but professional enough that they won’t feel like they have to dress up too.
The good news is that there are some rules of thumb that will help you find the right look in no time at all!
What to wear to an interview might seem like a simple question, but there are actually quite a few factors to consider. The way you dress for an interview will make a strong first impression on the person who has the power to hire or reject you, so it’s important that you get it right. In this post, we’ll be covering what to wear and why, as well as providing tips on how to make your look stand out in the best way possible.
There are a few things you need to remember when preparing for an interview. The first is to make sure you’re well-prepared. Have an idea of what the company does, and make sure your resume can speak to how your skills could help them achieve their goals.
Next, make sure you pick the right clothes for the occasion. It’s important that you look professional and put-together, but there are also some ways you can make yourself stand out in a positive way by dressing uniquely—but still professionally!
Finally, remember good posture! Good posture not only makes you look more confident, it also helps with breathing and circulation. If possible, try practicing good posture at home before the big day so that when it comes time for the interview, you’ll be prepared!
How you dress, what you say, and how you act all make up a part of your personal brand.
Your personal brand is more than just the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the way you speak. It’s also about how you treat others, how you conduct yourself in a professional setting, and how confident you are in your abilities.
In order to make sure that your personal brand is being portrayed accurately, it’s important to be aware of what people might see when they look at you or hear about you. When it comes to interviewing for jobs or internships, this means preparing for an interview ahead of time so that when it comes time for an interview with someone from the company, there’s nothing left to chance.
Generally, a job interview calls for you to wear professional, or business, attire. For men, this might mean a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie or a sweater and button-down. For women, a blouse and dress pants or a statement dress is appropriate.
What’s the best outfit to wear to a job interview? The answer will vary depending on the type of job and company you’re interviewing with. You always want to dress to make the best impression, but the outfit you choose depends on whether you’re interviewing at a company with a formal dress code, at a casual startup, or for an informal summer job or internship.1
Dressing appropriately is important because the first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing.
If you wear a suit to an interview for a camp counselor, or a T-shirt to an interview at a bank, it’ll send the message that you don’t truly understand what’s involved in the role.
Find out what to wear (and what not to wear) for interviews at every type of company:
Professional / Business Interview Attire
Business man and woman using a digital tablet and having a meeting, coworkers
Lisa5201 / Getty Images
Generally, a job interview calls for you to wear professional, or business, attire.
For men, this might mean a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie or a sweater and button-down. For women, a blouse and dress pants or a statement dress is appropriate.
You can also incorporate some modern style trends into your outfit. All interviewees should consider color when selecting an interview outfit and avoid wearing anything too bright or flashy that will distract the hiring manager.
Interview Outfits for Women
Woman leaving job interview
Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images
The more important thing to consider when you’re dressing for a job interview is that you should look professional and polished regardless of the type of position you’re seeking.
Even though your interview attire depends on the role you’re applying for, no matter what the position, you should go to the interview looking neat, tidy, and well-dressed. Here’s how to make the best impression at every interview you go on.
Interview Outfits for Men
Businesswoman welcoming man to meeting
Morsa Images / Getty Images
It can be challenging to put a professional interview outfit together. Here are some basic tips for men on how to dress for an interview, including what colors to wear, whether to wear a tie (and what kind), and more.
Non-Professional / Business Casual Interview Attire
Group of business people working on computer
Pando Hall / Getty Images
If you have a job interview in a more informal work environment, you might wear a business casual outfit. Business casual outfits are less formal than a suit, but they are also more professional and polished than, say, a T-shirt and shorts or a sundress and sandals.
Of course, make sure you know the dress code before you assume that business casual is acceptable. If you aren’t sure, call the office and ask the administrative coordinator, or contact the person who scheduled the interview and ask them for advice.
Always dress a bit more professionally than the average employee at the company. If everyone is wearing shorts and T-shirts, for example, you might wear khakis and a Polo shirt or button-down.
Casual Interview Attire
Georgijevic / Getty Images
If you have an interview at a startup company, nix the head-to-toe formal business attire. You want to look appropriate and professional, but not too formal.
Rather than showing up in a black suit and dress shoes, opt for something that is relaxed but still presentable: relaxed-fit khakis, dark-wash jeans, and a nice top, for example.
College Job Interview Attire
Delmaine Donson / Getty Images
Make sure to dress professionally when interviewing for a professional job or internship as a college student. It’ll show that you’ll know how to behave in a professional manner if you’re hired.
Less formal attire is acceptable when interviewing for campus jobs and more informal workplace jobs. However, you still want to dress professionally for most positions, even if they are entry-level. Review these tips for college women and college men on what to wear to an interview, as well as what to wear for an interview for an internship.
Internship Interview Attire
Young woman using a smartphone
Geri Lavrov / Getty Images
Internships are an important part of career development, and as with any job, acing your interview is one part of getting the position you want. Making a great first impression–coming across as polished, professional, and attentive–is important when it comes to your internship search.
Here’s what to wear for an internship interview based on whether the company environment is formal, casual, or somewhere in between.
Summer Job Interview Attire
Restaurant manager reading resume and interviewing young woman for job
Steve Debenport / Getty Images
Are you interviewing for a summer job? Typically, these jobs are more casual and do not require professional attire. You can skip the suit. However, you still want to look polished and professional.
Here are tips on what to wear to make the best impression, including interview attire for male and female applicants, what to bring with you, and how to dress for a casual interview.
Warm Weather Interview Attire
Two women at a job interview
Tim Kitchen / Stone / Getty Images
Do you have an interview in the hot summer months? There are a few things you can do to look professional but still feel cool in a job interview.
Review tips on what to wear for a warm-weather interview depending on the work environment and type of job.
How to Choose Interview Accessories
Business woman looking over papers
eclipse_images / Getty Images
When wearing accessories to an interview, less is more. Choose accessories that will enhance your interview attire, not overwhelm it.
Best Job Interview Hairstyles
Smiling senior businesswoman in discussion with client in office conference room
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
There are lots of ways to style your hair for a job interview. While some options are trendy and others are more traditional, remember that your hairstyle should not distract the employer. You will want your hair to be professional and polished, like your entire outfit.
Here are the best job interview hairstyles for short, medium-length, and long hair.
How to Do Your Makeup for a Job Interview
Woman holding cell phone applying lipstick
JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images
Like your hair, your makeup should not distract the interviewer. This is not the time for bold lipstick or a glittery eye shadow. Instead, keep makeup subtle and unobtrusive.
Check out these interview makeup do’s and don’ts before you get ready to interview.
What Not to Wear on an Interview
Business woman interviewing another woman
Photo-Biotic / Getty Images
When you are dressing for a job interview, image really is everything (or most of it). An unprofessional outfit can distract an interviewer from seeing your great qualities.
Here’s what not to wear when you are interviewing for a new job.
What to wear to an interview 2021
What to wear to an interview is a question that many job seekers ask. It’s important to remember that the way you dress for an interview doesn’t necessarily affect whether or not you get the job, but it can make a difference in how well you do.
You want to dress professionally, but you also want to make sure that your clothes are comfortable enough that they don’t distract from your performance during the interview. Here are some tips on what to wear and what not to wear when going on a job interview:
What to wear to an interview is one of the most common questions people have when they’re preparing for a job interview. It’s important to dress appropriately and professional, but it’s also important not to overdress or underdress.
When you’re interviewing for a job, you’re meeting with people who could potentially become your coworkers and lifelong friends. You want to present yourself in the best possible light—and that means dressing for the occasion.
After all, you don’t want to be the one person who shows up to an interview in jeans and a t-shirt. You want to be prepared and ready to wow them!
In formal environments, appropriate attire might include a tailored suit, button-down shirt with tie, blouse, lace-up dress shoes or close-toed pumps, and stockings or dress socks.
Select your interview outfit by considering today’s workplace norms, an employers’ dress code, and the location of the interview.
[Featured image] A woman in a dark blue suit and white button-down shakes hands with another woman.
What to wear to an interview
When choosing interview attire, there are some important considerations:
Making a good impression on a potential employer
Feeling comfortable and confident during the interview experience
Dressing appropriately for the job you’re applying for: Is the employer’s dress code casual or formal, especially as office norms shift in the wake of COVID-19?
Dressing for the location: onsite at the company’s headquarters or via Zoom
Keep in mind that your priorities are to present your qualifications and make empowered career decisions. That means your attire should complement rather than distract from the real focus of your interview. Using our simple process below, you’ll choose your outfit confidently, without having to spend a lot of time and energy on this aspect of interviewing.
3 steps for choosing your interview attire
Follow these steps to select your interview attire, while freeing up mental energy to conduct the rest of your interview preparation.
- Consider common rules of thumb.
Dress one step up from what those in the workplace environment wear. For example, if a company’s leaders and employees typically dress in jeans and T-shirts, your one step up might include a pair of non-denim pants and a tucked-in shirt.
Prioritize feeling comfortable and confident. Even if you’ll be wearing a tie and button-down shirt, make sure your garments do not restrict movement or irritate your skin so that you can focus on the conversation with a potential employer. You may even choose to wear something you already know feels comfortable, rather than investing in a new set of garments.
Make sure every garment in your ensemble is clean, free of wrinkles or tears, and properly fitting. These details alone can polish your look.
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- Research the company’s dress code.
In conjunction with dressing one step up, you’ll want to get a clear sense of the company’s environment, culture, dress code, or workplace attire expectations. You can find this out by:
Calling or emailing your interview point of contact and asking them about the company’s dress code. Here are examples of questions you could ask: “How do people who work here usually dress?” or “How would you dress for an interview with this company?”
Perusing the company’s website and social media profiles for images that offer clues about the typical attire
Visiting the company’s location (if convenient) and observing firsthand how employees dress
Once you find out the company’s dress code, consider the examples in these four workplace attire categories:
[Image] A woman wearing glasses and a black suit holds a tan folder.
In formal environments, appropriate attire might include a tailored suit, button-down shirt with tie, blouse, lace-up dress shoes or close-toed pumps, and stockings or dress socks.
[Image] A man in a black button-up shirt stands in front of a window.
In casual environments, such as a tech company or start-up, you might see staff members wearing a broad range of attire, from khaki pants and button-downs to jeans, T-shirts, and hoodies. For your interview, you might choose an outfit that is more on the business casual side, rather than something very casual. Business casual attire typically blends some elements of formal and casual attire and can include non-denim pants, blazers, button-downs, and dresses and skirts that aren’t part of a business suit.
[Image] A woman in a patterned dress stands in front of a desk.
In creative environments, such as a design company, art gallery, or a clothing boutique, you might find a more fashion-forward culture of dressing. In this case, you might choose garments and accessories that reflect the latest trends and resemble the styles worn by employees and clientele.
[Image] A woman in a blazer and button-down shirt sits at a conference table.
In industry-specific environments, dress codes can differ significantly between interviews and that which is worn on the job. For example, for a personal trainer interview at a fitness studio, you might wear business casual for the face-to-face part of the interview and athletic attire for a physical demonstration of your training approach. For an interview at a medical facility, you might opt for business casual or a step above, even if you’ll be wearing scrubs or a lab coat on the job.
- Dress for the interview location.
Interviewing on Zoom or at a company’s headquarters may determine the garments you choose. For interviewing on Zoom, choose colors that contrast with your background, so that you stand out, but opt for colors that don’t clash too much. For interviewing onsite, keep your physical comfort in mind. For example, air-conditioned office spaces can feel frigid after a short period of time of being there, while fitness facilities may feel balmy. For an outdoor location, you may need a durable pair of shoes or a weather-proof coat.
A quick overview of the unwritten rules for dressing for job interviews.
The Art of the Job Interview
What not to wear to an interview
While you have some leeway in choosing your interview attire, there are some things to avoid:
Heavy perfume or cologne
A lot of accessories
Wrinkled, torn, or ill-fitting garments
Garments that feel uncomfortable, restrictive, or completely at odds with who you are
An outfit that doesn’t match the brand or culture of the company you want to work for
A combination of radically different patterns, colors, textures
Flip flops or athletic shoes
Need more inspiration? Search image-based sites like Pinterest and Instagram for visual examples of appropriate interview attire.
Next steps for getting more out of your interview experience
Once you’ve settled on your interview attire, remember to reserve plenty of time to prepare thoroughly for the conversation you’ll have with the prospective employer. This can include researching the company, crafting STAR method stories about your professional experience, and preparing questions to ask the interviewer.
As you continue your job search, it’s a good idea to build strong interviewing skills to draw upon along your career path.
Set yourself up for success in your next interview with The Art of the Job Interview from Big Interview on Coursera. Learn more about non-verbal communication, mistakes to avoid, how to analyze job descriptions, and more.