By Natalie Rodgers
The saying “dress for the job you want” is still crucial advice when it comes to an interview. Even if you have the desired attributes and skillsets to your employer, wearing a sloppy or inappropriate outfit can greatly decrease your chances of being hired and being taken seriously. Picking the right outfit, however, will not only show your potential employer that you care for yourself and the occasion, but will give you the confidence to proceed through the interview as your best self.
Here’s what you need to know when it comes to dressing for your interview day:
Do Your Research
Look into what kind of company you are interviewing with and what kind of clothing the day-to-day job would consist of. Depending on these answers, you may need to dress up or down a little more than your original outfit plans. If the workplace you’re applying to has a more relaxed environment, such as a startup company, you’ll probably be okay with dressing in something a little more business casual. However, if you’re applying to a big firm that requires a suit and tie, you might want to take on a more business formal wardrobe.
If you’re ever in doubt, it’s always a better idea to dress up then to dress down. Business casual is also a safe bet for most workplaces.
The Types of Dress
Before you do anything, you’ll want to know about the different kinds of professional dress, especially if a certain one has been requested by your interviewer. The types of outfits include:
Casual: If you are in a rare instance where casual apparel is acceptable for the workplace, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s acceptable to wear a graphic t-shirt and a pair of shorts to your meeting. For a professional, yet casual look, you’ll want to wear something that is comfortable, but would also be acceptable to wear at a nice restaurant. For a professional casual interview, here are some fashion pieces you can pair together:
- A button up shirt, polo or blouse free of logos, words and pictures. Patterns and design are okay, but make sure they aren’t too distracting
- Dark jeans or pants
- A knee length skirt or dress without patterns or designs that are too distracting
- A plain colored cardigan
- Clean closed-toe shoes
Business Casual: Business casual is one of the most common types of dress for an interview and a safe bet for just about any workplace interview. These outfits should be more dressed up than the “casual” outfit, but not fancy enough to wear to a wedding or formal event. Fashion items for a business causal outfit consist of:
- Dark dress pants, slacks or pencil skirts
- Button up shirts or blouses without logo, design and very limited pattern
Business Formal: Business formal is another step up from business causal and are typically outfits that can also be worn to events or places with more prestige. Law firms and many government positions usually include this kind of dress. The attire consists of:
- Dark-colored, full suits
- Suit pants or slim-fit, knee-length skirts
- Blouses or button-down shirts accompanied by a jacket that preferably matches the bottom
- Tailored dresses accompanied with a nice jacket
- A tie
- Fancier closed toe shoes such as loafers, heels, flats or oxfords
As for makeup and accessories, both are acceptable and even encouraged for interviews, but you’ll want to make sure to keep both as simple as possible. Going for a more “natural” look is best for makeup and wearing jewelry that isn’t too bulky, noisy, distracting or inhibitive of normal body movements is best. You want to make sure that your focus is on the interview and not the discomfort of your clothes or accessories.
Clean it Up!
Before you throw on your big interview outfit, make sure that everything is clean and looks as pristine as possible. Make sure to iron your clothes (if needed), hang them up to prevent further wrinkling, free them of tags or loose strings and, above all, eliminate any negative odors.
Remember, your outfit should make you confident and compliment the experience and skillset that you know will benefit this workplace. Now go get them!
Sources: Indeed, The Balance Money