What to Wear to an Interview

So, you’ve prepared a stellar CV, conducted thorough research about the company/team you’re looking to join, and might have even had the chance to do some a little bit of digging about your interviewer. Great job. There’s only one thing left to do; figuring out what to wear.
What to wear to an interview? Should you go formal, business casual, or smart casual? Should you go for specific colors? And are there certain outfits you should avoid?
All of these questions and more will be addressed in this post.

What Should You Wear to an Interview?

Surveys focused on business interviews found that 33% of interviewers decide if they'll be hiring the interviewee or not during the first 90 seconds of the interview.
To make this decision, employers consider two things, body language and—you guessed it—the employee’s attire.
With that in mind, it’s important that you know exactly what to wear to a job interview so you can leave a positive impression on the interviewer.

Formal, Business Casual, or Smart Casual

An important impression that you should aim to give off to your employer is that you’re a perfect fit for the team.
You probably got a good sense of the company’s culture through your research, so you need to plan your interview outfit with the company’s environment in mind.
When applying to a corporate job you're better off keeping your outfit formal. This translates to a suit and tie for men. If you're a woman, you're presented with more choices, including a suit and a tailored skirt paired with a blazer.
If the dress code is business casual, as with some startups, you can lose the blazer and tie. You might want to start adding knitwear to your outfit for some pattern and texture.
Don't reach out for your favorite pair of jeans just yet.
If you’re applying for a summer job at a camp or resort, for instance, smart casual would be the best bet.
In this case, a fitting, well-tailored pair of jeans would be a valuable piece of attire. A t-shirt or a button-down would be good to pair with your jeans. A blazer would work as well.
If you're in doubt regarding the appropriate dress code for the job, it’s generally best to dress up rather than dress down.
Outfit Ideas for Women
Women’s fashion has always been known for being diverse and dynamic. This diversity ensures that you’re never left without new office outfit ideas.
However, it might be overwhelming to choose between all the options out there. We’ve gathered the most prominent ensembles for that reason.
Here are a few ideas:
  • A navy blue blazer is a versatile piece that you’d be glad you bought. Whether you pair it with a button-down and dress pants or a dress for a formal ensemble, it’ll always up your attire game. You can even wear it with your favorite jeans for a more casual combo.
  • Button-down shirts are a valuable staple. You could brighten up your interview outfit by trying out button-down shirts of different colors and fabrics.
  • Look for blouses with interesting patterns or details. You can pair an interesting blouse with a solid colored pencil skirt or dress pants for a chic and refined ensemble.
  • Finally, whenever in doubt, opt for a tailored black dress that reaches your knees. You can finish off your look by wearing nude or black heels.
Outfit Ideas for Men
Men’s outfits aren’t as diverse compared to women’s fashion. However, you can build up some interesting and varied combinations if you pair things correctly.
Here are a few ideas to help you always look polished and refined:
  • Invest in a light-colored blazer and pants. This combination could be dressed up to be formal by wearing a tie or dressed down for a business casual dress code by skipping the tie.
  • Combining a sweater with a button-down shirt is an ideal way to upgrade your business casual look. You might want to invest in two to three shirts and two to three sweaters that all go well together. This way you’ve secured nine different outfits.
  • A navy blue blazer is your best friend. From formal to business casual ensembles, a blue blazer is sure to touch up your outfit.
  • Add a pop of color or pattern by wearing an interesting tie. Just steer clear of any quirky patterns or color combinations.
Interview Outfit Colors
You can always use the colors in your outfit to send subconscious signals to your interviewer, but you don’t want your employer to be distracted by your outfit to the point that they pay less attention to you.
Carefully chosen color combinations can help you project professionalism, confidence, as well as dominance.
  • Solid colors are generally recommended. They’re the least distracting, thus ensuring that interviewers focus more on your qualifications and body language. The ideal solid colors to wear are black, navy, and dark gray.
  • If you’d like to wear something with a pattern, you should opt for thin or subtle patterns that can easily pass as a solid color from afar. Thin stripes are a perfect example of an acceptable pattern.
  • Always choose muted or neutral colors over bright ones. Bright colors would overwhelm your employer with visual stimuli, making it harder for them to fully focus on your words.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, when planning your outfit for an online interview, make a mental note of the color of your background.
You would want to avoid wearing a color that is close to the color of your background so that you don’t blend with it. You should also avoid wearing bright, overwhelming colors.
Interview Accessories, Hairstyle, or Makeup
Your accessories, hairstyle, or makeup can complement or wreck your outfit. You should aim for a sleek, put-together, and minimal appearance.
Make sure you choose minimal accessories that add to your outfit. Make sure these accessories are of good quality.
Check whether piercings or tattoos are accepted at your company before the interview. When in doubt, it's safer to remove piercings and cover the tattoos.
Make sure that your hair and nails are clean and well kept. You should avoid any bright or flashy hair bands or nail polish colors.
Last but certainly not least, opt for a subtle yet long-lasting perfume or cologne.
Outfits to Avoid During an Interview
Generally, you're better off avoiding anything that could send off a negative impression about you. Here are some examples:
  • Outfit combos that are too casual. These include shorts and t-shirts. By showing up to an interview dressed in such attire, you give off the idea that you haven't spent enough time preparing your outfit and thus aren't keen on the job.
  • Poorly fitting, wrinkled, or stained attire. You want your outfit to scream neat and well put together.
  • Bright colors and too many patterns. This would overwhelm the interviewer with sensory stimuli and make it harder for them to focus on your words and qualifications.
  • Inappropriately revealing clothes. It’s very important to make sure your interview outfit is modest and classy.


Considering the vast number of applicants that an interviewer might see in a day, starting your interview with a good impression would give you a much-needed push. And since your outfit is one of the first things to catch your employer’s eye, it can literally make or break your interview process.
Now that you’ve gone through our article highlighting what to wear and what not to wear to an interview, you should be ready to dress to impress.