You finally got the interview for your dream job, but what should you wear? Unless it’s a job in the fashion industry, you won’t get hired for dressing well. What’s important is to seamlessly blend with your interviewer’s expectations for your appearance, so they can focus on what they say and who you are.
Be formal (no matter what the regular dress code is at the job). The only exceptions to this are if you are interviewing somewhere that they tell you specifically what to wear for your own safety (such as at a factory). For most interviews, a suit is the appropriate attire. A blue suit works the best and it gives you a lot of versatility in terms of shirt and tie choice. Light or dark grey are also good conservative choices. A three button suit will look good on almost anyone, while a 2 button will give a slightly taller/slimmer appearance.
Choose a solid white or blue shirt. You don’t want to look too flashy with a brightly colored shirt, and striped (and especially patterned) shirts are a little less formal. A straight collar is also more formal than a button down. Choose one with a medium spread. (If you have a particularly large neck, a wider collar may look better.)
Wear a tie in a dark, conservative color (never pink). Stick to solids, rep (diagonal striped) or small patterned ties. A red tie will give the friendly politician look, while blue ties give a more serious FBI agent look. Both are acceptable.
Wear a belt or suspenders, but never both at the same time. It’s redundant. If you’re a suspenders kind of guy, get buttons sewed into your trousers and wear suspenders that button on, not the cheap clip-on kind. They will make you look cheap.
Show off your shoes. A pair of black oxfords or cap-toed oxfords is the best choice. Get ones that don’t have super thick soles so they won’t look like boots.
Wear solid, vertically ribbed socks in black or grey. Get socks that are long enough to cover your legs when you sit down in your suit. Socks should always match the color of your trousers.
- A nice watch rounds out the outfit. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a Tag Heuer. Fossil and Timex make nice enough looking watches that can fool almost anyone.
- If you are lucky enough to be asked for a second interview, simply changing the shirt and tie combination can give the look of a whole new outfit, even if you don’t have another suit.
- Remember to turn off your cell phone before you go.
- Although it seems counterintuitive to wear another layer, putting on an undershirt will keep sweat from getting on your dress shirt and showing exactly how nervous you really are. The bonus is that your white shirt will look whiter with a white undershirt. Choose a white short-sleeved tee in favor of an athletic undershirt.
- Make sure your dress shirts’ tails are long enough that they stay tucked in. Refresh your tuck right before the interview in the nearest restroom: unzip your fly and reach in to pull the front tail downwards, to align the placket with your trouser hitch and belt buckle.
- Wear unscented deodorant and no cologne
- It is imperative that your clothes are clean and pressed. If you never iron your clothes, iron just this once for your interview. You could also drop your clothes off at the dry cleaners.
- Some dress shoes can be slippery, and literally falling on your face is not the impression you want to make. Look for shoes with rubber inserts for traction.
- Also make sure your shoes are shined and the heels aren’t worn down. If the heels are worn down, you can have them repaired at a cobbler.
- Don’t get a watch that beeps. Don’t ever wear a digital watch.
- Some of the more technical organizations you may interview with have a “we don’t hire suits” custom. Check beforehand with the firm’s HR contact to inquire about this.