Gender Neutral Interview and Business Clothing

portrait of matching man and woman
Leland Bobbe / Getty Images

If your day-to-day attire doesn’t conform to a traditional gender norm, your interview clothing doesn’t have to, either. In this day and age, there should be no position that requires you to dress in a way that makes you uncomfortable.

Gender Neutral Attire

Whether you’re a woman who steers clear of overtly feminine apparel, a man who prefers a more gender-neutral look, or a non-gender-conforming or transgender person, you’ll be able to dress for success without a problem.

The key is to find clothing that fits you properly, and looks polished and professional. That's true regardless of what you opt to wear. Ideally, all you have to worry about is fulfilling those three categories. 

Here's what that means:

  • Clothes should not be too large or small, tight or baggy. (Suggestions for androgynous business clothing sources are below, but also consider visiting a tailor if necessary.)
  • As well as fitting properly, clothing should be clean and wrinkle-free.
  • When in doubt, neutral colors — such as black, taupe, beige, brown, blue, and gray — are good options. 

Tips for Deciding What to Wear

If you’ve never felt comfortable in a dress, you shouldn’t force yourself to wear one to an interview. Confidence is key during an interview, and it’s hard to be confident when you’re feeling uncomfortable in your clothing.

Ultimately, you shouldn’t feel pressured to present yourself in a way that doesn’t align with your identity.

If you're worried about being discriminated against, you should consult the Human Rights Campaign website to learn more about discrimination laws in your state, including whether or not you are protected by law and what to do if you feel you have been a victim of discrimination.

Also, if you find yourself stressing out about how to present yourself in an interview, you should keep in mind that your well being at work is a huge factor in your professional success.

You probably wouldn’t want to work at a company that would pressure you to dress in a way that’s at odds with your identity, so in the long-run it’s best to wear clothing that reflects you as an individual.

So, if you’re a woman who rocks a blazer or a bow-tie way better than you’ve ever worn a dress – so be it!

Employer Dress Codes

What you wear to a job interview is your choice. However, the employer may have a dress code in place that impacts what you wear to work.

The Human Rights Campaign recommends that "If an employer has a dress code, it should modify it to avoid gender stereotypes and enforce it consistently. Requiring men to wear suits and women to wear skirts or dresses, while legal, is based on gender stereotypes. Alternatively, codes that require attire professionally appropriate to the office or unit in which an employee works are gender-neutral. Employers can legally implement gender-specific dress codes as long as they are not arbitrarily enforced and do not favor or affect one gender over another."

Once you secure a job offer, you can consult with the company's human resources department or the hiring manager to inquire about the company dress code and how it might impact you.

 

Androgynous Clothes for Interviews and Work

If you’re looking for style advice, check out Qwear, an excellent resource for people with gender-non-conforming styles. And, if you’re ready to do some online shopping, check out these stores that sell androgynous business clothing, as well as formal menswear for women, that will work well for an interview outfit:

  • Haute Butch has an extensive clothing collection for women who prefer a masculine style of dress.
  • VEEA is a popular source of androgynous fashion, selling dress shirts, jackets, cardigans, vests, and accessories.
  • GFW Clothing (that stands for gender free world) sells shirts that are designed to fit body types, rather than genders. 
  • Although technically a store for menswear, Topman is known to provide masculine clothing in fits and sizes that cater to women.

    ​​Additional Interviewing Resources​

    How to Dress for Success
    How to dress for an interview including advice on what, and what not, to wear on a job interview, appropriate interview attire, how to impress a prospective employer, business vs. business casual attire, and tips on dressing for success.

    Most Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid
    Here are the most common interview mistakes job seekers make and how to avoid them.

    Interview Questions and Answers 
    The key to successful interviewing is to review these typical interview questions and prepare your answers. Also be ready with questions for the interviewer - here's a list.