Tips for Dressing for Job Interview Success

Fashion Tips That Will Help You Get a Job

Woman waiting for interview
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Would you show up for a job interview wearing jeans, shorts, grubby sneakers? Would you chew gum during the interview or arrive in disheveled or wrinkled clothes? Wearing inappropriate or outlandish attire to a job interview can potentially cost you the job. How you present yourself during an interview is important.

Read below to find out why your appearance matters and get recommendations on appropriate attire during job interviews.

Dress Your Best When Interviewing

Does it really make a difference how you dress for an interview? In many cases, it does. I'll never forget the gentleman I interviewed for an accounting position. He had been out of work for a few months and wanted to show me why. He took off his jacket, unbuttoned his shirt, and started to pull down his pants (this is a true story) to show me the scar from a boat propeller that had injured him. He didn't get the job. Neither did the young lady in a bright red skirt so short and tight that she could hardly sit down!

In the conservative business climate I worked in at the time, appearances did matter. In other environments, it isn't as important. For example, attire for a summer job interview or a startup job interview will be less formal. However, it does make sense to dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization.

If you're in doubt about how to dress for an interview, it is best to err on the side of conservatism.

It is much better to be overdressed than underdressed (or undressed). If you're not sure, check with the person who scheduled the interview and ask. Here's advice on what colors to wear to a job interview and what not to wear to a job interview.

According to Kim Zoller at Image Dynamics, 55% of another person's perception of you is based on how you look.

Her dressing for success information gives some tips on how to look your best, without necessarily spending a lot of money. Here's a quick look at the basics:

Women's Professional Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Moderate shoes
  • Limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Tan or light hosiery
  • Sparse makeup and perfume
  • Manicured nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Here are examples of what to wear for women:

Men's Professional Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • White long sleeve shirt
  • Conservative tie
  • Dark socks, professional shoes
  • Very limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Go easy on the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Here are examples of interview clothes for men:

More Interview Help

How to Dress for an Interview
Get advice on how to make a great first impression, whether you're interviewing at a conservative, casual, or startup company.

Interview Etiquette
Review these job interview etiquette tips for before, during, and after a job interview, to ensure that your job interview etiquette is up to speed and you're making the best impression on the interviewer.

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.

Winning Interview Skills
So, you’ve landed an interview for a seemingly wonderful job! Now what? Here's how to ace the interview.