What to Wear to a Retail Job Interview

Are you interviewing for a retail job? Not sure about the best interview attire to wear? What's the best way to make a terrific impression on your interviewer? When you have a job interview for a retail position you may not need to dress in business attire unless you are applying for a management position, or if you're interviewing at an upscale retailer.

What to wear to a retail interview depends on the type of retailer and the level of position you are applying for. In some cases, you'll need to dress professionally. In other cases, business casual attire is appropriate.

The following are guidelines for what to wear for a retail job interview at designer stores, department stores, company stores, and large retailers.

Large Retail Stores

Worker and couple discussing plans in home improvement store
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When interviewing with a large retailer for a non-managerial level position, you should dress in business casual attire. That means no sneakers, no flip-flops, no jeans, no hats or caps, no sweatshirts, and no t-shirts with graphics or writing. That's true even if you're interviewing for a position at a home improvement store or "big box" retailer.  You don't need to dress formally, but you do need to be neat and tidy.

  • Men can choose from dress slacks or chinos, a button down or polo shirt, socks, and dress shoes or loafers.
  • Women can choose from a skirt (not too short) or slacks, blouse, sweater, twinset, or polo shirt, and closed toe shoes.

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Department Stores

Woman buying shoes in shoe store
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For a department store interview, you really can't go wrong by wearing business attire, especially in a large city, or if you are applying to the high end departments such as jewelry or formal wear.

  • Men should wear a suit or dress slacks and jacket, shirt, tie, dark socks and dress shoes.
  • Women should wear a suit or an ensemble of a skirt, dress slacks, or dress with a jacket, blouse, hosiery and closed toe shoes.

In more casual geographic locations and departments, business casual is acceptable, but stay on the formal and conservative side.

  • Men can wear dress slacks with a shirt and tie (skip the jacket), dark socks and dress shoes or loafers.
  • Women can choose from a skirt (not too short), slacks, blouse, sweater, twinset, hosiery and closed toe shoes. 

Jewelry and Designer Stores

Two people looking at jewelry in display cabinets
Sven Hagolani / Getty Images

For a jewelry store, or high end designer clothing store, you should arrive at your interview dressed in business attire.

  • For men, this means a suit, shirt, tie, dark socks and shoes. Dress slacks, shirt, tie, jacket, dark socks and dress shoes are also acceptable.
  • For women, a pant suit, or skirt suit, blouse, hosiery, and closed toe shoes, or a dress with a jacket, hosiery, and closed toe shoes are acceptable.

Company Stores and Outlets

associate helping shopper
Matthias Tunger / Getty Images

When interviewing at a company store or outlet, business casual in the style of the company is appropriate. Many companies encourage their employees to wear items from their collections, and even if you don't own anything appropriate with their label, something in the same style is acceptable.

  • For men, dress slacks or chinos, a button down shirt with or without a tie, dark socks, and dress shoes. Avoid polo shirts on your interview, even if they are acceptable for working there.
  • Women should wear a combination of skirt (not too short), dress slacks, blouse, sweater, twinset, jacket (optional), and hosiery with closed toe shoes.

Read More: What to Wear to Work for Retail Jobs

How to Choose Interview Accessories

Woman Filling Out Application
Eric Cahan / Getty Images

Bring a briefcase, portfolio or folder for your resume and job application (if you are returning a completed one), a notepad, a pen, and breath mints.

Women should keep their purse small, and their make up, hair style, and jewelry conservative. It's always a good idea to bring extra copies of your resume, in case you end up meeting with multiple people. Also bring a list of references.

Here's how to choose appropriate accessories for a job interview.

Read More: What to Bring to a Job Interview | What to Wear to Work for Retail Jobs