What to Wear to Job Interviews - Full Guide [+ examples]

What to Wear to Job Interviews
Created by CakeResume

Job applicants need to consider several dimensions, such as resumes, cover letters, what to say during the interview, whether they should follow up after the interview and many more. Among those, many overlook the interview dress code. 

However, first impressions matter. Think twice about your job interview clothes. 

Your job interview attire says more about you than you may imagine. Job interview outfits heavily influence how you come across to recruiters. 

It allows employers to see how well you understand the role and company culture. Additionally, it shines a light on how professional you are. Finally, your interview attire can even boost your confidence. 

As they say, “Look good, feel better.”

How to Decide What to Wear to Job Interviews

Focus on what to wear to a job interview. After all, no matter how great your resume is, if you fail to impress recruiters, your chances of landing that dream position might get slimmer. 

🎯 Reread the interview invitation and see if it’s specified.

Always double-check the interview invitation to be sure that you are not missing anything important. Look out for anything regarding the required interview attire. 

Some companies let job seekers know what their interview dress code is. For example, many start-ups and tech companies inform applicants that business casual outfits are acceptable in the interview. 

Re-reading the invitation can help you save money or even save you from awkwardness. 

🎯 Do research on the company and its culture.

If the invitation does not include information on the required job interview outfits, you have to put on your detective hat.

The internet will be your best friend to research what professional interview attire fits your interview best. Check the company’s website, LinkedIn, and even Instagram. You can get some insight into the type of outfits their employees usually wear. 

If you see that the employees don’t wear full suits or dresses on the majority of the posts, it indicates that wearing business casual attire for the interview should be ok.

However, if you still feel too lost as to what to wear, ask the recruiter for some advice (unless the job listing says otherwise). You can use the following template to ask about the job interview clothes they recommend. 

Email Subject: Inquiring for the dress code for the [Job title] interview.

Hello [Hiring manager’s name],

I will have the pleasure to meet your team on [Date] to be interviewed for the [Job title] position. I am preparing for the interview. I wanted to ask you - what is the recommended dress code for your company?

I am very interested in this position. Therefore, I would like to make sure that I fit in.  Thank you for your time and help. 

Regards,

[Your name]
[Your contact information (Phone number, LinkedIn profile)]

🎯 Understand common business attire and choose a suitable style.

You will not need to follow a formal dress code for an interview all the time. Depending on the position and the interview, you have to consider choosing one of the following job interview outfit styles. 

  • Casual: the most relaxed interview dress code 

Clothes have a relaxed fit (but not baggy!), yet casual interview outfits should be polished and clean-looking. 

For women, think of dark-colored slacks or jeans and dressy tops. You can wear a couple of sober-looking accessories too. Casual interview shoes for women include small heels or flats.

Casual interview attires for men also include dark jeans or chinos. A nice-looking collar shirt (even a short-sleeved one or a Polo) can improve your look. If you want to accessorize a bit, go for a wristwatch.

  • Casual Smart: slightly more put-together than casual

When it comes to casual smart interview attire for women, button-ups are always a good choice. So are silk pants, chinos, and even flowy skirts.  Alternatively, you can choose a sleeved sheath dress. You can mix them with flats, oxfords, and small heels. 

A casual smart interview dress code for men requires a step up. That is why chinos, slacks, or dress pants are great. You can pair them with a tucked-in button-down shirt. Try some leather shoes and a matching belt. 

  • Business casual: elevated but still not fully formal 

Business casual interview outfits are one of the most common styles for interviews. Therefore, a smart option for you. 

A business casual interview dress code for women includes tailored clothing, dress pants or knee-length skirts (pair them with tights) in neutral colors. Button-up shirts paired with a casual blazer are game, too. Regarding shoes, you can wear dark-colored closed-toe flats and pumps.  

Business casual interview outfits for men are neutral colored. Chinos, khakis, and dress pants are good options. Match them with leather shoes and calf-length matching socks. Pair light-colored button-down shirts with sports coats or dark-colored blazers. 

  • Business Formal: the most professional-looking interview attire, usually for high-level position interviews.

When it comes to formal interview clothes for women, tailored pantsuits, dark-colored knee-length skirts (with tights), and tailored jackets with matching blouses or shirts are some of the best choices.

Similarly, two-piece suits are the best option for formal interview clothes for men. Solid ties and cufflinks are great complements with polished leather shoes and matching socks. 

🎯 Try it out the night before. 

Even if the outfit looks perfect on paper, you should always try on your job interview outfits the night before to avoid unpleasant surprises. Check your outfit under good lighting to spot any imperfections while you still have time to fix them. 

After confirming everything looks neat, take the time to hang it again nice and tidy so that you do not have to iron before your interview.

Tips on Choosing Interview Outfits

No matter which type of outfit you have to go for, the following tips can help you elevate your look and guide you to choose the perfect job interview attire.

✅ Choose the right color/pattern.

You have to choose what type of clothes to wear, but you also need to select what color to wear to an interview. 

If it is a traditional position, the best colors to wear for an interview are neutral (blue, gray, black, and white).

However, you can use colors to express yourself if your job is in a more creative field (but do not go overboard).

When it comes to patterns, plain designs tend to be better for interviews (yes, even for a tie or a handkerchief!). Avoid busy patterns (such as animal prints). 

✅ Be careful with jewelry and cologne. 

Making a good impression is more than choosing the right job interview clothes - your accessories and complements can make or break your outfit. 

Avoid strong colognes - you do not want to overwhelm the recruiter with a way too sweet smell. 

While jewelry can enhance your interview attire, it can be distracting if it is too flashy. For men, watches, cufflinks, and wedding bands are ok. Women can wear tasteful earrings, a thin necklace, or a bracelet. 

✅ Dress the same way for video interviews as for in-person interviews.  

As of lately, working from home has become more popular. In the same fashion, companies are interviewing online more often than before. What to wear for a zoom interview? Well, we think you should treat it as any other formal interview.

Just because you are in your house, it doesn't mean you should stop dressing to impress. Think of virtual interviews as face-to-face ones. Consider everything you wear carefully (except for perfume; you will be ok if you feel like spraying the whole bottle).

✅ Wear comfortable outfits for job interviews.

Yes, you want to look your best in your job interview outfit. However, never forget that being comfortable is equally important. For example, avoid wearing too many layers if you live in a hot area. You do not want to become a human oven - the interview is stressful enough.  If you are not comfortable with your interview attire, it will show. 

✅ Know what not to wear to an interview.

  • Tank tops, strapless tops, graphic t-shirts
  • Shorts, short skirts
  • Distressed jeans
  • Sports shoes, flip/flops, and open-toed shoes
  • Revealing shirts (avoid those that show your belly, such as crop tops)
  • Colorful socks, wacky ties
  • Flashy colors, animal print patterns
  • Heavy perfumes, excessive make-up, too many accessories
  • Hats, headphones, beanies
  • Try to cover any improper tattoo 

Interview Outfits for Women

There are many outfits for interviews that female interviewees can choose from depending on the position. Look at the following examples to understand the different formal dress codes for women for interviews.

💡 Formal interview attire

The business formal dress code for interviews for female interviewees is quite strict. You have to put a lot of effort into formal interview attire. A light-colored button-up shirt works perfectly with a pair of matching navy pants and blazer. 

We recommend a pair of closed-toe mid heels. You can wear a plain-colored tie to add some tone. 


Buttoned Shirt and Tie | Blazer and Pants | High Heels | Source: Unsplash

💡 Casual job interview attire for women

The options are more relaxed for women's casual interview attire. 

You can wear a dark-colored pair of well-fitted jeans, a lighter nice blouse, and closed-toe flats. Keep your accessories small and simple. 

PurseBlouse | Shoes | Jeans | Source: Unsplash

💡 Zoom interview outfit

As we mentioned earlier, a zoom interview attire is not too different from a face-to-face interview. Consider the color of your clothes so that you do not get absorbed by the background. You can select a bolder color plain buttoned shirt. You should wear some matching pants and shoes to complete the outfit. 

Blouse | Pants | Shoes | Source: Unsplash

💡 Summer interview outfit

Summer interviews have a more flexible interview dress code for females. Thanks to the season, you can wear brighter colors and breathier fabrics. You can match flowy colorful skirts with sober colored tops. For shoes, you can go for mid heels or even flats.


Blouse | Skirt | Shoes | Source: Unsplash

💡 What to wear to a part-time job interview

Female interviewees can wear smart casual interview outfits for a part-time job interview. Wear a neutral color pair of dressy pants or a skirt, and match them with closed-toe shoes. Choose a lighter color for your top and wear a nice pair of earrings to complete your outfit.

Blouse | Earrings | Shoes | Skirt | Source: Unsplash

💡 What to wear for an interview for female teenagers

It might be hard for a young woman to know what to wear to an interview. Thankfully, you are allowed to wear a more colorful option. Pair pastel-colored button-ups and shoes with a dark-colored pair of pants. You can even carry a bag that matches your outfit.

Purse | Blouse | Pants | Shoes | Source: Unsplash

Interview Outfits for Men

Although the interview dress code for male interviewees makes you have fewer choices, you can still find what best to wear to an interview as men based on the nature of the position.

💡 Formal interview attire

As a man, you have limited options of what you should wear to an interview. You can wear a dark-colored suit and pants. Use a light button-down shirt to contrast. Make sure that your belt and shoes are the same color to add further spark. Wear a plain tie to complete the look.

Tie | Suit | Source: Unsplash

💡 Casual job interview attire for men

If you are wondering what to wear to a casual interview, you can go for a pair of light-colored pants and a neutral tone button-up shirt. You can complete the look with a pair of leather loafers and a tasteful watch.

Loafers | Watch | Pants | Shirts | Source: Unsplash

💡 Zoom interview outfit

A Business casual look would work wonderfully if you're considering what to wear for a video interview. You can even go for a full suit look and leave the tie out for this one. You can wear computer glasses to protect your eyes from the screen glare.

SuitGlasses | Shoes | Source: Unsplash

💡 Summer interview outfit

Consider the temperature in this case. Avoid wearing too many layers. A light-colored buttoned shirt (Even a short-sleeved one would work), neutral-colored khakis or dressy pants, and matching leather shoes and belt should be fine. 

Shoes | Belt | Shirt | Pants | Source: Unsplash

💡 What to wear to a part-time job interview

Given its casual nature, when considering what to wear to an informal interview, khakis and chinos always do the job. Pair them with some suede shoes and a classy-looking sweater. 

Shoes | Pants | Sweater | Source: Unsplash

💡 What to wear for an interview for male teenagers

Teenagers wonder what to wear to a first job interview. A dark-colored pair of jeans work perfectly with a plain neutral-colored polo shirt. To elevate the look, you can wear a nice watch. You can even wear some subtle sports shoes if you don’t own fancier shoes (try neutral colored ones).

Watch | Pants | Shirt | Source: Unsplash

Interview Outfits for Different Jobs

✨ What to wear to a retail job interview

As long as it is not a managerial position interview, you can wear smart casual or business casual interview attire. That is closed-toe shoes, no sneakers, collared shirts (even polo shirts), or dressy blouses. Chinos, slacks, and skirts are all ok, too.

✨ What to wear to a teacher interview

Given the business casual nature of the interview, you want to look professional. Suits are always a great option. Matching a simple and sober top with a blazer or cardigan also works. Button-downs and pants are a great combo, too.

✨ What to wear to a nursing interview

This is also a business casual interview. Women can wear neutral-toned skirts or slacks with a blazer, flats or small to mid heels are good, too. Men should go for a suit and perhaps even a tie to complement the style. Match your shoes and belt and make sure it is a well-fitted outfit. 

✨ What to wear to a bank interview

Wear professional interview attire to bank interviews. Men should go for buttoned collared shirts, matching belts and shoes, and a tie. A suit would be the perfect complement. 

Women can also wear suits with either slacks or skirts. A neutral-colored dress with a blazer is also a good option.

✨ What to wear to a bartender interview

Even if casual interview outfits would be perfect for bartender interviews, avoid a simple look. Check what the bartenders in your area wear and level up the game a bit. Collared polo shirts and blouses are a good idea. Black pants are also a safe bet. Wear something comfortable in case they want to see your skills in the interview.

✨ What to wear to a gym interview

You might wonder what to wear to such a casual job interview. If you are required to perform some exercises during the interview, you can wear a neutral tracksuit. However, if it is a formal meeting, you can go for khakis and a light-colored top.

✨ What to wear to a receptionist interview

It does not require a full suit. However, consider wearing business casual outfits for the interview. For women, dresses, buttoned shirts, blouses, skirts, and slacks, are ok. Men should go for khakis, slacks, a buttoned shirt, and a blazer that would do the job.

✨ What to wear to a hostess/barista interview

Keep your job interview outfits on the casual smart side for barista/hostess interviews. Try an all-black slick look. Button-ups with black slacks, dressy pants, or a skirt for women. Wear some black leather shoes to complete the look. 

✨ What to wear to a flight attendant interview

For this job, professional interview attire is the most common one. Full neutral-colored suits with light-colored buttoned shirts (Wearing a tie is a good idea). Women can choose between slacks or a pencil skirt. Make sure your outfit matches the color schemes the company usually follows.

With CakeResume’s resume builder tool, resume templates and resume examples, you could showcase your best qualifications to land your dream job. Try making a resume online (free download) now!

--- Originally written by Roger Rene Ortega Figueroa ---

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