Interview Attire...What to Wear?

interview prep travel/wardrobe Feb 13, 2020

Did you know that we are full swing into interview season?? 

Everyone's back in full swing from the holiday season, hiring managers have received new hiring budgets for the year, and there's a backlog of hiring that was placed on hold from the Thanksgiving to Christmas seasons. 

As a result, this is also the time of year that I receive a lot of client requests for interview prep support, anything from resumes to image consulting. Because my clients know it’s important to make a good first impression at a job interview, I'm frequently asked about their choice of interview attire. Dressing for job interviews is a lot more complicated than it used to be, so it's important to get it right.

Workplace attire has changed so much over the years with the advent of virtual/remote workspaces and the casual influence of the tech industry, that it leaves a few questions around what to wear in the mind of the interviewee. Should you go formal, business causal, etc? Unfortunately the answer to those questions is, "it depends."

While I suggest you always want to err on the side of taking your attire up a notch (meaning formal business), you also want to wear things that are both flattering to you and appropriate for the workplace.

Here are four different and completely acceptable interview styles that you can be worn depending on the job, the company and the role you're going after. 


Image from 

Regardless of what you choose it's important to know that what you wear affects and influences how others see, respond, and interact with you. It also impacts your feelings of self-worth and confidence. Since everything has energy, the colors, patterns, texture and even the look of the garments you wear can serve to draw people to you or send you packing.  

Your appearance is the filter through which everything you say or do is evaluated and it can have a significant impact on your income. In fact, research published in the American Economic Review found those with an improved image enjoyed a 20% increase in income​.

That's because 93% of our communication is based on what we see, meaning our appearance, and it only takes 1/10th of a second to take in all we need to know to form an impression. That's only 100 milliseconds!  And once an opinion is formed, unfortunately it will take more than the time allotted for your interview to change it! 

It’s a hard truth, but what you wear and how you carry yourself can impact the trajectory of your career. 

So, how would rank your image? Do you know what to wear? It's important to avoid any visual static, lack of authenticity or a misalignment with who you are and what you want.

Here's a few basic suggestions to get you started:

  1. When in Doubt, Dress it Up - Think solid color suit in navy (recommended), grey or black in either a pant, skirt or dress and jacket.
  2. Fit Matters - Poor fitting clothes sends a message that you're not really serious and don't pay attention to details.
  3. Fragrance Free - With so many sensitivities it's best to avoid perfume.
  4. Silent Accessories - If it dangles, clicks, bobbles, blings or swings leave it at home.
  5. Keep it Natural: Go clean, fresh and neutral with your hair and makeup.
  6. To Pantyhose or Not to Pantyhose: That's indeed the question. That too depends on your comfort level and dress code of the company.
  7. Check Your Nails - Keep you nails neat and trimmed or freshly manicured.
  8. Keep With the Times - Wear (including shoes) freshly laundered, tailored and current styles. Outdated clothes signals outdated skills.
  9. Be Comfortable - When you're not comfortable you'll worry more about what you're wearing than the interviewers questions.
  10. Carry a Portfolio - It's time to upgrade to a nice leather portfolio. It's an accessory and extension of you.

If you need some support in this area, whether for a job interview, desired promotion or just to update your overall branded image, schedule a complimentary session with me TODAY!



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