Is a business suit the right outfit for job interview?

You’ve heard of the expression “Dress to impress” and “Dress for the job you want.” We all know that first impressions are important, and if you’re interviewing for a job, the clothes you wear are a big part of that initial impression.

But what should you wear to ensure that you make a positive impact on the person interviewing you? And do you need to go the whole hog with a formal business suit?

You might be surprised to learn that not all job interviews require high levels of formality. Yes, it’s important to look smart and professional – and that you actually want the job and would take it seriously. But a business suit and crisp shirt aren’t going to be met with the same enthusiasm everywhere. In fact, in some companies, it can actually count against you.

There are some dos and don’ts for dressing for an interview, and this article lays out a few of them. The end goal? To inspire you to look your best, get the job you want, and not feel pressured to dress to the nines every single time you have an interview. The right interview attire along with a good attitude and solid work ethic are sure to win them over. 

So, what should you wear to a job interview? Here are some things you consider when picking your outfit.

What kind of job are you interviewing for?

Different jobs have different dress codes, but they typically fall into one of two categories: business casual or business formal. Do your research to discover which business category your prospective job falls under. 

Some fundamental interview apparel for both business casual and business formal companies includes suits and dresses in neutral tones, like black, navy blue, and grey. For women, you could also coordinate a conservative blouse or collared shirt with either a suit skirt (knee-length or lower) or a pair of pressed dress slacks. Shoes should be comfortable but professional. 

Simple, sleek, and professional is always best when dressing for a job interview

When you dress for an interview, think simple and sleek. Your outfit should exude professionalism, so opt for neutral tones with quick pops of color in your accessories. 

When dressing for an interview, remember that the colors you wear can express different meanings. The show of a quick red, for example, could symbolize your adventurous, passionate nature. While a dash of blue in a handkerchief or tie could represent calm and a level-headedness. 

Side note: Keep your colors to one or two shades. Don’t go overboard with a dozen different shades of red or blue. 

Attire you should avoid when dressing for an interview

While there are go-to options for how to dress for an interview, there are likewise clothes that you should avoid wearing for an interview. 

  • Loose, baggy clothing is fine at home, but it comes across as sloppy and apathetic in a business setting. Your clothing should be modestly fitted to accentuate your features and convey professionalism in a workspace. 
  • Avoid clothes with stains or wrinkles. To make a good impression, your clothes need to be pressed, clean, and fresh. 
  • Don’t show off too much skin. A job interview is not the time or place for low-cut necklines, bare navels, or thigh highs. 
  • Keep your shoe selection closed toe and professional. No sandals or flip flops. 
  • Don’t wear bold, crazy patterns or designs. You are going for sleek and professional, not distracting, or tacky. 

Bulk up your knowledge on the company dress code

Every business has a slight variation in their dress code. For instance, some businesses are progressive in how they view tattoos and piercings, so you won’t need to take anything out or hide your ink. However, other businesses are more conservative, in which case you should dress accordingly. 

if you have any visible piercings or tattoos and you think it might be the kind of company where this would be a surprise, you may decide to inform the recruiter or your prospective employer before the interview to sound out whether they’d be a deal breaker or not.

Keep accessories to a minimum

Accessories can complement the right interview outfits but keep them minimalistic. You can wear your wedding ring and perhaps a simple accent necklace or watch, but accessories should otherwise be subtle and streamlined with your ensemble choice. 

Side note: Dress sensibly. If it’s cold outside, there are professional coats and scarves that you can wear to accessorize your interview ensemble. Don’t wear anything that makes you uncomfortable. 

Remember to be confident, smile easily, and sell your personality

Whatever outfit you decide on, the very best thing you can wear for a job interview is a bright, confident smile. It’s important to remember that you are marketing yourself to this company. You want them to know how reliable, knowledgeable, and hardworking you can be. Dressing the part with simple, professional interview clothes could help you prove that you’re serious about being hired.