Home: Preparing for an Interview: Job Interview Attire

WhatÂ’s the Right Job Interview Attire?

In the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness", the hero shows up to a job interview for an internship at a Wall Street firm wearing paint-stained clothes. He manages to charm and impress the conservative interview team and gets the position despite his unsuitable job interview attire.

Even though the movie is based on a true story, we don't advise following this example. Clothes that are too messy, too flashy, or in any other way unsuitable can cost you the job.

Appropriate job interview clothes depend to a certain extent on the job and the organization. If you're unsure what to wear, err on the side of caution and wear conservative attire. You're better off being a little more dressed up than a little too dressed down. That said, here are some specifics:

What NOT To Wear

  • Clothes that are dirty or wrinkled or that don't fit
  • Clothes that smell of smoke. If you're a smoker, don't smoke in your interview clothes
  • The newest high style fashions, unless the job is in fashion or design
  • Sneakers or flip-flops
  • Shorts or jeans
  • Pants that ride too low
  • Underwear that shows
  • Clothing that exposes the belly or cleavage
  • Obvious perfume or cologne

Job Interview Clothes for a Professional Job

  • Solid color conservative suit (black, gray, or navy are safest)
  • Coordinated, long sleeve shirt or blouse
  • Conservative, closed-toe shoes
  • Neat hairstyle trimmed or manicured nails
  • Conservative tie for men (muted red, blue, or gray in understated pattern)
  • Pantyhose for women
  • Portfolio or briefcase
  • Limited jewelry

Dressing for a Non-Professional Job

  • Khaki or cotton twill pants or skirt
  • Sweater
  • Long-sleeved shirt

Make a Good First Impression

For better or worse, first impressions matter. In fact, a job interview is all about first impressions. With some careful consideration your physical appearance at your job interview can support your bid for the job you want.

Even if you have to buy a special set of interview clothes, it will be worth it when you land that job.

When it comes to job interview clothes and appearance, don't cut corners. Here's a checklist you should follow to ensure you look your best.

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