Job Interview Outfits for 2021 (What to Wear and Avoid)

Dress for the job you want!

Your attire can mean all the difference between getting hired or missing a lucrative job opportunity. Check out these crucial tips on what to wear to a job interview.

What to wear to a job interview

Job Interview Attire


Questions Answered


Knowing what to wear to a job interview is an integral part of preparing for the meeting. After all, our appearance plays a huge role in people's perception of us and our professionalism.

However, there have been radical changes in "professional looks" across industries, causing one to wonder how a professional should really look.

Is it a three-piece suit?

Is it business casual?

Do clothing brands matter?

Read on to learn why it's crucial to think about what to wear to a job interview, and some tips to help you choose the right attire.


Why Job Interview Attire Is Important

While I’m sure they refrain from “judging a book by its cover”, recruiters and HR managers notice how well-dressed a job seeker is the moment they walk in. It takes them seconds to form an impression of you.

Your appearance impacts their perception of how suitable you are for the position. And while a lot of debate could arise on whether that's fair or even accurate, appearance does matter.

All social contexts, including a workplace, have norms on grooming and dressing, and violating them can lead to scrutiny.

If the workplace is conservative and you show up dressed casually, you could come across as sloppy to the recruiter and lose credibility.

But if you're dressed appropriately and well-groomed, the conversation will start off right because you will match the model they have formed of you in their mind from you impressive resume.  

Use these four tips to help choose what to wear to your interview.

4 Tips to help decide What to Wear for a Job Interview 

1. Research the Company's Dress Code 

You've most likely done ample research on the company when prepping for the interview and have a sense of its culture. Such information should inform your decision on what to wear for the interview.

If you're unsure of the level of formality that's appropriate, check out photos on their social media sites.

Christopher Sargent - Pinterest - Step Brothers

Christopher Sargent - Pinterest - Step Brothers

You can also call the HR department and tell them about your upcoming interview. Then explain your dilemma and see if you can get some help.

For a formal workplace, a dark-colored suit is most appropriate.

For ladies, suits can be pantsuits or skirt suits. A dress is also suitable, but it needs to look very professional. It's wise to wear a jacket with a skirt or a blazer over a dress.

For a casual business workplacebusiness casual is the way to go.

That means you need to dress like a professional without being too formal. It's a step away from the dark-colored suit. Wear a dress shirt, blazer, and matching pants, and complete your look with a belt and Oxfords or loafers.

For a more casual workplace, you can wear casual attire as long as it looks professional. Wear dark jeans or slacks and a button-down shirt.

For ladies, dark jeans are also okay, or a knee-length skirt worn with either flats or heels. Just don't wear open-toe shoes and always make sure that your shoes are nice and polished.

2. Be Authentic in Your Appearance 

Look the part.

So you've nailed it as far as your wardrobe goes, but is it you?

From your well-penned resume, your interviewers now have an idea of the person they're eager to meet and interview. Don't disappoint them.

Let how you dress portray that the person you projected in your resume and the person they meet in person, is the same. There should be no disconnect.

Consistency should run from your resume copy to your clothes and conversation.

Whatever you choose to wear, make sure you feel comfortable. This always helps in the confidence department!

3. Keep the job interview attire simple

Should you wear luxury brands for an interview?

As a job seeker, you should be careful about the message luxury brands can convey: wealth, power, and high social standing.

Jobs often call for trustworthiness, likability, and empathy because they enable a person to perform well and be a good team player.

You might consider skipping these status symbols because research suggests that wearing luxury brands rates people lower on warmth and trustworthiness.

Save those fancy threads for the celebration party after you land the new job!

4. Be Reasonable

Many consider self-expression to be a dominant necessity of human nature.

However, while self-expression is encouraged, what matters most here is that you express yourself as the most suitable candidate for the job. So don't dress sloppily with the excuse that you're being real or being yourself.

Remember, just as vocal statements can be polarizing, so can our fashion statements.

So, as much as you'd like to be self-expressive, this is not the time or place. For now, you want to focus on getting that job.  

What you wear should also match the role that you're applying for.

For example, a banker and a gym instructor need different wardrobes.

Also, a baby boomer interviewing for a professional or managerial position should look quite different from a millennial applying for an internship.

Generally, formal and business casual is considered the norm for most interviews, including virtual ones.

However, as mentioned earlier, always research the company to understand what is most appropriate to wear.

Be yourself but ensure what you wear does not cause others to be distracted.



What to Avoid When Choosing Your Job interview attire

Regardless of how formal or informal the workplace is, the goal is to look professional. To make a good impression, here are some things to avoid:

  • Avoid suits and clothing that are out of date or ill-fitting. No matter your age, gender, or what have you, fit is important.

  • Avoid clothing that is too casual or inappropriate for some settings.

  • Avoid appearing sloppy. When you don't bother to iron your shirt or tuck it in, it can look unprofessional.

  • Avoid athletic or sports shoes, flip-flops, and open-toed shoes or sandals.

  • Avoid tank tops or shorts.

  • Avoid showing bra straps or underwear through your pants/skirt.

  • When you stand with your arms on your sides, and the hem of your dress or skirt is above your fingertips, it's generally too short. Choose a longer one.

  • Avoid low necklines or exposing your belly.

  • Avoid perfumes or colognes because, in small rooms, smells can be distracting. Also, some scents can be very irritating to others.

What is the best color to wear to an interview?

The best colors to wear to an interview are neutral. White, black, gray, navy, tan, and cream are all excellent colors to work with.


Wrapping Up | What should you wear to a job interview

Now you know what to wear to your interview, which will go a long way in boosting your confidence. All you need to do now is focus on the meeting itself.

Just dress comfortably, be yourself, and prepare well for the job interview.

Show them you know exactly what the job requires, and that you're the most suited candidate.

Best of Luck!

Do you need some additional job interview prep or resume writing help? Here’s an article on Job Interview Coaching Services and a great Resume Writing Service you might like.

 

Title: What to Wear to a Job Interview (Interview Outfits)

Category: theInterview

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Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He's an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author.