What to wear to an interview – The do’s and don’ts

Job interviews are a crucial step in the hiring process, and it’s important to make a good first impression. Along with your experience and skills, what you wear to an interview plays a significant role in making that good impression. The type of attire that you should wear for an interview depends on the company, industry, and position you are interviewing for. In this article, we will discuss some do’s and don’ts for what to wear to an interview.

Research the Company Dress Code

Before the interview, research the company culture and dress code. You can check the company’s website and social media platforms to get a sense of what they wear. If the company has a dress code, they will usually mention it in the job listing or through their communication with you.

Formal Attire for Traditional Organizations

If you’re interviewing for a traditional, well-established organization, such as in finance, banking, or law, then formal attire is the best option. A suit with a skirt or trousers is appropriate for both men and women. Stick to neutral colors like black, grey, or navy blue, and limit your jewelry to simple items. Women should wear a blouse, while men should wear a dress shirt and tie. Choose sensible but smart shoes and keep heels at a maximum height of three inches.

Business Casual for a More Relaxed Workplace

If the company is more relaxed and has a business casual dress code, a smart jumper with a shirt or blouse underneath and trousers or a skirt would be acceptable. Generally, there’s no need to wear a tie in a business casual workplace or interview. Women can wear a dress, but it should be knee-length or longer. As with formal attire, stick to neutral colors and limit your jewelry.

Avoid Casual Clothing

While the company may have a casual dress code, it is still essential to dress smartly for the interview. Avoid clothing like t-shirts, jeans, sneakers, flip flops, and any clothing with intentional rips. Clothing with logos or graphics is also not appropriate. Keep in mind that you are trying to create a professional image and that your clothing should reflect this.

Understand Business Attire Terminology

Knowing the different types of business attire terminology will help you understand the dress code for the company you’re interviewing with.

Business Formal

Business formal is the most formal dress code, requiring a matching outfit of a suit with a skirt or trousers, typically in black or another dark color. Shoes should ideally be black to match the outfit.

Business Professional

Business professional is slightly less formal than business formal. With business professional attire, a suit is acceptable, but you could also wear smart trousers, a tucked-in shirt and tie. Women can wear a skirt and shirt or blouse or a smart jumper over smart trousers or skirt.

Business Casual

Business casual is a combination of casual work wear and business professional. It’s more relaxed than other dress codes but still requires you to look smart. A smart jumper with a shirt or blouse underneath and trousers or a skirt would be acceptable. There’s no need to wear a tie in a business casual workplace or interview.


Casual dress code doesn’t necessarily mean dressing as you would outside of the workplace or interview. Jeans and an appropriate t-shirt are acceptable, as is a less formal skirt. Smart trainers are usually allowed in a casual workplace, but not sliders or flip-flops.

Choose Comfortable Clothing

It’s essential to choose clothing that makes you feel comfortable and confident. If you’re not used to wearing formal attire, you might find it uncomfortable and distracting. You want to be able to focus on the interview rather than your clothing.

For women, a trouser or skirt suit is the most formal option, but a smart blouse and trousers or a dress and tights can also be suitable for less corporate environments. It’s important to prioritize comfort and consider the cut, length, and sheerness of your outfit. Avoid anything that might irritate you, restrict your movement, or distract the interviewer.

Men should stick to darker colors when choosing a suit, such as black, grey, or navy/dark blue. Wearing a jacket is always a safe choice, even if it might not be strictly necessary. Plain or simple patterned ties and socks are recommended, as anything too flashy or novel could be seen as unwise.

When it comes to shoes, prioritize smartness and suitability for the office environment. Walking ability is important, so leave the trainers at home. Ladies, wearing heels is not mandatory if you prefer not to.

If you are attending a video interview, dress your entire body smartly, not just your top half. You never know what might happen, so it’s best to avoid revealing your casual or inappropriate attire accidentally.

Dressing appropriately for an interview is crucial because it demonstrates your professionalism, industry understanding, and cultural fit with the company. A well-presented outfit shows that you are serious about the opportunity on offer, respect professional standards, and take pride in your appearance. It can also boost your self-confidence and help you make a strong first impression. So, take the time to carefully consider your outfit and ensure that everything is clean and in good condition before heading to your interview

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Denise Maxwell
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