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What to wear to a job interview

Posted by Megan M on

We all know that first impressions are very important, and while the perfect outfit won't guarantee you your dream job, it will help create a great first impression and more importantly it'll make you feel confident, which will help you come across better to your interviewer.

So, how do you ace that interview look?  Don't worry, I've got all the tips you need to look and feel great below.

The Do's

  1. Go for something comfortable - you want to come across as confident, and fiddling with an itchy fabric or struggling to sit in a too tight skirt will only distract you from the important point of the meeting.  The same goes for shoes, if you're interview is likely to include a lot of walking, or you aren't confident walking in heels then ditch them for some smart pumps instead.  Make sure you consider the practicality of your clothes, you don't want that too tight skirt to split, or to realise your shirt is see-through when it's too late.
  2. Do some research - The style of clothing you choose will depend on the place you are going to be working.  Visit the office on a Monday when everyone is at their smartest and aim to be the smartest person in the office based on that.  Suits are a great fall back and it's always better to be too smart than scruffy, but a good suit is expensive and may be something you never wear again.  Suits are essential for many jobs in finance or legal work, but if you're working for a fashion house or marketing company you may want to show off more of your own style.  For everything in between, a smart dress, or smart trousers and a top is often the norm, so dress it up with a jacket?
  3. Be yourself - You'll look most comfortable if you stick your own style rather than trying to be something you aren't.  Now you've done the research, so image yourself working there and pick the smartest and best put together outfit to fit that style.
  4. Accessorise - Remember it's the little details that make an outfit whole, so make sure your accessories and shoes match your outfit and the look you're going for. Keep jewellery simple and coordinated, shoes polished and consider your bag carefully, you may need to carry more than you think, and pulling your CV from a carrier bag doesn't scream professional!
  5. Stick to safe colours - unless you're going for a job as a fashion designer or stylist, it's always best to play it safe, you want to feel confident not self-conscious.  Black and Navy are timeless wardrobe pieces you'll get a lot of wear from when you get the job. Stick to dark or pastel colours for shirts and subtle prints for dresses to avoid feeling too self-conscious.

The Don'ts

  1. Don't wear casual / street clothing unless you are very sure that it's expected, even then, it's better to be too smart than not smart enough.  If you turn up to your interview slightly overdressed, the interviewer will see you've made an effort to create a positive impression. If you arrive underdressed, you'll come across as uncaring or badly prepared.  Jeans, especially with rips, trainers and sportswear are all best avoided.
  2. Don't show too much flesh - Ensure your skirt is a reasonable length, don't show your stomach or too much cleavage and consider wearing tights, especially if your skirt is above the knee.  Likewise avoid skin tight clothing, you're dressing for the office, not the night club, and sweat patches aren't a good look.
  3. Don't overdo the make-up & jewellery - Well manicured nails in a natural colour, small timeless jewellery and natural make up will give the best impression.  Avoid huge statement jewellery, fake eyelashes and try to cover tattoo's and piercings if the office environment is at all formal.
  4. Don't wear brand new shoes and if you do make sure you pack some plasters and minimise the time you are walking before the interview - get a cab, or wear trainers and change outside the office (just make sure that bag is big enough to hide them in).

Final Tips

Once you have your outfit sorted, try the whole ensemble on, check you can walk, sit gracefully and bend down to pick up the pen you dropped without flashing yourself and check it's not see through by posing in different lights.  Check all the buttons are in place and secure and then iron it thoroughly and clean your shoes.  Hang it out of the way of strong smells and stains to minimise stress on the day.  Make sure you do this a few days before so you have time to solve any problems before the day itself. 

Prepare two outfits together, you may have to have a second interview so need a different outfit, or have two interviews close together.  This also helps avoid last minute panic if something goes wrong with one outfit you have a spare.  If you stick to your own new work style, you'll be needing those clothes once you get the job anyway!

Struggling for inspiration?  Check out our Career Girl Occasion at Capsuleight for all the outfits you need to land your dream job.

So now your outfit is sorted, practice your handshake and smile and go & get that job!

Good Luck



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  • Love your tips. I agree with everything especially with ‘The don’ts’ list.

    Sonja Josipovic on

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