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You are Here: Home > Articles > How to Dress for a Job Interview - 2
Know What to Say on a Job Interview

How to Dress for a Job Interview

This page provides general tips for both men and women, regarding how to dress for job interviews. Please keep in mind that this writer is not a fashion consultant, but rather an experienced interviewer (and interviewee) from the Silicon Valley corporate environment, who's seen it all.

Job Interview Dress Tips for Men and Women

The photos displayed below and on subsequent pages are just a few examples of how to dress for a job interview; they're not set in concrete.

As mentioned on page 1, a good rule to follow is to dress for interviews a step or two above how employers ordinarily would expect you to dress for your occupation, job title and the environment in which you work (office, factory, outdoors, etc.).


Avoid wearing outdated styles for interviews and worse, trying to look "hip" by dressing too young for your age; dress modernly, but conservatively, for your age group.

Also avoid bright, flashy colors and patterns for interviews; solid navy blue or medium to dark gray is conservatively best for suits, slacks, skirts, sweaters, sport coats and blazers. Thin, low-contrast, vertical pinstripes are okay, if modern; never wear horizontal stripes to interviews, modern or not.

Solid black might look like you've dressed for a funeral instead of job interview. But, it depends on the other colors you wear with it; so, use your own judgment. However, never wear a black shirt or blouse with other black clothing ("black on black") to an interview; otherwise, you'll look like one of the bad guys instead of one the good guys!

Don't wear leather or faux-leather garments; neither are as dressy as cloth garments and might send the wrong signals. It's okay for belts, shoes and briefcases though.

Interview Dress for Women and Men Example Photo 1
Interview Dress for Women and Men Example Photo 2
Interview Dress for Women and Men Example Photo 3
Interview Dress for Women and Men Example Photo 4

Dress in comfortable clothing for interviews, that doesn't need distracting adjustments when you sit, stand or lean forward. In other words, don't wear clothing that is so low-cut, short, tight or loose, that you must tug or otherwise fiddle with to be comfortable; or worse, to avoid revealing body parts or undergarments.

Speaking of revealing, avoid interview dress that your interviewer might interpret as sexy; otherwise, you might land or lose the job for all the wrong reasons.

Clean and press all of your interview clothing or have it professionally done.


Keep jewelry to a minimum and avoid that which distractively jingles or swings when you move. Definitely leave the "gangbanger" neck chains at home.

A 2008 study at Texas State University indicated that most workers of age 18-24, even those who have body piercings themselves, would rather not work with coworkers who have visible piercings, particularly in situations of face-to-face contact with customers. You can bet that many older workers feel the same, regardless of the situation.

Subsequently, you'd be wise to de-emphasize visible body piercings before job interviews, by removing the associated jewelry. We'll get to earrings later.

Grooming and Hygiene

Use tweezers or a trimming device to remove visible hairs that are growing from where we all wish they didn't, such as out of your nostrils and ears. (It takes only one hair sticking out of a nostril or ear to gross out some interviewers.) If you have thick or bushy eyebrows, consider plucking or trimming them.

Practice good hygiene: Clean and trim your fingernails (or get a manicure), shower, shave appropriately for your gender, brush your teeth, gargle with mouthwash, apply underarm deodorant, and comb or brush your hair.


Avoid wearing strong perfume or cologne. Fragrance is a matter of personal preference and your interviewer might dislike your choice. It's best to have no odor at all!


Never wear flip-flops to job interviews, even though they're trendy at this writing. Besides the fact that flip-flops are inappropriate interview dress, period, companies are banning them in their dress code policies for noise and safety reasons. Wear polished dress shoes instead. More about dress shoes follows this page.

Carry your paperwork (resume and cover letter copies, references list, job-application info, etc.) with a pen and notepad in a nice briefcase or portfolio, preferably one that is conservatively color coordinated with your clothing (such as a black or gray briefcase). This interview-dress accessory makes you look organized and professional.


The Texas State study mentioned above also indicated that workers age 18-24, including those who have tattoos themselves, are likely to consider visible tattoos to be unacceptable at work. Again, you can bet that many older workers feel the same. So, if you have one or more visible tattoos, you'd be wise to cover them as best you can with clothing, before job interviews.

Empty your pockets of bulging and jingling items, such as your cell phone and coins. (Turn off your cell phone for interviews!)

If you attend more than one interview at the same company on different days, then wear a different outfit to each. If your clothing budget is tight, bein' as how you're looking for a job and all, then at least wear a different shirt or blouse.

Next Page > Job Interview Dress Tips for Women
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