Interview & Professional Clothing Examples & Employer Critique
Examples of Potential Interview Dress for Women Least Recommended A wide range of apparel can be appropriate for women to wear to an interview. The women shown above are dressed in an array of potential interview dress. Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles - Washington State University Most Recommended
Leather is NEVER an appropriate material for an interview. Anything transparent should be avoided. Service Organization When meeting with customers, this dress would be inappropriate. However, this type of dress is not uncommon within the work office. Technical Field The leather jacket in not a problem. The blouse and slacks are. Rental Car Agency Leather blazer is just fine, it just does not work with the retro see-thru blouse in our environment. If she had on a turtle neck for a winter interview, then I would think the look just fine. Delivery Service Mixed Comments Too much trendy apparel can make a statement about how serious you are as a candidate . Hotel & Restaurant Management What threw me off was the combination of messy hair, the Saturday Night Live blouse (which appears to be ill-fitting ) and the tightly cut pants . The outfit makes me think she is squeezing this interview in before she heads out bar-hopping with her girlfriends. Technical Field Much too casual for interviewing and for most work environments. Hotel & Restaurant Management Discourage the transparent blouse . Forest Product Industry Negative Comments Positive Comments
This would be a typical work day outfit .-- Accounting Firm Too casual for interview, but fine for office. Accounting Firm Mixed Comments The buttons on the blouse are pulled suggesting that it is to small. Makes the person's appearance to be disheveled. Technical Field Blouse fit would determine appropriate. Tight blouse, buxomy figure could be distracting. --Paper Products The blouse is too tight and I would suggest going white for an interview . " -- Accounting Firm The shirt is WAY too tight; I'd expect to get hit with flying buttons during the interview! I'd conclude that she'd recently gained weight and needed to go shopping for a larger size. The effect on a male interviewer might be different. --Technical Field Negative Comments Positive Comments
This would be a fine outfit to wear for a regular work day at my workplace. The scarf may be a bit flashy for an interview, and the skirt might be too short. Construction The top portion of this outfit is very appropriate, but the length of the skirt is way too short. Either wear pants or knee length skirt. Accounting Firm This skirt is on the short side. I recommend knee length or just above the knee. Hotel & Restaurant Management Mixed Comments Too "trendy" and flamboyant to project a serious and professional first impression . Insurance Interview: The skirt is a little short and may cause more discomfort to the interviewee than the interviewer. High Tech industry At a Semiconductor company not too many will dress in a tight fitting, short skirt. This may be suitable for an office job or sales person's attire. -- Semiconductor Company The skirt length might indicate poor judgment (wearing a very short skirt to interview with my company) or lack of research on my company's culture.-- Technical Field Negative Comments Positive Comments
I would not be excited if one of our staff wore this to work with a client. This would work for Friday casual or "maybe" during the week when they aren't meeting with clients.-- Accounting Firm The look matches, and that shows a sense of style and organization, but it should not be worn on a day when you have an important meeting. --Meat Industry Nice but a bit too trendy for an interview .-- Landscaping Firm Would not suggest such a bold print for interviews, but okay for office (although I personally would never wear!). Accounting Looks very sharp. Would go with a more conservative suit for interviews. --Hotel and Restaurant Management Mixed Comments The plaid pattern is too big and bold. It's also too tight around the hip area. Internet Provider Conjures up an image of a human billboard or a vertical sofa . Competes against the personality and warmth of the wearer... too aggressive ! -- Accounting Firm What bothers me about this is the busy design and the tight fit. It isn't flattering to her, but doesn't really signal anything other than maybe bad taste in clothing. Technology Field Negative Comments Will work for an interview or on the job, daily wear. Delivery Service This outfit expresses confidence and gives a professional appearance .- Food Service Positive Comments
Lose the multi-strand red necklace. Jewelry should never be heavy. Keep jewelry simple and not the main focal point. --Technology Field A lot of black, here. What does that tell me about the wearer? Maybe a color that is less bold would be better for a business meeting, unless the meeting was a "take no prisoner's type". -- Technology Field Never wear short skirts to an interview. Thank God for the opaque tights!! -- Accounting Firm The necklace is too bold for an interview setting . --Biochemical Field I would re-think the necklace, but the outfit appears to be pretty professional. Knee-length skirts are acceptable. --Accounting Firm Negative Comments Very versatile outfit, could add scarf, vary accessories. Very practical and professional. -- Express Delivery Service Neat, clean, professional--seems appropriate for her figure-type. -- Technology Field Perfect work attire. --Hotel and Restaurant Management Knee length is perfect. Not to short and professional looking. --Meat Industry Outfit would be acceptable for customer interaction. An outfit like this is also sometimes seen in the office. Technology Field for this person, i really like the effect. It makes her look confident and ready. --Meat Industry Positive Comments
Style is just fine, but I think the white trim is way fussy. -- Delivery Service The trim is a bit too bold. The sailor design takes away from a polished professional look. --Internet Provider The pattern is too busy around the face. The strong contrast would keep drawing my eye to the intersection of those stripes. You don't want the interviewer to be distracted by clothing. --Technology Field The outfit makes her look like a box with head and legs. The shoes are nice with the sheer hose, but that about covers the positives. --Meat Industry Negative Comments Looks professional .-- Hotel and Restaurant Management This is appropriate for interviews and working with clients.-- Accounting Firm Positive Comments
I would add a jacket to the dress to make it really a professional outfit. The length of the dress is not a problem. --Accounting Firm Mixed Comments This would also be more appropriate for a work day situation rather than an interview, but would be fine for an interview, if necessary. --Accounting Firm Too casual for most work settings, but depends upon the envirornment.teleport.com-- Accounting Firm Ineffective for interview, but fine for office.-- Accounting Firm A suit is more structured and therefore more appropriate for an interview - but this is just fine for work attire. -- Uniform Service Negative Comments Neat, clean, and professional--no problem. --Technology Field Positive Comments
The jacket is too long.-- Technology Firm If it is meant to be worn outside, the length is fine. If it is for indoor wear, it looks too heavy. --Technology Firm She looks very warm. I would think of the jacket as an outer coat based on its cut with the sweater.-- Landscaping Firm Negative Comments This outfit shows style and personality without being inappropriate. -- Summer Camp Very nice outfit, can work for interview or on the job. -- Delivery Service Although not traditional, this is a professional approach. It may work to show interviewers a bit about the personal style of the applicant.-- Hotel and Restaurant Management This is a very classy look that would be appropriate for both an interview setting as well as for the regular work day.-- Accounting Firm The overall appearance is semi-formal and business-like, yet comfortable and confident.- Accounting Firm The jacket length would bother me only if she wasn't wearing the trousers! She looks fine; no alarms here, either.- -Technology Field Positive Comments
Examples of Potential Interview Dress for Men Least Recommended A wide range of apparel can be appropriate for men to wear to an interview. The men shown above are dressed in an array of potential interview dress. Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles - Washington State University Most Recommended
This gentleman doesn't look particularly sloppy, but that is a risk you can run with a baggy sweater and longer khakis .-- Accounting Firm Mixed Comments My biggest suggestion: Hem those pants! --Hotel & Restaurant Management Pants are too long. Sweater is fine for office, but definitely shouldn’t wear to interview.- - Consulting Firm While this is the way many of our engineers look on the job, it is inappropriate for an interview . I'd expect him to ask me if I'd like to go shoot some hoops after. -- Technical Field The sweatshirt looking sweater is too sloppy. - - Accounting Firm Negative Comments Positive Comments
Add a tie and it would be perfect! Hotel & Restaurant Management The suit rocks, but really needs to class it up with a shirt and tie. - -Meat Producer Mixed Comments In interviewing with [an Equipment Rental Agency]l, the more casual "without a tie" would be acceptable, if not appropriate.-- Equipment Rental Agency Negative Comments Positive Comments
With a suit jacket this would be a very professional outfit for interviewing or a meeting .-- Graphic Design Mixed Comments The dark pants, tie and shirt without a jacket are a little to electronic store salesman looking. --Accounting Firm Negative Comments Very good college look. Very good for young professional. Jacket not needed. Hair is great! very in style .--Express Delivery Service This person is very appropriate for both an interview and work day setting. There is no need for this person to change the style of his hair. --Business Solutions Company Positive Comments
The lack of a tie doesn't bother me (folks I work with wear ties only if they are interviewing someplace else or on their way to a funeral). The lack of a collar does bother me, however. He looks too "artsy" for our environment, but I'd have to see the resume and talk to him before I made any final decisions. He could be a wonderfully creative engineer and his pocket protector is on the inside of the jacket!! --Technical Field It's not the lack of tie that is inappropriate, but the lack of a collar. Our office is full time business casual, but collars are required, meaning that while a golf shirt is more casual, it is also more appropriate. --Accounting Firm A tie is a must when interviewing . --Meat Producer Negative Comments Very smartly dressed. I don't feel a tie is always a necessity if the other articles of clothing are appropriate. At one point I felt that if meeting with a client, men should always wear a tie - now the culture seems to be more flexible even in that situation. --Engineering Consultant Casual confidence --Conference Center Positive Comments
And is that a "soul patch" on his face??? It's GOT to go!!!!- - Hotel & Restaurant Management His facial hair is distracting and he really needs the pants hemmed, but his attempt deserves merit.- -Meat Producer The pants should coordinate better with the jacket. -- Communications Company Negative Comments Although some interviewers may prefer a matching blazer and slacks, this approach would not be inappropriate. -- Hotel & Restaurant Management Great for interview or important business meeting. Positive Comments
Make sure to know how casual the company that you are interviewing at is. This could be far too formal for many companies. Mixed Comments Negative Comments High end interview suit, never a bad choice . -- Accounting Firm Great attire. It's classic---appropriate in almost any situation. --Hotel and Restaurant Management Much more appropriate for an interview. I rarely see anyone dressed this formally in our office on a normal work day. Accounting Firm Exactly what I would expect from an interviewee. --Accounting Firm Perfect for interview. More than is needed for most important meetings, but certainly acceptable! Too dressy for typical work day. Paper Producer The immediate impression you get from being in the presence of someone dressed in this manner is, "THIS IS A PROFESSIONAL!'-- Concession services Really, nothing could be changed about this outfit. Positive Comments
DRESSING ON A TIGHT BUDGET Don't wait until you are pressed for time and have to make a hasty decision or a choice that is not in your budget. Remember that self-confidence is your primary goal when selecting your professional interview attire. Purchase clothing with multi-use potential. Invest in impressive, classic, well-made separates that can be combined for a 'professional' or 'casual Friday' look. Begin by selecting your best ‘neutral’ as a nucleus for a professional wardrobe . Colors like black, dark gray, and navy are versatile, but pearl gray, stone, steel blue, camel and celery are fashionable options that lend new dimensions to any working wardrobe. Your best neutral is dependent on personal coloring and personal style as well as your best visual impact. Purchase matching components. Having options such as wearing a skirt or pant with jacket or vest multiplies possible combinations. Use shirts/blouses/sweaters to create variety of visual effects. Select ties/scarves and jewelry that add to possible visual variety. Consider investing in season-less fabrics that drape and travel well, such as lightweight stretch wool, washable matte jersey or a blend of cotton and rayon.
RESEARCH THE SPECIFIC DRESS CODE To fine-tune the process, find out what the dress code is for the industry that you are interested in . When you research the company you will often get an idea of the dress code for employees. Ask career counselors, faculty, and professionals in your field of interest if you are unsure. Fields such as law, banking and accounting frequently have a stricter set of guidelines than advertising, retail and sales, which allow more casual dress. Even though suggested guidelines of professional dress may seem more formal than you would have imagined, consider what some career consultants recommend: The job seeker should dress for a position two levels higher than the one for which she/he is being interviewed . This may mean dressing more formally for the interview than you will once you are in the job. The level of formality you project shows that you understand the importance of the situation and respect the person you are meeting. When in doubt, making a conservative clothing choice for your interview is usually the safest. Once you’ve been hired , it’s a good idea to ask your boss or the human resources department for a copy of the organization’s dress code policy . Codes vary so don’t assume you can wear the same clothes you wore at your last job. Some companies allow blue jeans, sleeveless tops and open-toe sandals, but others don’t. Play it safe by adhering to the organization policy.
GENERAL GUIDELINES Select apparel, fragrances, jewelry, hairstyle, etc. that do not detract from your professional image. The interviewer's attention should be focused on what you say and your qualifications. Make sure your hair is clean, neat and professionally styled. Avoid styles that covers over more than your forehead or one that you have to brush back. Remove facial and body piercings other than single ear jewelry for interviews. Visible tattoos should be covered to avoid distraction. Apparel should be clean and neatly pressed. Apparel should fit well and remain in place while sitting and/or walking. Choose professional apparel that you like for which you receive positive feedback from people who are knowledgeable about the industry standard or specific company policy. Less is more. Keep your look simple and successful until you become accustomed to the environment and learn about the company’s dress code.
GUIDELINE FOR WOMEN'S INTERVIEW ATTIRE Select a skirted suit, pantsuit or conservatively tailored dress that draws the eye to your face. Skirts are traditionally knee-length but those slightly shorter or longer are also acceptable. Select blouses or sweaters that provide visual interest, but avoid transparent, tight fit, or have low necklines, revealing waistlines or details that detract from your face as a focal point. Typically, arms are covered at least to the biceps and often to the wrist. Always wear hose to interviews. Wear plain-style, non-patterned hosiery and select colors that flatter your coloring. For traditional industries, wear a neutral color . For other industries, you may choose to wear hose that coordinates with your skirt. Carry an extra pair in case of runs. Perfume should never be strong. A fragrance can cause an allergic reaction or offend the interviewer. When in doubt, do not wear perfume. Use natural-looking makeup and clear nail polish. This keeps the focus on the interview. Do not carry a purse with a briefcase. Choose one or the other. Wear flat shoes or low pumps in colors that avoid making your feet a focal point . Be sure that they are clean and polished. Avoid shoes that hinder walking fast. This lowers credibility . Avoid open-toed shoes since associated with social agendas. Add accessories to express your personality and accentuate your best features. A scarf or necklace is an effective way to focus on your face. Keep it simple! Women in general wear too many accessories at the same time such as earrings, necklaces, and rings. These can accentuate your personality and can be an asset if worn in moderation. Avoid dangling earrings and wear no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch. Be sure all jewelry focuses on the face.
GUIDELINES FOR MEN'S INTERVIEW ATTIRE Wear a matching suit in navy, black or gray (pinstripe or solid) or wear a navy blazer and gray dress slacks. They serve as a visual background that draws the eye to the face. Wear white or a light blue dress shirt that contrasts with the jacket and/or tie. Typically, arms should be covered to the wrist. Exposing arms by rolling up your sleeves is interpreted as less powerful and is less formal. A (silk or silk-like) tie should coordinate with the jacket and pant but choose one that strongly contrasts with the color of your shirt; selecting subtle or simple patterns enhances credibility. Socks should be calf-length or above the calf. Choose natural-fiber blends that allow a flow of air and do not hold in perspiration and heat. Choose colors such as dark blue, black or gray. Wear conservative, clean, and polished shoes. Select lace-up (not slip-on) dress shoes. The color should be dark or blend with pant. Select a leather belt that visually blends or matches your shoes. A short hair cut and no facial hair is expected. Minimize jewelry. Avoid a necklace. Wear no more than one ring per hand and a dress watch. Be sure all jewelry supports a focus on the face. A full-length coat can be worn over your suit; avoid casual coats. Cologne should never be strong. A fragrance can cause an allergic reaction or offend the interviewer. When in doubt, do not wear cologne. Your briefcase is part of visual effect; consider a simple portfolio as an effective substitute, and try to select a color that supports your visual effect. Learn how to tie men’s four in hand and half Windsor knot.