Small Business Brief


Tips for Putting Together a Professional Outfit For a Job Interview

It doesn’t matter what kind of job you’re interviewing for, you want to dress to impress! Here are some tips that’ll help you put together a professional outfit that’ll give you confidence, but more importantly, impress your interviewer!

In the age of street style, choosing a professional outfit for an interview is tricky.

It doesn’t help that there’s conflicting advice out there. Should you wear colors, or stick to black?

What’s the low-down on jewelry and hair? When is an outfit perfect, and when is it trying too hard? Even worse, how can we know if we look like we’re not trying at all?

What you wear to an interview speaks volumes to the employer. Make sure you’re prepared with our tips for putting together a professional outfit.

Dress for the Industry

Every job industry is different. If you’re interviewing at a law firm, you’ll wear the most professional suit you have. But if you’re applying for a creative marketing agency, you might wear more colors.

Take this into account when you’re creating your professional outfit.

If you’re wondering how to dress for an interview, check out the company’s dress code. If nothing else they’ll give you an idea of how professional you have to be.

Every company has some kind of dress code. Even if you’re interviewing for a job at McDonald’s, wear a clean polo shirt and slacks like the kind you’d wear to work.

You need to wear something nice, clean, and appropriate to the industry.

Take the Dress Code and Make It Nicer

It’s tempting to do the bare minimum when it comes to interview outfits. You don’t want to make it look like you’re trying too hard. Nothing says “I’m new” like wearing your best clothes while others are wearing polos and jeans.

But you need to put the effort in now. Otherwise, your interviewer might wonder how much effort you’ll put into your work in a few months.

So if you’re working as a building contractor, you still need to wear a clean button-down shirt and slacks. Applying for a job in retail? Pick something you’d dress to attend Easter Sunday with grandma.

Play Down Your Personality

The idea of turning down the knob on your personal expression makes some people balk. After all, isn’t hiding who you are false advertising?

It isn’t if you’re at an interview. Right now your interviewer doesn’t care if you love cats or Star Trek. They want to know about your workability, and that’s it.

With that in mind, keep the patterned shirts and crazy socks at home. Cover up your tattoos, take out any piercings, and nix the Avengers tie. You can wear these things when you get the job.

Dress for Comfort

If you’re not used to wearing professional outfits, you’re bound to be a little uncomfortable in it.

While you can expect some slight discomfort, your clothes shouldn’t be distracting.

For example, pants and shirts that are too tight can make you paranoid about gaps or rolls. Shoes that pinch and heels that are too tall are difficult to move around in.

If you’re too worried about your clothes, you won’t be able to concentrate on your interview. That’s something your interviewer will notice.

Get Cleaned Up

Look, you can dress up a pig, but it’s still a pig. This means you could be wearing a beautifully tailored suit for your interview. But if you smell or your nails are dirty, people will notice.

Before your interview make sure you wash and dry your hair. Brush your teeth and pop a breath mint before you go in so people don’t wince when you talk. Practice a simple makeup look. Get your nails manicured if you have to.

Just make sure that you’re clean and tidy when you walk into the interview room.

Find the Right Accessories

Accessories are important to interview dress code for females. Women are typically the ones who wear jewelry and carry a purse.

If you’re going to an interview, keep the jewelry simple. A normal chain necklace and small earrings will suffice. Pick something that isn’t too distracting like your Despicable Me watch that you love.

When it comes to bags, check out this helpful site for business-friendly options.

Take Care of Your Clothing

Details matter in an interview. If you show up in a wrinkled suit or shirt, you’re telling the interviewer that you don’t pay attention to detail.

Iron your clothes or get them dry-cleaned a few days before your interview. Make sure your shoes are in good condition. If you need to polish them up a bit, make sure you do it right.

Find Different Outfits If You Have Multiple Interviews

Some interviews are one-offs. You go in, give a spectacular interview, and they call you back later.

But some jobs need more than one interview with different members of the company. If that’s the case, you’ll want to have more than one outfit ready to go.

If you’re a man, try to switch between two different suits. Stick to conservative ties, and don’t forget to match your shoes with your belt.

If you’re a woman, you can play around with dresses, pant suits, or skirt/shirt combos. Make sure your shoes are easy to walk in and comfortable.

Be Prepared and Create an Emergency Kit

The best thing to do is lay out your professional outfit the night before the interview. That way there’s one less thing to worry about in the morning.

You should also have a small “emergency kit” on hand. Stock it with things like

  • Deodorant
  • Breath mints (NOT gum)
  • Extra make-up and a hairbrush
  • Stain remover pen or wipes
  • A sewing kit

Get there early so you can have some extra time to prepare. This way if you drove to the interview in 90? weather with no air conditioning, you can dry out in the bathroom.

Got Your Professional Outfit Ready for that Interview?

You’ve picked out your professional outfit, and now you’re ready to rock that interview.

Before you go, it won’t hurt to do some extra reading. Check out our blog for more articles on small business, marketing, and productivity.

We even have a forum for small businesses to share their hard-earned knowledge.

Do some reading on your industry to stand out, and then good luck on the interview!