I don’t know about you, but job interviews can be very stressful! For some people, it’s easy peasy but for me, not so much! All the questions that will be presented to you and giving the perfect answer for them are nerve recking. Pass me the CBD oil, lol!
Then you have to think about what you are going to wear. I do not have a closet full of business professional or business casual clothing, so for me, I normally have to go out and purchase something new. Shopping for a job interview outfit is not my exact idea of fun.
Nowadays with corporations having more lax dress codes, you would think the outfit for the interview is no big deal. That is partially true, it kinda just depends on where you are interviewing.
Nonetheless, when it comes to dressing for an interview, many people are clueless! This is why I decided to put some looks together to help people in the job market looking that needs some help.
Also, I will share some other tips related to appearance that you should also be mindful of when interviewing for a job. By the end of this post, you will know how to approach a job interview from a fashion perspective from the roota to the toota, lol.
Do Your Research
Before you even begin thinking about what you are going to wear, the first thing you need to do is to research the company you will be working for. That doesn’t mean just going to their website and scanning the homepage.
When you research a potential employer, you should read their company About Page and get some history on the company first off. Also, you need to research the company dress code. This can help you be able to get a better idea of what your interview attire should be.
If you’re not seeing any photos on the companies website of employees and how they dress, the next best place to look is the companies social media page. Depending on the job, you may need to dress more formal and for some, you may not have to be as formal.
For example, a job in Fashion, you may want to show up to the interview professionally dressed but more fashion-forward. You may want to wear something with a little color and more accessories than the traditional corporate job. I will share an example of this in this post for my fashion industry gals. We have to look out for one another, lol!
You will discover in most cases the companies dress code can fall into two categories, business professional and business casual. For companies who have more of a “jeans and button-down shirts” culture, I would advise still for your interview to wear a step up from that and go with a business casual look for the interview.
What is the difference between business casual and business professional?
Business Professional vs Business Casual
According to Chron, business professional dress would be wearing a suit, slacks or skirt, and a matching jacket. Men are expected to wear a tie and dress shoes and women closed-toe shoes and stocking.
So basically, you would have to dress with little to no style personality at all, lol. You definitely would not wear any pieces you would wear to the club in a business professional setting or job interview.
I do think you can add a little style to the look however without looking “beige”. I will show examples of that in the looks I curated.
Business Professional Men:
- Conservative colors, Navy, Blue, Grey, Black or Brown
- Suit with one or two buttons
- Conservative colored tie
- Gold, silver, white gold cuff links, watch, earrings
- Nicely groomed hair and nails
Business Professional Women:
- Suit/Skirt in conservative colors Navy, Blue, Grey, Black or Brown
- Solid colored collared button-up shirts
- Dark or nude hosiery
- Closed-toe flats or pumps in a conservative color
- Large statement piece jewelry but not too much, one piece is good
- Skirts not too high above the knee
- Nicely groomed hair and nails
By definition, business casual means a style of dressing for white-collar employees that is less formal than traditional business attire. So basically, all the conservative color requirements go out the door with business casual looks.
Also, you have more versatility in the pieces you can wear. For example, you can wear sweaters and casual oxford style shoes as opposed to suits and dress shoes in the business professional dress code.
Business Casual Men:
- Colored button-up shirts tie or no tie
- Chino or Dress Pants
- Sweaters or Cardigans
- Plaid and stripe patterns sweaters or shirts
- Oxford and loafer shoes
- Nicely groomed
Business Casual Women:
- Shirts and Blouses in color
- Separates, sweaters, skirt, jackets, etc
- Plaid and stripe patterns
- Accessories, necklaces, watches, jewelry in color, not conservative
- Chino, culotte and dress pant
- Flats and pumps in nonconservative colors, no wild patterns
- Hair and nails groomed but more casual
Now that you know the general differences between business professional and casual dressing styles. Now you can further pinpoint which direction you will go with in terms of your job interview look.
What you want to keep in mind during this process of choosing your outfit is not losing style personality.
Keeping it Real
Staying true to yourself is always important! I don’t feel its acceptable anytime for you to feel uncomfortable or not yourself in ANY article of clothing.
In a job interview, your already probably nervous and adding being self-conscious on top of that is not going to make the interview process any easier.
People can sense when someone is uncomfortable and if you appear to be uncomfortable in a business professional look you wear in an interview, the employer may take that as a sign that you are not really business professional and would not be a good fit for their company.
So with this being said, picking out something that is representative of you and your style personality is key. This could be the determining factor as to if you do or do not get the job.
You do need to be cognizant of the companies dress code culture when putting together your interview look. Presenting too much of your style personality can also give the wrong impression.
You do not want to appear as if you do not respect the dress code at the company. This is one of the reasons you do the research before going to the interview. You need to find the right balance between that companies culture and your own style personality that present your best self.
First impressions are EVERYTHING and what you have on is a BIG factor in an interview.
First Impressions Matter
I believe anytime you meet anyone new, you should make a good first impression and put your best foot forward in appearance. I have spoken about this in a previous post about dating here. Check that out if you are needing some help with outfit ideas for a date.
In that post, I also spoke about how we judge people conscious and unconsciously based on appearance. So in an interview, you certainly would not want the first impression of your appearance to be a negative factor in the employer’s decision to not hire you.
What if I was to tell you that it has been proven that an employer does base their hiring decision on the first impression of appearance during an interview?
Well, it is true, based on a study done by the University of Toledo employers’ first impressions are a big deciding factor in the hiring process. They did a study with two interviewers and 106 different interviewees and observed over 59 different interviews via a video recording. They only observed the first few seconds of the video.
Basically, based on written and visual data, the interviewer’s first impression of the interviewees was a big determining factor in the ratings and determining factors of being hirable.
How this applies to you is, within the first few seconds of meeting your interviewer/s, they are judging you. They hold that judgment throughout the whole interview in most cases.
So pretty much, if they don’t like you at Hello, they pretty much make their decision based on that. Not always, but in that study, that was the case for sure. I think for sure this has happened to be me, once or twice.
So don’t show up looking a mess or not being properly groomed for a job interview. Also, be sure that your hygiene is right as well. Don’t be having no stanking breath or any type of body odor rather. Do a self-check before leaving for your job interview.
I say this, but also, don’t overdo it with perfumes or colognes. That can just as distracting as bad body odor. A light scent is ok, just don’t put the whole bottle of cologne/perfume on. You’re trying to get a job, your not trying to seduce the interviewer for Netflix and chill. Even then, chill out on the smells.
Now that we have covered all the pre-requisites of a job interview, now its time to see some outfit ideas. I have outfit ideas for the ladies and fellas to get some inspiration from. Check them out!
Business Professional Outfit Ideas: Men
All of these looks pretty much fall into the business professional category. All the colors here may not be considered “conservative” but depending on the job your applying for, you may not have such strict guidelines when it comes to that.
Business Casual Outfit Ideas: Men
These two looks are kinda in-between business casual and professional. You may be able to wear this to a business professional interview, it’s not a full suit but still looks pretty conservative.
You can also wear these as a step up from a business casual dress code. I feel like if you were to interview for a more casual business environment, that dressing a step above that in an interview is a good idea. It can be a good first impression to stand out from the rest of the interviewees.
With these 3 outfits, you have an upgraded business casual appeal. They are all still pretty conservative with colors without wearing all conservative pieces. Again, for a company with a more laid back casual culture, I would advise wearing this to a job interview with them.
Business Professional Outfit Ideas: Women
Here you have 4 looks that by definition, are all business professional looks. Brown is not always listed as a conservative color, but neutrals are and brown is neutral.
Notice also how all the jewelry is very minimal. You can wear one statement piece of jewelry if you want, but these outfits are not as basic as some traditionally styled business professional looks, so I thought the earrings being simple provides balance.
I would not consider these traditional business professional looks, but depending on what job you’re applying for, they could work for an interview outfit. These are perfect for ladies in the creative arts field, for example, any job in the fashion industry, both of these looks would work.
Business Casual Outfit Ideas: Women
By the traditional sense, these are business casual looks. Pretty conservative in look and colors. Any job with a business casual dress code, these looks would be ideal for an interview.
These looks are not as conservative as the other two, but with business casual, you really don’t have to be all that conservative. Again, it depends on where you are interviewing for a job. This is another fashion industry gal appropriate look, lol.
There you have it! You now have all the information and inspiration needed to nail your look for your next job interview! Just remember to keep it real with yourself and that your first impression does matter. I hope whatever job it is that you are interviewing for, you nail the interview and secure the bag!