The Dos and Do nots of Dressing for an Interview

In the world of job interviews, first impressions matter more than you might think. It’s not just about what you say but also about how you present yourself. Your attire plays a significant role in creating that crucial first impression. In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of dressing for an interview and provide guidance on appropriate attire choices for different types of interviews.

The Power of First Impressions

Before delving into the specifics of interview attire, let’s understand why first impressions are so vital during a job interview. Studies have shown that it takes just a few seconds for someone to form an initial impression of you, and once formed, these impressions can be challenging to change. Therefore, dressing appropriately for an interview is crucial because it’s your first opportunity to show a potential employer that you take the opportunity seriously and are a good fit for their organization.

Dos: Dressing for Success

1. Research the Company’s Culture

Before choosing your interview outfit, research the company’s culture. Different industries and organizations may have varying dress codes. A tech startup might be more casual, while a law firm may expect formal attire. Look at the company’s website and social media profiles to get a sense of their style.

2. Dress Slightly Above the Norm

When in doubt, it’s better to overdress than underdress. Opt for business professional or business casual attire, depending on the industry. A well-fitted suit is a classic choice for most corporate interviews. For business casual, consider dress slacks or a skirt with a blouse or collared shirt.

3. Pay Attention to Details

Details matter. Ensure your attire is clean, well-pressed, and free of wrinkles. Check your shoes for scuffs and make sure they are polished. Keep jewelry and accessories subtle and professional.

4. Choose Neutral Colors

Neutral colors like black, navy, gray, and white are safe choices for interview attire. They convey professionalism and are less distracting than bright or flashy colors. Stick to solid colors or subtle patterns.

5. Keep It Conservative

Err on the side of conservatism when selecting your interview outfit. Avoid clothing that is too trendy, revealing, or flashy. Your goal is to stand out for your qualifications, not your fashion choices.

6. Grooming Matters

Personal grooming is just as important as your clothing. Ensure your hair is clean and well-groomed, and your nails are neat and clean. Maintain good personal hygiene, and avoid strong scents or perfumes.

Don’ts: Common Interview Attire Mistakes

1. Don’t Overdo Perfume or Cologne

Strong scents can be overwhelming and distracting during an interview. It’s best to skip perfume or cologne altogether or use it sparingly.

2. Avoid Casual or Revealing Attire

Avoid clothing that is too casual or revealing, such as jeans, T-shirts, shorts, or low-cut tops. Dressing inappropriately can signal a lack of seriousness and professionalism.

3. Say No to Loud Patterns and Logos

Loud patterns and clothing with prominent logos can be distracting. Stick to subtle patterns or solid colors to maintain a professional appearance.

4. Don’t Forget About Footwear

Your shoes matter too. Avoid sneakers, flip-flops, or overly flashy footwear. Opt for closed-toe shoes that are clean and in good condition.

5. Don’t Carry Excessive Accessories

While accessories can add a finishing touch to your outfit, don’t overdo it. Avoid wearing excessive jewelry, and opt for a conservative bag or briefcase to carry your resume and other materials.

Tailoring Your Attire for Different Types of Interviews

Now that we’ve covered the general dos and don’ts of interview attire, let’s discuss how to tailor your outfit for different types of interviews:

1. Corporate Interviews: For interviews in traditional corporate settings, a well-tailored suit is your best bet. Stick to neutral colors and conservative accessories.

2. Creative Industries: In creative fields like advertising or design, you can show a bit more personality in your attire. While a suit may not be necessary, still aim for a polished and put-together look with a trendy twist.

3. Tech Startups: Tech startups often have a more relaxed dress code. Business casual attire with a hint of tech-savvy style can work well here. Think neat, well-fitting jeans with a crisp button-down shirt.

4. Retail or Customer Service: If you’re interviewing for a customer-facing role, it’s essential to look approachable and well-groomed. Business casual attire with comfortable shoes is a good choice.

5. Medical or Scientific Fields: In fields where safety and hygiene are paramount, such as healthcare or laboratories, ensure your attire adheres to safety standards while maintaining a professional appearance.


Dressing appropriately for an interview is a crucial step in making a positive first impression. Remember to research the company’s culture, choose conservative and well-fitting attire, pay attention to grooming, and tailor your outfit to the specific industry or organization. By following these dos and don’ts, you’ll increase your chances of leaving a lasting, positive impression and moving one step closer to landing your dream job.