Dress for Success

Do you ever wonder what you should wear for a job interview? You want to dress to impress but you don’t know where to start? First impressions are everything! This section has tips and ideas so you can choose the perfect interview outfit.   

What should I wear to my interview?

While it is important to present yourself in a neat and clean way, you can still dress in a way that can express you and your identities. Your outfit communicates how you want to be viewed in a professional setting. Here are some suggestions to consider when picking out an outfit. Remember, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed! 

  • If it’s too tight, too loose, too short, or too long – don’t wear it! 
  • Clothes should be clean and wrinkle free. 
  • Limit distractions – loud prints and bright colors can distract the interview from what you are saying. Overwhelming smells like perfume/cologne or aftershave can also be distracting.  
  • When in doubt, neutral colors are always a safe option (black, gray, brown, blue, beige, etc.). 
  • Try your outfit on BEFORE the day of the interview.
  • Ask for advice – show of your outfit to family, friends, or even us at the CDC if you are unsure about your outfit.
  • Do an internet search – living in an age of technology has so many benefits including researching interview outfit inspo.
  • Don’t bring too much baggage with you – leave bulky coats or bags in the car. 

 Your clothes are your image, check the mirror and see what others see.   

Dressing On a Tight Budget

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on an interview outfit. You might have items in your closet that are interview appropriate. If not, check out thrift stores or discounts at your local department stores. Many organizations only have 1-3 interviewing rounds, so you don’t need to have a million interview outfits. Find 2-4 outfits that you can continue to use. One outfit specific to first-round interviews, one for the follow-up interview, and a back-up interview outfit in case there is another interview. Here are some more tips: 

  • Shop for your interview attire early.
  • Purchase clothing with multi-use potential. 
  • Invest in impressive, classic, well-made separates that can be combined for a “professional” or “casual Friday” look.  
  • It is not necessary to buy high-priced, designer fashions.  Quality is key.
  • Begin by selecting your best “neutral” as a starting point for a professional wardrobe. Colors like black, dark gray, and navy are versatile. 
  • Use shirts/blouses/sweaters to create a variety of visual effects and adjust the formality of your wardrobe.  
  • Consider investing in year-round fabrics (something light weight that will be comfortable in both January and July) that hang and travel well. 

For more resources on interview attire, check out these links: