Dress for Success
This section has tips and ideas so you can choose the perfect interview outfit.
What should I wear to my interview?
It's important to present yourself in a neat and clean way, but 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, and 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.
- 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 off your outfit to family, friends, or even us at the CDC.
- Use the internet – research 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 already own clothes 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 find 2-4 outfits that you can cycle through. 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.
- It is not necessary to buy high-priced, designer fashions. Quality is key.
- Buy “neutral” as a starting point. 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.