A Complete Guide to a Winning Interview Outfit

Job Interview Attire Basics

A job interview is your first step into the real world. We know you already have a lot of doubts and apprehensions. On top of this, you must have been told by your friends and family that in an interview, “first impression is the best impression.”

Before your anxiety hits the roof, let us tell you that looking your best in an interview is not as hard as you think it is. All you need is a little bit of preparation and lots of confidence.

To increase your interview success rate, we compiled here a list of rules and outfit ideas to nail that first interview. Let’s take a look at them:

Basic tips for a winning interview outfit/attire:

Winning Interview Outfit Tip #1: Choose your tone based on the company

  • Your look must be optimized based on the type of post and the company you are aiming for. Every company has a voice and work culture.
  • If your target company is conservative, stick to a classic, dark, two-piece suit in black or navy blue. You can complement a dark suit with a soft-hued blouse and matching accessories.
  • If it is a more casual tech company/ start-up, you can walk in a little more casually, without looking unkempt.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#2: Stay organized

  • You can carry a leather purse or briefcase to keep all your files and other necessities sorted and accessible. You wouldn’t want to fumble in your file when asked to produce a document. So, stay organized.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#3: Don’t overdo your makeup

  • Though you want to look your best, wearing too much makeup is an instant turn-off. Make sure that you keep your makeup minimal. Choose tones closest to your natural skin color. Don’t use bold red or maroon lip color. Using water-proof eye makeup is a good idea, to avoid smudging.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#4: Check your nails

  • Manicure your nails and use a neutral polish. Using bright shades like blue or orange can prove to be too loud and distracting.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#5: Do your hair

  • Stick to a simple hair style and neatly pin your tresses so that they don’t fall over your face. Your interviewer might find it annoying if you have to keep pushing your hair off your eyes.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#6: Wear clean and polished shoes

  • Pick a pair of shoes based on your level of comfort with heels. You wouldn’t want to struggle with stilettos just because they are stylish.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#7: Keep the bling minimal

  • Hanging earrings and shiny bracelets are an absolute no-no. Too much bling can distract your interviewer from what you have to say, and we know you don’t want this. A conservative watch with simple link or leather band is a good option.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#8: Be prepared

  • Carry a black or neutral colored trench coat, to stay prepared for inclement weather.

Winning Interview Outfit Tip#9: Don’t choose the wrong size

  • Don’t choose extremely form fitting garments. They are both uncomfortable, and unpleasant to look at.

How to select your interview outfit based on the job?

Like we mentioned above, the tone of your outfit must be based on the culture and tone of your target company and the role you are applying for. The idea is to look stylish without making too loud a statement. The outfit you choose must be reflective of your personality. So, be yourself. Let’s take a look at a few guidelines and outfit ideas to help you do the same:

  • For a start-up/ tech company: If you are aiming for a trendy and casual software/tech start-up, chances are your two-piece suit will make you look over-dressed. A start-up environment is likely to be more laid-back. So, the trick is to choose an outfit that is not too sloppy, but still casual. A set of trim trousers, a semi-formal blouse or sweater top, and closed-toed flat shoes luxe backpack make a winner!
  • For the role an executive: For the role of a personal assistant or an executive, you need to look like you mean business without being too loud. You can wear a pair of culottes or other loose-fitting trousers, a silk blouse, and an embellished jacket. A pair of platform heels blends perfectly with this look.
  • For the role of a teacher: Though you don’t have to wear a complete suit, this role calls for a level of sophistication. You can wear a knee-length pleated or pencil skirt, a matching blouse, cardigan/ blazer, and a pair of flats. A classic timepiece perfectly complements this look.
  • For the role of a fashion designer: This is the time that calls for all your sense for fashion. You would want a look that perfectly conveys your sense of style, but is still not too loud. Go for a sleek suit and pair it with suave accessories. You can also carry a statement tote bag, and stylish stilettos.
  • For the role of a manager: The role of a manager calls for an outfit that shows people you are in control. You can choose a pretty patterned blouse, a skirt or trim, form-fitting trousers, and a pair of stilettos. Now’s the time to go for that sleek steel watch. A briefcase perfectly complements this look.
  • For a creative role: A creative role such as that of a graphic designer or copywriter calls for a look that perfectly resonates with your personality. You can try something funky but not too unusual like a flowy tunic and wide-legged trousers. Pair this look with a pair of platform heels and you have a winner. Get original with your accessories here.
  • For the corporate role: Let people know you are in full control by donning a classic tailored-to-fit suit, a pair of peep toes or kitten heels and a top-handle bag. You make this unique by pairing the suit with a sleek, patterned shirt and a neat timepiece. The idea is to stand out from the group and still blend in.

Final thoughts before winding up:

  • Ideal color palette: Select shades from the pastel or earthy color palettes. These are eye-pleasing as they are not too bright. They’ll give you a look of sophistication and will help you stand out from the crowd without drawing too much attention.
  • If you are unsure about the work culture and norms in your target company, play it safe by sticking to a classic, well-tailored suit.
  • Make sure that your clothes are properly pressed to ensure crisp cuffs, collar, and plackets.
  • The bag and other accessories you choose have to be neat, sleek and sophisticated. A leather briefcase/ top handle bag in brown or black is a good choice. Select your belt to match with your leather bag for a more coordinated look.
  • Patterns to choose: Choose simple, eye-pleasing patterns that best complement your outfit. If you are wearing a business suit, selecting a patterned shirt with large polka dots is a ready turn-off. So choose a pattern that matches your style and is still not too loud. Close pinstripes go well with your formal suit.

You can experiment with neat and simple floral patterns if you are applying for a creative position. Make sure that your style represents who you are.

There you go! You now know everything there is to know about nailing your interview outfit. Remember that you are aiming at looking your best self. Your attire may not land you that first job/internship, but it sure is going to speak volumes about your style and personality.

Whatever you choose to wear, without a generous dusting of confidence, it’s likely to get you nowhere.  So broaden your shoulders and walk a few inches taller than normal. It’s your day, and we know you will make the most out of it. Break a leg!