The What to Wear to a Job Interview Dilemma has puzzled even the most fashion-savvy of candidates for decades. On top of wanting to sound like the most accomplished version of yourself, you also want to look (and feel!) your best. But fear not, aspiring candidates — we’ve rounded up some of our favorite looks based on the type of interview you’re headed to.
The first step to pulling together the perfect interview look? Doing your research. Scroll through the company’s website, LinkedIn (or even Instagram) to gather intel on wardrobe expectations and general company culture. In recent years, the rules around interview clothing have become increasingly less clear-cut — especially as we continue to navigate this WFH world — so use whatever information you have at your disposal to help inform what you wear.
Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s get into the specifics:
1. What to Wear to a Formal Interview
Business professional attire tends to be the first thing that comes to mind for an interview that errs on the formal side. Although tailored menswear is a classic option, you’re not obligated to wear a full-on pantsuit (unless that’s your style, then by all means, go for it!). It truly varies by industry just how formal your interview outfit should be.
Whether you’re interviewing for a finance job, at a law firm or for a corporate position, keep the business professional dress code in mind by choosing pieces with simple colors and subtle prints and timeless silhouettes.
2. What to Wear to a Casual Interview
If you’re interviewing for a job in a creative field, like writing or graphic design, chances are you’ll encounter a much more casual interview experience, clothing expectations and all. Determining what to wear to an informal interview gives you much more fashion leeway, but, as we all know, that can actually make choosing the right outfit an even more challenging feat.
For a look that’s playful yet put-together, opt for a statement blouse in a memorable print and a midi skirt with modern flare (think asymmetry, wrap details or chic embellishments). A matching set in a classic print is also a great option — especially if you want to think about piecing an entire look together.
3. What to Wear to a Startup Interview
While most startup companies have a pretty relaxed dress code, wearing jeans to an interview still might not be in your best interest. It’s definitely crucial to have an interview outfit that boasts a hint of elevation, but you don’t want to overdo it.
Strike the perfect balance of professional and trendy with a polished monochromatic look. Choose a neutral color (white, black, gray – you name it!) and wear it head-to-toe. Try mixing textures and proportions for added interest.
4. What to Wear to an Internship Interview
Since you have yet to enter into the workforce full-time, it’s safe to assume that your wardrobe currently isn’t well stocked with professional attire. The solution? Rent a professional piece to dress up what you already have in your closet.
No matter what field you’re aiming to intern within, a classic midi dress paired with a tailored blazer is always a safe and stylish bet. Dresses aren’t your thing? Try a wide-leg pant and a timeless button-down shirt.
5. What to Wear to a Coffee Interview
Informational coffee interviews can be tricky in terms of finding the appropriate outfit. Since you and the interviewer are chatting casually outside the office, you certainly don’t have to pull out all the stops (read: leave the blazer at home). But as a sign of respect to the recruiter who agreed to take time out of their day to meet with you, you should still dress in a slightly elevated ensemble.
A formal dress or skirt feels unnecessary for this interview setting, but instead of reverting to jeans, opt for a fresh take on cropped culottes. Pair with a leather jacket that blends cool and casual to finish the look.
6. What to Wear to a Virtual Interview
As with in-person interviews, the key to virtual interview attire is to look professional, capable and polished. Wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident and reflects your personal style is important, but also remember that looking the part isn’t just for your potential future employer’s sake – it also helps you feel the part.
We’ve come up with a fail-proof outfit formula that can create a professional and stylish outfit in seconds. Read all about it here, but to summarize: statement top + sleek blazer + forgiving bottoms = the ultimate virtual interview outfit.