What to Wear to a Job Interview

May 1, 2018 by Blair Donovan

The severely contested question of what to wear to a job interview has puzzled even the most fashion-savvy of candidates for decades. Does a cool jumpsuit seem on par with dressing for the corporate job you want, or does it completely scream “missed the mark?” Will your go-to pair of printed heels command the room, or come off as too distracting? Stressing over outfit options has become about as time-consuming as preparing for the interview itself.

Fear not, aspiring interview candidates—whether you’re off to a networking coffee date or prepping for a formal in-person interview for your dream job, take cues from the following looks that read ultra-polished. Once you’ve garnered inspiration and officially pegged the perfect outfit, you can go back to freshen up your resume, fine-tune your elevator pitch, and practice your power stance. After all, renting, rather than spending hours scouring the shops for a fresh look, frees up time (and is kind to your wallet).

1. What to Wear to a Formal Interview: Business-Appropriate That’s Far From Boring

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COAT: GREYLIN BRENDA

Business professional attire for an interview tends to be the first thing that comes to mind for a meet and greet that errs on the formal side. Although tailored menswear is having a moment, you’re not obligated to invest in a full-on pantsuit (unless that’s your style, then by all means, go for it!). It truly varies by industry just how formal you should approach your interview outfit, and the recruiter will hopefully specify prior to your meeting. But the bright side is that you don’t have to give style the boot for the sake of appearing completely professional.

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, classic silhouettes and clean lines. Stick to basic black fitted dress pants and heels, but showcase your personal style with a cool trenchcoat to give the effect of an oversized formal blazer. With a chic topper as your designated statement piece, try to keep accessories to a minimum.

2. What to Wear to a Casual Interview: Trendy and Tasteful

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TOP: DEREK LAM 10 CROSBY, SKIRT: TIBI

If you’re interviewing for a job within 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 outfit option leeway, but, as we all know, that can actually make browsing through your at-home wardrobe an even more challenging feat. Luckily, renting from your closet in the cloud allows for infinite optionality.

For a casual interview outfit that still says “hire me,” enlist the help of a floral blouse that’s bound to be a conversation starter (aside from your astounding credentials, of course). A knee-length skirt with modern flare (think asymmetry, wrap details or subtle prints) balances playful and put together. As for footwear, dress the overall outfit up a bit while staying comfortable with black ankle-strap block heels.

3. What to Wear to a Startup Interview: Basics with a Twist

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JACKET: SAYLOR

While most startup companies stick to a pretty lax employee dress code, wearing jeans to an interview still might not be in your best interest. It’s definitely crucial to sport an interview outfit that boasts a hint of elevation. But, of course, you don’t want to overdo Despite entering into a completely relaxed environment, surrounded by casually dressed techies, communications gurus, and the likes, this situation demands an HR-approved look.

Find the perfect balance of smart interview clothes with a dressed-down LBD.  Opt for a casual neutral number (that’s an appropriate length, of course!) to make an appearance, but stick within the laid-back realm through your accessories. Layer with a modern-meets-sporty bomber jacket and style with simple black booties to tie the outfit together. You can never go wrong with a classic, neutral black and white color scheme that won’t divert the interviewer’s attention away from your winning accomplishments.

4. What to Wear to an Internship Interview: Put Together, Yet Down to Earth

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SKIRT: MSGM

Since you have yet to enter into the job industry full-time, it’s safe to assume that your wardrobe currently isn’t well stocked with workwear. The solution? Rent a professional piece to dress up your essentials at home. Even if you’re not well versed in the workforce dress code, it’s easier than ever to look the part and ace your first impression with the recruiter, especially if you’re applying for your first internship.

No matter what field you’re aiming to intern within, wearing a midi skirt to an interview is always a safe and stylish bet. You can truly never go wrong with a tasteful and flattering shift dress or skirt to earn major points during the interview. Take it one step further, though, for a completely memorable look—toss a simple sweater over a rented dress or skirt, then throw a thin belt over top around your upper waist.

5.What to Wear to a Coffee Interview: Effortless with an Edge

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JACKET: SLATE & WILLOW, PANTS: DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

Coffee networking dates can be tricky in terms of finding the appropriate outfit. Since you and the interviewer are chatting over a cup of joe, you certainly don’t have to pull out all the stops (read: leave the blazer at home). Still, as a sign of respect to the recruiter partaking in this informational interview, display your professional privy beyond what’s on your resume—make your appearance count, too, and go for a slightly elevated ensemble.

A 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 and throw on your favorite loafers to finish the look. This outfit will read sophisticated and accentuate your professional prowess.