There are few times in your life when it will feel more important to make a great impression than at a job interview. You want to dress to impress but not look overdone. You want clothes that flatter you, but not make it look like you're trying too hard.
Choosing the perfect interview outfit can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be stressful. Here are our four favorite interview outfits and some tips to help you pick a look that will make you walk into the interview with confidence.
Rules for Picking an Interview Outfit
The right interview outfit won't be the same for every person or every job. Here are some essential rules to help you pick a great interview outfit.
1. Mirror What The People Already There are Wearing
You're going to look more formal at your interview than what is required of you during your daily business for the vast majority of jobs you apply to. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be paying attention to what is already worn in the office. If you're interviewing somewhere that jackets and ties are typically worn, know that you will have to look exceptionally formal and very put together to make a good impression.
However, if you're interviewing somewhere with more relaxed dress codes, you may want to dress it down with a nice dress shirt and pair of pants so as not to seem like you are trying too hard. Pay attention to what people in your office are wearing to make a good choice.
2. Keep it Neutral
When you are a big shot in the office, you can rock whatever bold color and pattern choices you feel like, but when you're going to the interview, it's best to keep it low-key. You want to make a great impression, but you don't want your outfit to be what sticks in the interviewer's mind. Pick neutral, toned-down colors that evoke professionalism, whatever you choose.
3.Look Your Best
You don't have to pay for extremely expensive interview clothes, but you do want to choose high-quality clothes with little or no wear. Ideally, you'll have a couple of outfits set aside only for interviews.
This way, you become comfortable wearing the clothes, but they don't get worn out with normal use. You want everything to be as starched and clean-cut as possible.
Pick a high-quality dress shirt that comes with metal collar stays so that your collar will be sharp and crisp. Don't settle for cheaper plastic collar stays that don't work as effectively.
Be sure that the fit of your clothes is perfect. This is not the time to wear that pair of pants that are a little bit too loose for you or that dress shirt that has a tendency to come untucked.
Everything you wear to your interview should fit you perfectly when you're sitting and standing. It's best to choose pants that don't require ironing so they won't wrinkle while you're waiting for your interview.
A shirt-gripping waistband makes it much less likely that your shirt will become untucked at the least opportune moment.
Our Four Favorite Outfits
Now that you have the basic rules in mind, here are the outfits that we think will look outstanding for your next interview.
1. White Shirt, Melange Grey Pants
Men with dark hair and skin will look excellent in this outfit. If you want to wear lighter colored pants but you don't want khaki, melange gray pants are a great solution.
This is a classic look that makes you look both stylish and professional. It's also very easy to pair with an attractive jacket and tie if you need to dress it up even further.
2. Contrast Shirt and Black Pants
If you are interviewing somewhere that is very stylish and trendy, you want to make a nod to that professional atmosphere without seeming disrespectful by not wearing an outfit that is professional enough. A contrast shirt with black pants is the perfect solution.
A skull contrast shirt looks perfectly professional and will make a great impression, but when you get close to the interviewer, they may notice a bit of the trendy pattern at the sleeves and the collar. If the interview goes great and you end up going out with some potential new colleagues for drinks after, you can roll up your sleeves to reveal the contrast pattern for a great look at the bar as well.
3. Houndstooth Shirt and Navy Pants
Do you want to make a very professional impression without overdoing it? Houndstooth is a classic pattern that is subtle enough to almost look solid at a distance but provides a lot of texture and distinction up close. Pairing a great color of this pattern with navy pants is an ideal way to make yourself look smarter and cooler all at once. If the job you're interviewing for requires you to have a razor-sharp mind, dress like you can do serious calculations and look cool doing it.
4. Blue Gingham and Khaki Pants
If you're interviewing somewhere that requires a professional appearance but values physical ability, this might be the right outfit for you. This is also a great outfit for anyone with lighter skin.
Blue gingham is a bolder pattern but in no way inappropriate for the workplace. It will help you to blend in with a workplace that does not have heavily-formal attire while still making you look great for your interview. Blue gingham pairs excellently with khaki pants. This is an outfit that will look very put together and deliberate without making it seem like you are out of place or dressing up too much.
Go Into Your Interview with Confidence
The right outfit can do a lot to help you succeed in your interview. Clothes that fit you very comfortably take your mind off of what you're wearing and make you feel at ease in your skin. Here are a few tips to help you feel confident about what you're wearing to the interview and how you're going to perform at it.
Choose Comfortable Pants
The vast majority of interviews are conducted with you sitting at a desk. Pants that you feel comfortable in our absolutely essential. It's best if pants have some stretch to them so that they won't feel like they're cutting into your stomach or riding up when you sit down.
Make sure that you've worn them at least once or twice before you go into the interview, although they should not be pants that you have worn very much.
Pick Clothes You Love
You should stick to even, mellow tones, but that doesn't mean you can't choose the colors and looks that you feel flatter you and that make you feel good. Ensure that the clothes you choose make you feel good about yourself and confident about how you look in them.
It doesn't matter if everybody around you tells you you look great on your interview day. If you don't feel confident about how you look, it will come through in the interview.
Have a Great Interview
Choose one of these four interview outfits or play around with your own ideas based on our tips, and you are likely to find that you'll feel more confident about your interview outfit than you ever have in the past.
What you're wearing may seem like a small thing compared to everything else on your mind when you're going into an interview, but a great first impression is important, so choosing the right clothes matters.