Dress for Success: What to Wear for In-Person Interviews

Before you even shake hands with the interviewer, you've already made an impression based on your attire. Your on-paper qualifications could surpass other applicants, but your presentation and nonverbal cues are just as important in confirming that you’re the ideal candidate. A well-thought-out outfit can help connote maturity, competency, and professionalism. So, make sure you dress to communicate this message. If you’re unsure of the company’s dress code, ask your HR point of contact or call the office. When in doubt, lean toward a more conservative look to dress for the job you want.

For business formal settings, wear a suit jacket with dress pants or a knee-length skirt. The outfit should be of darker, more neutral colors so avoid loud pigments or prints. If you want to add a little personality to the typical corporate look, choose a blouse or shell of a dark, simple shade, such as burgundy or sapphire blue. Ann Taylor is our go-to destination for these tops. In terms of shoes, make sure you wear a comfortable pair in case it turns into an all-day interview. If you have never worn stiletto heels for more than a few hours, it’s best not to break your PR on an important day like this. We suggest classic black pumps, kitten heels or flats, as long as your toes are enclosed (no peep-toes or open heels).

Organizations not as client- or customer-facing often allow business casual attire. In this case, opt for a more relaxed but polished look. Vibrant colors or loud prints are still a no-go, although you can introduce subtle prints in your shoes or blouse. You can pair a nice blazer with dark wash jeans or cropped dress pants to add a bit of trendiness. Once again, avoid open toed or back shoes you’d wear for a night out on the town; stick with the classic low-heeled pumps.

There a few rules of thumb to follow regardless of whether you’re wearing a formal or casual ensemble. Firstly, your shoulders should be covered, whether with a jacket or sleeved blouse. Jewelry and accessories should be kept to a minimum as to not look flashy or distract the interviewer during conversation. Makeup and nail polish should be understated. We know this rule can be difficult for ladies who love to express themselves visually, but save it for after you land the job.

Lastly, go in with confidence! With these style tips and your interview prep, know you have what it takes to rock the Q&A. Nothing creates a more positive, dignified aura than entering the room with a can-do attitude.

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