Dress for Success

professional clothing

How you dress for an interview is important. People tend to form an opinion of someone within a few seconds, so dress the part and present yourself in the best possible light. 

Tips to Dress for Success:

Research the Dress Code

  • Try to determine the company’s dress code before the interview. This will help you understand the formality expectations and how you can meet them.
  • If you are unsure of what to wear or if it seems to be a casual work environment, it is recommended to err on the side of caution and dress more professionally.

Choose Your Outfit

  • A suit is a rock-solid choice for an interview outfit. The best colors for an interview suit are black, gray, and navy/dark blue. Stay on the safe side by wearing a jacket. You can always take it off if you feel it’s a bit too formal for the interview.
  • You can look professional even if you do not have a well-fitting suit. Pair nice slacks with a silk blouse, a dressy sweater, or a button-down shirt.
  • If you wear a skirt, it should be knee-length. A trouser suit is also acceptable. Stick to dark and neutral colors such as black, navy, or gray.
  • Make sure your clothes are cleaned and pressed and that they fit properly.
  • Be comfortable in what you are wearing. If you feel comfortable, you will appear more confident.

Select Accessories

  • Flat shoes or low heels (1 to 2 inches) look professional. Avoid higher or spike heels. You don’t want to trip or get sore feet.
  • Belts and shoes should match and both be either black or brown.
  • For ties and socks, choose plain or simple patterns.
  • Jewelry should be simple and modest. An interview is not the time to experiment with dramatic or flashy jewelry.

Practice Good Hygiene

  • Shower, wear deodorant, and brush your teeth.
  • Do not overdo cologne/perfume. Smoking lingers, try not to smoke.
  • Keep your hair controlled and off your face. If it’s long or unruly, you might want to tie it back or put it up. Don’t fiddle with it during the interview.
  • Facial hair should be well-groomed. The clean-shaven, short-haired look may be your safest bet, but recruiters will not mind facial hair as long as it is neat and clean.
  • Keep make-up low-key and natural.
Need help finding professional attire?

Finding the right professional clothing can seem daunting, but learning how to dress for an interview is an important aspect of starting a career. The Spartan Attic in the Hill Center for Student Success offers free, gently used professional clothing to AU students. It is the perfect place to find attire for interviews, student teaching, presentations, and other formal events.