High five. You’ve just scored a job interview. Your resume is pristine (sparkling, in fact) and you’ve practiced answering interview questions to near flawless ability. However, there’s just one thing you haven’t figured out. What on earth are you going to wear?
We’ve already helped men decide what to wear for an interview, so now it’s time to help the ladies out. Initially, plan an outfit for an interview by considering the following: the vibe of the establishment, practicality (how do you need to dress to get the job done?), and presentation (is the outfit clean and wrinkle free?).
It’s a dilemma that plagues many occasions, but never fear, your next job interview will not be one of them. Below are a few foolproof tips to apply to picking the perfect outfit to let your future boss know that you’re the right hire.
The Trendy Job
The fun part about working somewhere creative is that your superiors will want to see your creative side! Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through with your interview outfit. Just make sure that it’s presentable and office-appropriate. Think about what you would be wearing to work if you got the job — and aim for one degree of professionalism above the norm.
For example, if you’re interviewing for a job at a boutique where the sales associates are dressed pretty casually, maybe opt for a cute dress and heels or trendy slacks and blouse. However, if you’re interviewing for a design studio where the office is more of a business-casual environment, dress it up a little more by adding a blazer or a button down.
Still, you won’t need to stick to the “black skirt, black blazer, white shirt” formula. Patterned button downs, colored slacks, or a matching monochrome suit are trendy pieces that will make you stand out while keeping it office-cool.
The Professional Office Job
Regardless of how professional your office expects you to dress on a daily basis, it’s always best to go with a suit for your first interview at a corporate office. You can easily throw together a presentable (and chic!) suit with 4 simple items: a pencil skirt, a button down, a blazer, and heels or flats.
The most classic look is the black skirt, blazer, and pumps with a white shirt, but feel free to mix it up a bit! Grey suits also look good, and an all-black ensemble can be a striking and sleek look.
Again, for the first interview it’s best to look as professional, so steer clear of bright colors for now. If you go to the office and see someone rocking a hot pink button down or notice that no one wears blazers, you can adapt your wardrobe accordingly for your second interview.
The Startup Job
Startups are known for their super laid-back “tech bro” dress code, which can certainly apply to women as well! While a day at the office might call for the notorious jeans, New Balance sneakers, company tee shirt, and hoodie, you should always aim to dress one step up from “office casual” for an interview.
After all, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Still, startups really stress “culture,” and if you show up in a business formal suit, the hiring manager might not see you as a good culture fit for the company. A good bet would be a well-tailored pair of black pants, flats or boots, and a button-down blouse.
An outfit like this shows that you care enough to put yourself together but that you still have a casual, laid-back personality — what a winning combination!
The Casual Job
Similar to the startup job, a casual job such as a sales associate, waitress or hostess, or barista can leave you asking, “What am I supposed to wear to an interview?” Say you know the coffee shop you want to work at is super laid back.
I mean, your favorite barista almost always wears a crop top with a visible bandeau bra peeking out under her arms! While you’ll likely be dressing comfortable and casual if you get the job, it’s still best to make yourself look as presentable as possible while still looking like a good culture fit for the establishment.
Again, a good option is always jeans, cute boots, and a blouse. Depending on the establishment, you could also wear a tee shirt (provided it’s not cropped and covers up the ladies accordingly).
However, if you’re interviewing for a slightly fancier job such as a hostess for a nice restaurant, it might be best to dress it up a bit more with a button down or slacks. Again, if you have any questions about how you should be dressed, it’s never a bad idea to reach out to the manager and ask.
The Outdoorsy Job
For a job outdoors, you might want to take into account where the interview will be happening. If you’re being interviewed at an office, you might want to lean towards the more business casual look mentioned in the startup and casual job sections.
However, if you know that you’ll be interviewing at the location of the job and might have to display skills you would use (such as CPR, swimming, or running if you’re interviewing to work as an outdoor camp counselor), it’s safe to assume that you should dress in clothes best suited for those activities. As always, if you’re unsure about what your interview will entail, don’t hesitate to reach out to your hiring manager and ask.