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What Not To Wear to an Interview

skills to help you get hired

It’s crucial to consider the impact of your attire on your job interview outcomes. The right outfit can enhance your confidence and set you apart from other candidates, while inappropriate attire can undermine your chances of securing your dream job.


If your wardrobe is lacking suitable interview clothes, consider this an opportunity to invest in your professional image. Refreshing your interview attire can be a strategic move, ensuring you make a positive impression.

What Not To Wear To a Job Interview

Here are some essential guidelines to avoid common attire mistakes for job interviews:

Opt for Subdued Attire

In business settings, it’s best to choose conservative, subdued clothing. Bright, flashy outfits can be distracting and may not convey the desired level of professionalism. Stick to solid, neutral colors like black, gray, brown, or navy blue. These colors are universally accepted in professional environments. However, if you’re interviewing in the creative or fashion industry, more creative and vibrant outfits might be appropriate.

Avoid Overly Casual Clothing

Even if the company culture is casual, it’s important to avoid overly casual attire for your interview. This includes items like pajamas, wrinkled clothes, hoodies, hats, shorts, flip-flops, and ripped jeans. Wearing such attire could give the impression of a lackadaisical attitude and hurt your chances of being hired.

Ensure Proper Fit

Clothes that are either too large or too tight can detract from your professional image. A suit that doesn’t fit properly, regardless of its price, can negatively impact the perception of your attention to detail. If your current wardrobe doesn’t fit well, consider investing in new, well-fitting items or having clothes tailored to your measurements.

Avoid Revealing or Ripped Clothing

Your interview attire should be modest and professional. Avoid clothing that is overly revealing or features rips and holes. While these styles might be fashionable in social settings, they are generally not appropriate for interviews.

Be Mindful with Accessories

Accessories should complement your outfit without becoming a distraction. This is particularly relevant to jewelry and perfume. Choose understated pieces and opt for lightly scented or unscented perfume to avoid overpowering the interview space. Remember, your attire is an extension of your professional brand. It should reflect the level of respect you have for the opportunity and the organization you are interviewing with. As a career coach, I emphasize the importance of making a positive first impression, where your choice of attire plays a significant role.

Subtle Makeup and Jewelry

Keep your makeup light and professional. Avoid heavy eyeliner or dramatic eyebrow styles. If you choose to wear jewelry, opt for simple pieces like a watch and understated earrings. Ensure that your watch doesn’t have an alarm that could interrupt the interview. Your hairstyle should also be neat, simple, and professional.

Professional Footwear

Your shoes should complement your attire and maintain professionalism. Avoid overly casual footwear like flip-flops or sandals, except for conservative open-toed or slightly heeled sandals. High heels or brightly colored shoes can be distracting. Ensure your shoes fit well and are in good condition. Ill-fitting, worn, or dirty shoes can detract from your overall appearance and may even cause discomfort during the interview.

Dress Appropriately for the Role

Your attire should reflect the position for which you are interviewing. Dressing too casually for a senior role can give the impression of a lack of seriousness. While modesty is key, it’s also important to exhibit a level of sophistication and charisma befitting the role.

Avoid Athletic Clothing

Despite their comfort and popularity, athletic clothes like yoga pants are generally not suitable for job interviews, especially in more traditional corporate settings.

Be Mindful of Headwear

Caps, hats, and hoodies are typically not appropriate for interviews, with exceptions for religious or cultural headwear like hijabs. It’s important to adhere to these norms unless the company culture explicitly allows for more casual attire.

Consider Company Culture Regarding Tattoos and Piercings

If unsure about the company’s stance on tattoos and piercings, it’s safer to cover tattoos and remove visible piercings for the interview, particularly in more conservative industries. This includes nose rings and multiple earrings for women, and all earrings for men, unless they are accepted in the company culture.

These guidelines are designed to help you present yourself in the best possible light during your interview, ensuring that the focus remains on your qualifications and suitability for the role.

Remember, your appearance is often the first impression you make, so it’s important to strike the right balance between professionalism and personal style.

In a Nutshell, What Not to Wear:

  • Avoid wearing shorts, ripped jeans, and tight or short skirts.
  • Ensure undergarments such as pants, bras, or boxers are not visible through your clothing.
  • Steer clear of tops that are excessively short or low-cut, revealing your belly button or cleavage.
  • Choose pants that do not reveal the top of your underwear or are too low-rise.
  • Avoid wearing strong cologne or perfume.
  • Refrain from flashy clothing and overly bold jewelry.
  • Do not wear any outfit that causes discomfort or restricts movement.
  • Avoid presenting yourself in a dirty or wrinkled outfit.
  • Leave earbuds and headphones at home.
  • Ensure that your underwear is not visible.

Additionally, it’s important to tailor your attire to the company’s dress culture:

  • Research the Company’s Dress Code: Before choosing your interview attire, research the company’s dress culture. This ensures you don’t feel out of place or inadvertently signal a lack of understanding of the company’s environment. For example, dressing in a formal suit for a company that embraces casual wear might make you appear disconnected from their culture.
  • Plan Ahead: If you’re job hunting, it’s wise to prepare in advance. Keep one or two suitable interview outfits ready in your wardrobe to avoid last-minute panic.

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below, you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic

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