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What to Wear to an Interview: Best Attire for Women

First impressions last. Dressing appropriately for your interview is just as important as writing your resume and cover letter. Showing yourself polished and well-dressed shows that you put effort into yourself and the organization. But what is the best interview attire for women? How do you dress for the job that you want?

Let’s be clear here. There are no hard rules or easy solutions for the best interview attire for women. Different companies and professions require different dress codes. Some companies will require you to wear business casual attire. Also, there are some companies that don’t mind this as long as you don’t show up wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

With that being said, the best interview attire for women is entirely dependent on the workplace and culture of the company you are stepping into. 

What to wear to an interview according to the industry or department

Business Professional: Corporations, financial institutions, accounting firms, law firms, high-level governmental institutions

Business Casual: Sales, government agencies, education, retail, small business, tech, engineering, real estate

Casual: Repair, landscaping, plumbing, construction

Fashionable: Entertainment, fashion, graphic design, travel, music

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5 interview attire tips for women

Since every company is different in what they consider an appropriate workplace attire, let’s set a few rules for you to follow when planning your interview attire.

1. Do your homework and research the office dress code

The first step that you should do is to research the company to determine their dress code. When you received an invitation for an interview, the human resource person or the hiring manager usually indicates what attire you should wear. 

However, there are instances where the dress code is not mentioned. When this happens, you can find out what the company dress code is by considering the role and the industry mentioned in our list in the previous section. 

When you are still unsure, then, use these tips to determine the company dress code:

  • Try calling the company’s HR department and confirm their dress code.
  • Look at what your manager is wearing. They are one of the front people of the company. The way they are dressed determines the good impression of the company.
  • Different departments in a company sometimes have their own dress codes. Find out what your potential colleagues or team are wearing. 
  • Visit the company’s website or social media accounts and look at pictures of the team or company events.

2. Dress conventionally

A good rule of thumb is to wear one of your most conservative outfits in your wardrobe. Dress simple, traditional, and understated. Keep your color choices muted and not loud. Your personality should shine in the interview and not your clothes.

Here are fundamental building blocks of how women dress conventionally to a professional interview:

  • Go for neutral-colored clothes, shoes, and accessories.
  • Do not wear revealing clothes plunging necklines, tight and skimpy outfits.
  • Avoid wearing too much or too big pieces of jewelry.
  • Wear conservative shoes. Keep the heels moderate, not more than 3 inches, and not completely flat (as much as possible).

3. Put your best face forward by wearing simple makeup

Avoid overdoing your makeup. You want to appear natural and professional during your interview. Choose shades that are closer to your skin tone so it won’t appear loud and distracting to the interviewer. 

In some workplaces, makeup is a part of their dress code. But generally, for makeup to be considered professional, it should be subtle enough to enhance your features. The more natural your makeup is, the more you appear professional-looking.

That being said, you should skip wearing false eyelashes, clumpy mascara, bright lipstick, and overly-colorful eye shadows. Go for the “no makeup” makeup look. The most important thing is that you convey neatness, competence, and attention to detail through your appearance. 

The good news is that you can learn how to do makeup online and take makeup classes for beginners with Skill Success online courses like the Makeup For Beginners: Effortless Makeup And Beauty For Women.

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4. Choose your color to wear wisely

Deciding what color of your shirt to wear to an interview? Each color elicits a different impression, and that is because of color psychology. Color psychology can influence mood, signal action, and influence psychological reactions. According to an article published by Cornell University, there are certain colors that work well for certain career types. 

For example, if you want to appear as a trustworthy professional, blues, blacks, or grays are a good choice for a more traditional job in fields such as law, business, and banking. 

If you want to convey a personality that is easy-going, creative, or unique, wear green, purple, or yellow shade. These colors are perfect for positions in more creative fields.

You should also consider your skin tone as there are colors that complement different skin colors. Determine whether your skin is pale, medium, or dark. If you have pale skin, contrast it with a darker color outfit like bolder shades of blue, grey, brown, burgundy, and bottle green.

For a medium skin tone, wear warm colors such as rich browns, orange-yellow, olive green, deep reds, and purples. Lastly, for darker skin tone, wear rich, deep colors like emerald green, sapphire blue, royal purple. Black, dark gray, and navy also work well with dark skin tones.

5. Choose a professional handbag or briefcase to carry on a job interview

Complete your look by choosing a bag that matches your shoes or other leather accessories, such as a belt or wrist watch. If you are planning to bring your resume, make sure that your copy will fit in your bag neatly to protect it. Choose a bag with minimal patterns or extra design; one that will highlight your outfit. The interviewer’s attention should be on you and not on your bag.

Getting dressed for a job interview can be nerve-wracking. You need to appear professional and look good at the same time. A good interview outfit can help with your confidence going into the interview. Wearing a professional outfit can have a drastic impact on how you think about yourself. So make sure that you wear a comfortable and fashionable attire that will make you feel confident and relaxed during your interview.

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