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What to Wear to a Job Interview: Style Guide for Women

How you dress to an interview plays a role in your success or failure. It gives your prospective employer an idea of how professional you are or intend to be. And it contributes a lot to give you a good first impression when you arrive at the venue. If you’ve been wondering or contemplating on the right outfit to wear to an upcoming interview you have, don’t stop reading just yet. In this article is a style guide for women on what to wear to a job interview.

While what you have upstairs matters a lot, how you carry yourself also plays a big role in determining if you’d get the job or not. So, if you really want to ace that interview and get on the payroll of that organisation, go through our style guide for women on what to wear to an interview and adjust your wardrobe to suit your goal.

Why Dress Well to an Interview?

You can be as happy as this woman if you dress well for your interview

As they always say, first impression matters. The number one trait of yours that leaves an impression on the hiring team is how you look or dress. You don’t necessarily need to have a stringent skincare routine to look good to an interview. But your skin has to look good to portray you in a healthy light.

Similarly, you don’t need to wear trendy outfits to meet your prospective employers or prove that you know how to dress with style. Simply follow this guide on what to wear to a job interview and be sure that so long as you pass the written or oral test while abiding by what we say here, you’ll have the job.

Moreover, once it’s certain the job is yours, endeavour to go through the style tips for working class ladies to maintain your good impression in the eyes of your boss, subordinates and colleagues as the case may be.

What to Wear to An Interview As a Woman

lady in pink blazer and white/black stripped skirt, ready for a job interview
Step into that interview like this and boss it!

Edith Head meant no joke when she said “you can have everything in life if you dress for it”. Let’s make it specific by rephrasing to say: “you can have that job if you dress for it.”

This article won’t tell you the pieces to wear to that job interview alone. You already have the skirts, the blazers, the suits, the pants, the button-down shirts, the blouses, the flats, the heels and what have you. We’ll also give you a guide on how to combine them appropriately to make you the perfect candidate no employer would be able to turn down.

Therefore, you can wear any of these to an interview:

  • Button-down shirts (they always look great when tucked in)
  • Dress pants, khaki
  • Tailored blazers (for days when you wear sleeveless)
  • Knee-length/midi pencil or flare skirts and dresses
  • Plain-coloured or patterned blouses with moderate details
  • Short or long sleeves (you could wear sleeveless if the company allows it. If not, pair with a blazer)
  • Close-toed shoes; low-heeled or flat. However, some offices permit sandals. You wouldn’t know unless you do your homework.
  • Simple stud or hoop earrings, moderate bracelet, necklace or wristwatch.
  • Black, brown or nude handbags
  • Little black dress (it’s a must-have wardrobe essential for every woman. Make sure it at least grazes your knees).
  • Sweaters and Cardigans

Principles on How to Dress for an Interview

When thinking of what to wear to an interview, always remember these:

1. Do Your Research

Before leaving your house to meet the HR team, you have to do some bit of research on the company. Find out what they do, their core values and their dress code too. While some organisations accept only formal office wear, others welcome business casual outfits as a norm and native wears towards the end of the week. You can visit the company’s website to have a glimpse of their work culture. If you find nothing, it won’t be a bad idea to find out the organisation’s dress code from the Human Resource Manager.

2. Be Moderate

Always dress conservatively while in a formal environment. We know you’re stylish and up-to-date with the latest fashion trends. But unless you’re applying to work in a fashion house, you don’t have to announce to them on your first day that your style is loud and bold. Your dresses must have sleeves and your colours should be mild, neutral or dark. Just keep it simple.

3. Go For Neutral Colors

lady dressed in a brown dress for work

Always opt for neutral colours when dressing for a job interview. Your outfits should be mostly in black, white, grey, navy blue, beige, brown colours, etc. This is important so as to reinforce simplicity and avoid drawing too much attention which could end up causing a distraction. If you want to wear bold colours, then blend it with simplicity. For instance, you could pair a bright-coloured shirt with black or navy blue pants. Your shoes and accessories could be bold while the rest of your outfits are in moderation.

The same applies to your handbags. Neutral coloured handbags such as black, brown, nude, etc., are very much suitable to be included in what to wear to a job interview. If you’ll be taking your credentials along with you, ensure they fit into the handbag properly without getting ruffled.

4. Be Professional

lady wearing white dress with heels

If the dress code of the office is a business casual one, then you don’t have to look too formal. No need for a suit; just pair your pants with a sweater. You can also wear a button-down shirt with a skirt or you wear a knee-length dress and pair with a tailored blazer for warmth.

5. Your Footwear Must Complement Your Attire

If you know how to walk comfortably in heels, you could give them a shot to your job interview. Just make sure the heels you’ll be wearing aren’t open-toed. This doesn’t mean your heels should be too high so you don’t end up attracting unnecessary attention. If on the other hand, you don’t want to add a lot of topping to your height, opt for flats or low heels.

 If the work environment is a casual one, you can wear sneakers paired with jeans. Remember the first principle: do your homework on the organisation and find out their dress code.

6. Avoid Showing Too Much Skin

This is important. You’re not headed for a party. Your destination is a pitch for employment and as such, you don’t have to show any skin. No professional job requires you to show much skin. This means that the neckline and hemline of your dresses should be modest enough to cover your cleavage and thighs respectively. They shouldn’t reveal anything at all. Keep your short skirts, off-shoulder and sleeveless tops for your girls-night-out or dates. It’s not for the office and shouldn’t even be worn to an interview.

7. Wear a Statement Piece

Oops! This sounds contradictory, right? That’s true. But you can actually be conservative while wearing a statement dress. It’s simple. Your statement dress could be one that has a bold or interesting colour. If this is it, then your accessories should be very mild. That is, wear stud earrings, black shoes and carry a black handbag. Your dress is already making a statement, you don’t need any more accents.

8. Wear Your Clothes Before Wearing Your Clothes

Before the D-Day, test your clothes to know how they fit and how you’d look. You could stand in front of a mirror to examine yourself and know if the clothes are okay. If they aren’t okay, doing this will ensure you look for something else to wear on time.

What Not to Wear to a Job Interview

Don’t wear clothes that are revealing for a job interview

1. Excessive Perfume

Remember you’re going to get a job and not some unnecessary attention. So, your perfume doesn’t necessarily need to announce your presence loudly while in an interview. Just make sure your scents are at a minimum because they could be irritating to some other person and end up triggering an allergic reaction.

2. Low-cut Necklines and Hemlines

They wound up showing too much skin. You don’t need them if you want to pass that interview. Refer to principle six for emphasis.

3. Flip-flops

Save this for the weekend.

4. Heavy Makeup

You’re going to sell your intellect and not your makeup skills (unless it’s a makeup artist job you’re applying for). Your makeup has to be simple yet flattering enough to enhance your beauty. You don’t have to layer so much foundation or wear a bold-coloured lipstick too.

5. Dirty Clothes

Nobody has to tell you this. First impression always matters.

6. Rumpled Clothes

Well, read number five again.

7. Too Much Accessories

You don’t have to wear so much jewelry or accessories. Just pick a beautiful one and you’re good to go.

8. Crop Tops and Tees

Save them for your casual outings

Now you know what to wear to a job interview and how exactly you should look in order to ace it. While you think of your clothes, bags and shoes, you should also ensure your hair is neat and appropriate. You don’t have to wear a hairdo that distracts your interviewer from your answers. If you really want the job, follow this style guide for ladies on what to wear to an interview and thank us later.

You can find your dream job on Jooble

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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