Dress for the Job You Want: What to Wear to an Interview

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Wearing a professional outfit for an interview is an essential step in any interview process. While hiring managers and interviewers care about your credentials, experience, and personality more than your appearance, what you decide to wear for an interview can reveal a lot about those characteristics. Whether you’re applying for a temporary job, your dream office job, or a completely remote WFH gig, dressing appropriately conveys your experience and expertise. 

If you’re in the middle of a Google search about how to dress for the job you want, you already have a good idea of what types of clothes to wear. So this quick guide focuses on expert-level tips many other guides leave out, including:

  • How to make sure your outfit aligns perfectly with the interview
  • What to wear for both in-person and online interviews
  • How to pull an outfit together so you can focus on other parts of the interview

How to Choose What to Wear to an Interview

Worried about under- or over-dressing? This concern can make you anxious and distracted, so try these tips to know exactly what your interviewer expects:

Check Their Website and Social Media

If everyone is wearing t-shirts and jeans, you can comfortably go one or two steps above this and wear nice slacks and a blazer or a skirt and jacket combo. But if everyone is wearing suits or ‘interview-level’ attire in most images, then you need to go one or two steps above that.

Refer to Previous Interviews

If you’re too stressed about the interview process to remember this tip, don’t let it distract you from the conversation. But when you can, not down what interviewers are wearing:

Previous Interview Stages for the Same Company

Their examples are the best examples. Whether you’ve had an interview round over video or in person, write down what you remember them wearing. Note down colors, whether they wore suit jackets, if you saw tattoos or brightly colored hair, etc.

This tip can seem a bit weird. But adding it to your notes after the interview ends gives you a blueprint for what the interviewers themselves think is appropriate attire. 

Previous Interviews With a Different Company

These experiences can’t tell you what your prospective employer has to say about hair dye, piercing, tattoos, or general formality. But (especially if you’re applying for the same types of jobs) it’s a great guide to the general attire expectations.

Through these notes, you can develop a clear idea of both what to wear and what not to wear.

How to Dress for a Video Interview

Video interviews are still relatively novel experiences for many professionals. If you’re interviewing from home, here are some helpful tips:

Wear Solid Colors and Mild Patterns

The same rules about colorful clothing apply in video interviews as much as in traditional interviews. However, there are extra complications. Vibrant patterns, loud colors, and too-shiny fabrics can actually change how the camera processes the image of your home office or even your face. Opt for muted colors or jewel tones that let the camera easily see you.

Avoid Clothes That Might Make Noise

During the interview, you don’t want to constantly be switching yourself to muted and unmuted. It’s distracting—and it may make interviewers think your home is full of loud noises. So wear clothes that don’t rustle loudly (like corduroy) or have bits of metal that jangle (like hanging zippers). After all, every you shift and make noise, the main interview screen highlights you instead of who’s speaking. That’s not what you want!

Wear Freshly Dry-Cleaned and Pressed Clothing

Wrinkles, stains, and saggy clothing can show up even more clearly on camera. Wrinkles create planes of dark shadow, stains can become more stark, and both saggy and too-tight fabrics will be highlighted by shadows and lighting. Instead, make sure your interview clothes have made a recent trip to your favorite dry cleaning service so you don’t have any stains or wrinkles to worry about.

Wear Shoes and Professional Pants (Even If They’re Invisible)

This is a mindset trick. Wearing pajama pants and socks is comfortable, but wearing a full professional outfit can put you more in the headspace of a formal interview. Also, you don’t have to worry about standing up to grab something on the far side of your desk!

How to Dress for an In-Person Interview

Once you know whether to dress business casual or business formal for an interview, it’s all about the details. Follow these helpful tips:

Get Your Outfit Dry-Cleaned

This tip may seem obvious, but it’s important. Have your entire outfit dry-cleaned before the interview, including your tie, coat, and scarf. Winter gear and outerwear pick up a lot of stains and smells over time. The last thing you want is to notice a big dried stain as you’re walking toward the receptionist or when your coat is folded next to you. 

Do a Practice Round in Your Outfit

Walk around your home, have a seat at your desk, and have a conversation, all while wearing your interview outfit. Is it noisy? Does it not let you comfortably gesture? Is it too small or too loose? Are the sleeves slightly too short, or does the shirt drape wrong when you sit? Sometimes, you won’t notice the small problems that make it a bad interview choice before you wear it.

Leave Your Dry Cleaning in the Bag

If you have pets, the dry cleaning bag can keep new pet hair from finding its way to your interview outfit.

Trust OXXO Cleaners That Care with Your Interview Outfit

When you have a basic idea of what is and isn’t the right attire for your next interview, the game changes. Now, it’s about how polished that outfit looks—is it stain-free, with no holes, and without a single wrinkle in sight? Wrinkles, unpressed fabrics, and stains say more than you want them to. So decide your interview outfit well ahead of time and make sure you have time to stop by a convenient OXXO Cleaners That Care location for expert dry cleaning.

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