How to Dress Professionally for an Interview


Hi friends, as if you may not have known, I am also a Career Coach in the professional world. I help high school students with jobs skills, college applications, financial aid, essential job skills, career placement and more. 

One of my favorite things is when I can marry my two passions- career coaching and fashion! 

So today, I am going to talk about the professional way to dress for an interview. Because, believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to dress for a job and especially an interview.  As the fashion world is ever changing, l think so many young girls may need help with their appearance. I truly hope that you may find this helpful if you are about to interview fro your first “big girl” job.

While you don't have to spend a lot of money on your wardrobe, putting in a little extra effort will pay off in the long run for your professional life. 

As much as we fight against judgement in today's time, you WILL be judged solely on your appearance with in the first minute when it comes to your interview , so make it a good first impression. First impressions are huge in interviews, and can sometimes make or break your outcome. 

 In general, the candidate dressed in a suit and tie, or dress and heels, will make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in jeans and sneakers. You will also be judged on the way you carry yourself. Are you confident, or self-conscience?

In the words of a Fashion Blogger/Career Coach, I always say dress “nicer” than what that company wears on a day to day basis. DRESS TO IMPRESS or DRESS FOR SUCCESS. So if you are going to interview with Jake at State Farm, I would wear something dressier than a polo and khakis. DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT. Over-dressing and under-dressing are also a thing…. From the lessons of the “Stepbrothers” interview, you don’t want to wear a tuxedo to a job that requires you to clean bathrooms. Dressing professionally shows respect for yourself, the interviewer, and the company. You may not have to dress like this every day, but you are more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to details.

So ladies, there’s a lot to learn so let's get going. Here are my top tips with my little spin on how to dress professionally for an interview.

  1. When in doubt, wear a suit

You would rather be overdressed than under... Take pride in the way you look on your interview day. Try pants or a pencil skirt with a matching blazer, or a nice blouse. Dresses are acceptable as well.

2. Purple Pimp Suits aren’t poppin’

Try to avoid flashy colors. These colors are distracting to the interviewer. Stick with dressing in conservative colors such as nudes, navy, grey, black, white, possibly tan. Stay away from leopard prints, lacey, and sheer tops. 

Great Interview Suit Options

3. “The higher the heel, the closer to God” is only true on The Real Housewives

Ladies, you are going to an interview, not the club. I would refrain from the 6 in. stiletto heels. Lower, thicker, heels are best, mainly because they are easier to walk in.

4. The Closed Toe Shoe Game 

Closed toed shoes are simply more professional. You can even wear flats.

Try to refrain from sandals. Some dressy sandals, and peep toe pumps are ok, but the closed toe is the safest option. NEVER EVER wear tennis shoes or flip flops.

Great Interview Shoes

5. Did you Bathe?

I probably shouldn’t have to recap this, but you would be surprised. I know that dry shampoo is our great and best friends these days, but always make sure to have your personal hygiene under control before your interview. Take a bath. Brush your teeth. Brush your hair. Wear Deodorant. You get the picture.  

6.  Keep Your Heels Long, and Your Skirt Short!

Hah! Got you, didn't I? Actually keep your heels short, and your skirt long! Listen ladies, if you have to stand in front of the mirror in the morning and ask yourself, “Is this too short?” then it probably is, so don’t wear it!!! Girl, you think that pencil skirt is too long? It’s probably exactly were it needs to be on the knee. Get used to the non-mini skirt.

The going rule for skirt length is three inches above the knee, or well past your fingertips. An interview is not the time to feel sexy. We have date nights for that. Keep it conservative. Keep it classy. 

Great Interview Skirts

7. Cover up!

Can you bend over without having to put your hand over your chest? If you can’t, your shirt is TOO LOW. I keep going back to this, but conservative is key! Never wear tube tops, tank tops, or spaghetti straps. It’s always most professional to cover your shoulders. Nobody wants to see your bra straps.

Great Interview Tops

8. You Gaudy Girl!

Leave the statement jewelry at home. I love big statement pieces, like my big jeweled J.crew colorful necklaces. However, these can be very distracting to the interviewer. If I have chandeliers hanging from my ears, what are you going to be looking/thinking about the majority of the time? Stick to those that are not flashy, distracting, or shiny.  Dainty jewelry, like a small strand of pearls, would be great!  

Great Interview Accessories

9. Nailed it!

 If you wear colored nail polish, make sure it's a neutral or natural shades. Fire-alarm-fire red hues and frozen-pop pinks aren't likely to be good colors for an interview as a lawyer, accountant or engineer, or any paraprofessionals in these fields. Stick to sheer colors, taupe, beige or clear nail polish and ensure your nails are well-manicured. Also avoid really long nails. 

Great Interview Nail Colors

10. Get comfortable.

Wear clothes that you are comfortable in. You don’t want to be pulling on your clothes the entire interview. This may cause distractions for you and the interviewer.

11. Dress Codes are for High School!

Wrong! Know the company dress code. You may want to know if you should dress business casual (slacks and a blouse) or business professional (two-piece suit).There is a big difference. Some companies may regard open toed shoes, or heels, as a safety hazard. 

12. Go All-Nat-ur-al.

Stage makeup for an interview has a different meaning. Don’t overdo it like you just watched a Youtube tutorial.  I would recommend natural makeup looks for your interview. Dark eye shadows, and lipsticks are for other events like date night, dinner with the girls, or shopping and lunch. 

Natural Makeup Options

13. You Smell like the 8th Grade Locker Room!

Just like the jewelry, don’t over do the cologne or perfume . Don’t “bathe” in it where we can smell you coming down the hall 9 miles away. I love perfume. I wear it everyday, but I keep it to a minimum. I’m thinking two pumps will do! You don't want to have such a strong smell that the interviewer is choking across the table. Perfume is most pleasant when light. 

Top Pleasant, Not Overpowering Scents

14. Do you mind if I strap your phone to my head so I can pretend that you are listening to me?

Don’t ever take your cell phone or earbuds in an interview. This fashion accessory is best when left in the car. Otherwise, you risk seeming distracted and unfocused, and you certainly don't want to be fumbling with tangled cords as you meet and shake hands with your interviewer.

Here are some more examples of business professional and business casual looks…

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Candice Brown Photography

From my closest to yours, thanks for stopping by.