Appropriate dress for an interview: Making the right impression

Posted in News & Press  ·  9th January 2024

First impressions are crucial, especially when it comes to job interviews. One of the key elements that can significantly impact your first impression is your attire. Dressing appropriately for an interview not only shows respect for the company and the interviewer but also demonstrates your professionalism and seriousness about the position. Here’s a guide to help you choose the right outfit for your interview, regardless of your gender identity.

Why dress matters

Creating a positive first impression

Your appearance is often the first thing an interviewer notices about you. Dressing appropriately can create a positive first impression, setting the tone for the rest of the interview.

Demonstrating professionalism

The way you dress reflects your understanding of professional standards and your ability to present yourself in a workplace setting. It shows that you take the opportunity seriously and are committed to making a good impression.

Building confidence

When you look good, you feel good. Wearing appropriate attire can boost your confidence and help you feel more prepared and at ease during the interview.

General guidelines for interview attire

Research the company dress code

Before deciding what to wear, research the company’s dress code. This can usually be found on the company’s website, social media pages, or by asking someone who works there. Aim to dress one step above the standard dress code for the position you’re applying for.

Choose professional and comfortable clothing

For most interviews, professional and conservative attire is the safest choice. This typically means:

  • Business formal: A suit with a jacket and trousers or a skirt, paired with a dress shirt or blouse. Choose neutral colours like black, navy, or grey.
  • Business casual: Dress trousers or chinos, paired with a collared shirt, blouse, or smart top. A cardigan or blazer can add a touch of formality.

Specific tips for different types of interviews

Corporate or formal settings

In corporate or formal settings, traditional business attire is expected:

  • Suits: A matching jacket and trousers or skirt. Ensure everything is clean, well-fitted, and pressed.
  • Shirts and blouses: Choose a dress shirt or blouse in a neutral colour. Avoid overly bright colours or bold patterns.
  • Shoes: Closed-toe shoes that are polished and professional. Avoid overly casual footwear.

Business casual environments

In business casual environments, you can be slightly more relaxed while still maintaining professionalism:

  • Trousers and skirts: Dress trousers, chinos, or a knee-length skirt. Avoid jeans unless specifically acceptable.
  • Tops: Collared shirts, blouses, or smart tops. A blazer or cardigan can be added for a polished look.
  • Shoes: Smart loafers, flats, or low heels.

Creative or startup companies

Creative or startup environments may allow for more personal expression in your attire:

  • Trousers and jeans: Smart jeans or chinos can be acceptable. Avoid overly casual jeans with rips or excessive fading.
  • Tops: A stylish but professional top or shirt. Patterns and colours can be more relaxed, but avoid anything too bold or distracting.
  • Shoes: Casual yet polished shoes like smart trainers or ankle boots.

Accessories and finishing touches

Keep accessories minimal

Accessories should complement your outfit without being distracting:

  • Jewellery: Choose simple, understated pieces.
  • Bags: Carry a professional-looking bag or briefcase to hold your CV, notepad, and any other necessary documents.
  • Belts and ties: Ensure belts match your shoes, and ties are conservative in colour and pattern if you choose to wear one.

Pay attention to details

Small details can make a big difference:

  • Ensure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free.
  • Polish your shoes and check for any scuffs.
  • Avoid excessive perfume or aftershave.

Dress for your comfort and identity

It’s important to dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and authentic. If you don’t identify as male or female, choose clothing that aligns with your identity and professional standards. The key is to ensure your attire is neat, professional, and suitable for the work environment you are entering.


Dressing appropriately for an interview is a vital part of your preparation. It shows respect for the opportunity, reflects your professionalism, and helps you feel confident. By researching the company dress code and choosing professional, comfortable attire, you can make a positive first impression and set the stage for a successful interview.

For more tips and resources, visit Bright Futures Experience.




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