A Guide On What To Wear To Job Interviews To Land The Dream Gig | POPxo

POPxo Guide: What To Wear To An Interview To Land Your Dream Job!

POPxo Guide: What To Wear To An Interview To Land Your Dream Job!

Each one of us is vastly familiar with the adage “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. We’ve heard it enough times for it to sound like a cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant. As you change jobs aiming for that big break in your career, everything zeroes down to how you present yourself to someone who knows nothing about your skills and experience. Dressing for success is a big piece of the pie that you want. Some may ask, “Why should I be bothered about dressing up when I am good at my job?” Well, by dressing the part you seize the opportunity to create a positive first impression about yourself on those who have no idea about how good you are at your work.


The right first impression can make a significant difference on whether or not you land that dream gig (in addition to your professional abilities, of course!). Though there are no defined set of rules that classify outfits as interview-appropriate or inappropriate, there are some unwritten laws that apply whenever you have to make a choice for interview attire. Read ahead for inspiration and ideas on how to dress to impress:


What To Wear To An Internship Interview


Newbies who are straight out of college, should dress up the part if they want to create a great first impression. Take into account the nature of the company for which you are interviewing. Scroll through the their social media accounts to catch a drift of what other employees wear on normal work days, and use this research to your advantage. We strongly recommend that you take the dress-up game up a notch, and channel a more polished version of the company’s employees.


Take these options into account when interviewing for a formal business:


White Shirt And Black Pants


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


Buy black pants for women here.


For a more casual work environment, these options are more suitable:


A Pair Of Denims With A Jumper Over A Button-Down Shirt


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


Cardigan Paired With A Blouse And Cotton Pants


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What To Wear To A Business Casual Interview


Choosing a casual interview attire can be extremely tricky. You can definitely skip the suit, but by no means is it acceptable to show up in a flashy top and ripped jeans. The lack of standardised rules is what makes the business casual dress code the most complicated of all. Decoding the appropriate casual interview attire becomes easy when you understand the role of “casual” in “business casual.” In a nutshell, it is about dressing casually, yet professionally.


Consider these options for casual interview attire:


A Pair Of Pants Or A Skirt With Blouse


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Buy similar trousers here.


Sheath Dress


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Buy similar sheath dress for women here.


Cotton Pants With A Pullover/Overcoat


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What To Wear To A Formal Interview


Keep your look basic and conservative for a formal job interview. What you wear should be the best version of what you’d wear to office when you have a really important meeting with a client. We recommend sticking to neutral colours for a professional and powerful look. Check out these ideas. 


A Black Dress


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


A simple black dress is a quintessential staple in your work wardrobe because of the element of versatility it brings to the table. You can team the dress with a blazer in a bright colour if you feel it is too basic and boring, or add a pair of tights for a more polished look. We recommend wearing solid blacks over textured and patterned tights to break the monotony.


Buy a basic black dress here.


Blouse With A Bow


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


A blouse with a billowy bow-tie in the front, can be worn either with slacks or a skirt for a sophisticated yet stylish look. To play up the details, tuck in the top and finish the look with a skinny leather belt.


Buy a blouse with a bow here.


Button-Down Shirt


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A button-down shirt might just be the most useful piece of clothing in your wardrobe. You don’t have to limit your choices to basic whites though. Experiment with different colours including shades of blue, yellow and pink. In addition to a crisp cotton, you may explore other interesting fabrics like satin, silk, oxford and poplin based on your preference. Plaid is a great way to update your look in the winter. You can style your button down shirt in different ways for an interview- with cotton pants, black pencil skirt, or underneath a blazer.


Buy similar white button down here.


A Blazer And Skirt Combination


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


A blazer teamed with a blouse and a fitted pencil skirt makes for the perfect work wear combination. Colour-coordinate the blazer and skirt in navy blue or black and wear with a contrasting blouse. Do keep in mind that no matter how great a blazer you might own, it will not make up for a wrinkled camisole or a tired t-shirt because what you wear underneath is equally important.


Buy pencil skirt for women here.


Pant Suit


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Another versatile piece to add to your work wardrobe is a classic menswear inspired pant suit set. Pair with a button-down shirt, a basic top or even a V-neck tee.


Buy blazer for women here.


What Colours To Wear To An Interview


You might be aware of the term “colour psychology”. It may sound strange but colours can marginally influence perceptions, even if they might not be entirely accurate. For example, while you might be extremely active and hands-on, the colour green generally creates an impression of a lazy and laid back attitude. This is definitely not the kind of image you want to put forth in your first professional meeting for your dream job. Here are a few interview dress tips for females on choosing the right colours:


Choose Solids Over Patterns


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Colours like navy blue, dark grey, black, and brown are the most interview-appropriate of the lot. Solid hues like these reflect professionalism and also ensure that the interviewer doesn’t get distracted during the interview. Avoid patterns and prints as far as possible. While mild patterns like stripes are still acceptable, loud ones like polka dots and checks are a strict no-no.


Go For Neutral Colours Rather Than Bold Colours


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Choose flamboyant colours only if you want to be remembered for your attire more than your skills and qualifications. Again, colours like navy blue, black, white, and grey are the best colours to wear. If you still want to add a pop of a bright colour to an otherwise neutral outfit, sport a scarf or a tie in a bold colour.


Style Tip: Colours like pale blue and light pink are great choices to lift your outfit without being in-your-face. We suggest pairing a blouse in either of these colours with a black or blue blazer to create balance.


Here’s a list of the different colours you can wear to a job interview and the emotions they are likely to evoke.


Black


Black is the colour of power and authority. The colour is apt for conservative working environments like law firms, or if you are applying for the position of a senior executive. Be careful with how you choose to wear the colour because it may appear overwhelming to some people.


Style Tip: You may consider adding accents of black with a scarf or tie rather than an all-black outfit.


White


Unlike black, white is not overwhelming, and is therefore, considered a great choice for an interview. A crisp white shirt or blouse reflect simplicity and truth.


Grey


Grey represents sophistication and power and is a great colour for a suit or dress. Though it conveys authority like the colour black, it is not considered as dominating.


Brown


The colour brown conveys the feeling of calmness. It is a great neutral colour for interviews.


Blue


Blue reflects feelings of calmness, trust and confidence. We recommend wearing a navy blue pant suit or blazer paired with a pristine white shirt.


Red


Red is a colour of energy and passion, but at the same time it happens to be very dramatic and distracting. Rather than going for an all-red outfit, add only a pop of colour to your attire to convey the right amount of emotions. This ensures your overall outfit looks conservative but you still manage to look fashion-forward.


How To Accessorise For An Interview


When accessorising for an interview, follow the mantra of “less is more”. Go by Coco Chanel’s words, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror, and take one thing off”. Your accessories should complement your attire and not overwhelm the interviewer. Here are a few interview dress tips for females on choosing the correct accessories:


Footwear


Closed toe pumps in neutral colours like black and beige are the best footwear choice for women.


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Buy similar black pumps here.


Peep-toes are also tasteful but sneakers and flip flops are a serious turn-off. Also avoid sky-high heels and platform shoes if you don’t want to look OTT.


Jewellery


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You don’t want your jewellery to do all the talking, do you? When it comes to what not to wear to an interview we also suggest avoiding excessive bling. A pair of studs and a delicate gold chain are all the pieces of jewellery that you will ever need to wear to an interview.


Bags


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Carrying a purse is not only a great way of accessorising but it also comes handy for storing resumes and other documents. You may want a purse, or a work briefcase, that is roomy enough to accommodate everything you need on the go.


Buy similar handheld bag for women here.


Perfume


A strong perfume can be overwhelming and difficult to sit through. Some people may be sensitive to certain fragrances. To be on the safe side, we recommend that you wear a mild perfume and use it sparingly.


How To Wear Your Hair For An Interview


Interview hairstyle is as important as the interview outfit. Unkempt hair creates the impression of an unprofessional attitude. Smooth away flyaways to make sure your hair looks neat. Here are some of the best hairstyles that you can wear to an interview.


Ponytails


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Conservative hairstyles like a low ponytail will give you a sleek and unfussy look.


Style Tip: Grab a few strands from the ponytail and wrap around the hair-tie for an elegant touch.


High Bun


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


The high bun is the best hairstyle for a polished look. It keeps hair away from your face, and is best suited for more formal situations.


Style Tip: For the perfect updo, make sure the bun is a few inches below your crown.


Loose Waves


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


Women with medium hair can let their hair loose with the top straightened, and the ends curled out.


Pinned At Sides


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Make a middle or side partition, and pull back the hair from one side or both. Secure the hair behind your ear with a bobby pin.


Style Tip: Twist your hair a little while pulling it back to add an interesting detail.


Fancy updos and headbands are outright business-inappropriate. We suggest wearing a style that you wear everyday if you don’t want to appear high maintenance.


What Not To Wear To An Interview


When it comes to dressing for interviews, certain pieces should be avoided at every cost. These are the items that could possibly offend the interviewer. Keep in mind that you only have one chance to create an impression at an interview, and you definitely don’t want your choice of clothing to be the reason for a bad experience. Here are a few tips on what not to wear to an interview:


Ripped Jeans


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Image Credits: https://www.pexels.com/


Even if the office environment is ultra-casual, never show-up in jeans and a t-shirt. Ripped denims are unacceptable. However, if you don’t want to appear too formal at a place where the rest of the employees are dressed in denims and flip flops, choose a baseline casual interview outfit like black denims and pair with a semi-formal blouse or shirt. Avoid distressed and light washed jeans at all costs.


Piercings And Tattoos


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Earlobe piercings are fine but consider hiding piercings and tattoos at any other part of your body if you are interviewing at a conservative workplace. Many industries (For example, law and finance) frown upon employees with tattoos and multiple piercings.


Yoga Pants Or Gym Clothes


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Even if athleisure is acceptable in a certain workplace, it is definitely not something you should wear to the interview.


Flashy Clothes


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Don’t wear anything that makes you look like you are heading to a club after the interview. An outfit that is too dressy is probably not appropriate for a job interview.


Loud Makeup


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Makeup can be a great tool in your arsenal if used correctly. We suggest sticking to a fresh and natural look. A job interview is not the right place to flaunt a dramatic smokey eye or a dark lipstick. Avoid heavy makeup, instead use to your advantage and play up your features in a subtle manner.


Jewellery


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There is no reason to go overboard with jewellery. Anything that is dangling, chunky or excessively glitzy makes to the top of “what not to wear to an interview” list.


Earphones/Headphones


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Before you enter the workplace that you’re interviewing at, tuck away your headphones in your bag. Even while you’re waiting, it’s best to avoid using them within the premises. Feel free to leave them at home too!


Heels


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It is okay to wear heels to an interview if you can confidently walk in them without wobbling and faltering. If there’s any chance that you’re uncomfortable in heels, you will be just fine in a pair of ballet flats or sandals.


Revealing Clothes


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Avoid interview outfits that expose too much skin. If you are unsure about the outfit, ask a friend for honest feedback. Also, make sure your underwear is well concealed and isn’t peaking from under your clothes.


There is no one perfect outfit when it comes to job interviews. What might be a great choice for a marketing professional, may not be the right fit for a candidate from the banking and finance sector. Whether it's a corporate job you’ve applied for, or for the post of a public relations officer, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few ideas on how to dress for different industries:


Banker


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Image Credits: https://www.shutterstock.com/


When you think bankers you’re most likely to envision a bespectacled nerd with their head buried in a file, right? Wrong! Make a statement in this monochrome check blazer, tan pumps, a structured tote bag and smart trousers.


Teacher


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Image Credits: https://www.shutterstock.com/


If your workplace demands ethnic wear, a plain kurta paired with a jacket keeps it formal yet stylish. Add heels, and a formal bag for that post work movie date.


Lawyer


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Image Credits: https://www.shutterstock.com/


Exude power and charm in the courtroom in a neat turtleneck and comfy pants. Add chunky heels (for extra comfort), a subtle watch and a messenger bag to stay on top of your game!


Photographer


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Since photography is a physically demanding line of work, the top priority for any photographer should be comfort. Pair a jumpsuit with moccasins, a scarf and a metal-strap watch for a stylish yet comfortable option. An oversized leather tote will accommodate all your essentials on the go.


Fashion Writer


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Outfit choices are more flexible when working in the fashion industry, but there is also the added pressure of being on top of the game! Pick clothes that are trendy but compliment your personal style at the same time. A snug pencil skirt with an embellished top, heels, and a roomy tote can be an interesting option to explore.


Corporate


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Corporates usually demand formal clothing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be interesting and fashionable. This blue blazer goes very well with tan trousers, a nude bag, nude heels and a chunky watch (to match your blazer).


Marketing Professional


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Image Credits: https://www.shutterstock.com/


A smart white blazer paired with a pencil skirt, a fitted shirt, heels and a chronograph watch are sure to make you the best dressed at every meeting.


Useful Interview Dress Tips For Females


Comfort Is Key


Regardless of what you wear, make sure that you feel comfortable in it. If you are constantly tugging down the hemline of your skirt or adjusting the neckline of your blouse, you will get more conscious of your appearance and eventually feel less confident. To put it straight, never wear unfitting clothes to an interview. We recommend trying the clothes on way in advance to avoid  any absurd surprises on the day of the interview.


Be Prepared


Don’t wait till D-day to decide what clothes you want to wear. Get them ready a few days in advance so you don’t freak out incase the steam iron has suddenly stopped working, or if the suit you wanted to wear just wouldn’t fit you anymore.


Clean And Wrinkle-Free Clothes


You may be wearing a super expensive Zara pant suit, but if it is stained or creased at the time of the interview, it’s monetary worth has no value. Make sure that your clothes are spot-free and properly ironed so that you present yourself in the best possible light.


Your Clothes Should Be In Sync With The Company’s Culture


What you wear to an interview is the first impression you will make and you don’t want to communicate that you don’t align with the company’s culture and principles. For example, while interviewing for a startup if you choose to wear a formal pant suit, you might appear uptight.


This may happen if you have been out of the workforce for quite some time. When you get an interview call from a company that you have always wanted to work with, invest in some fashion-forward pieces. This doesn’t mean you have to splurge and spend bank. Simply choose some good quality basics that you can repeat without looking outdated.


How you dress and present yourself at an interview will say a lot about your personality and work values. Let your outfit communicate who you are and by choosing to wear something that is a perfect reflection of you, you’re definitely going to land that dream gig!


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