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Dressing for Success

Did you know that you are evaluated by the interviewer before you even speak? They have probably come to several conclusions about you, and may have already decided that you are not the person for the job. Your integrity, personality, and attitude towards your career may be judged on one piece of very important evidence: Your appearance.

It is important that you take time and effort in putting together a professional looking outfit that is appropriate for the industry, company culture, and position for which you are interviewing. No matter what the employee dress code is, it is appropriate to wear a suit for the interview unless otherwise stated by the recruiter.

Here are some guidelines for interview attire:



  • Opt for a conservative, professional look. This includes suits in navy, black, or gray, and solid, light colored shirts in a natural material.
  • Wear clothing that is well-fitting, well made, and in good condition.
  • Make certain that you are clean and well-groomed. Neat and clean hair, hands, and nails are essential to creating a tidy, professional look.
  • Wear non-textured hosiery that is without runs or snags.
  • Wear closed shoes with heels no more than 2 inches tall that are polished and in good condition.


  • Wear perfume. Many people are allergic to it, and loud or bold fragrances are distracting to anyone.
  • Wear too much makeup or jewelry. Keep your accessories simple and tasteful.
  • Wear short skirts, plunging necklines, see-through, or ill-fitting clothing.
  • Carry more baggage than necessary. If you are carrying a briefcase, leave your purse behind.



  • Choose a traditional charcoal to light gray, or navy wool suit, and a white, colored dress shirt to create a professional and conservative look.
  • Wear a tie. Opt for a professional, nice looking tie, perhaps stripes, paisley, or even a solid color. Avoid wool and cotton ties, and ties with loud patterns, cartoon characters or pictures.
  • Choose a conservative belt that matches your shoes, either brown or black.
  • Wear dress socks that match your suit, with little or no pattern. Socks should be long enough to cover the calf so they don't slip or show your legs.
  • Make certain that you are clean, shaven, and well-groomed. Neat and clean, hair, hands and fingernails are essential in creating a professional look.


  • Wear a short sleeved shirt. No matter what the weather, you should wear a traditional, long sleeved dress shirt. Odds are that you will not have to take off your coat, but why risk it?
  • Wear after shave or cologne. Many people have allergies to fragrances, and bold fragrances are distracting to anyone.
  • Wear earrings. Avoid wearing a lot of jewelry. If you are going to wear a watch, please choose your dress watch instead of a sports watch.
  • Dress for the position you want, not the position you have. If you cannot manage to pull your own appearance together, the interviewer will have little confidence that you can manage to handle the demands of the position.