We’ve shared two posts about how to dress for an interview, but, at this point, they’re a little outdated. Even our more recent one is from 2015, so it’s time for a 2023 update.
In the 10 years since our first dress for success article, clothing expectations in interviews have relaxed a lot. Larry Brantley says, “Today it is less about the ‘interview suit’ and more about business casual/professional.”
Despite easing interview dress codes, it’s still important to make sure to look neat and tidy. Even small things make a difference. Jocelyn Hecht advises that “chipped nail polish makes a candidate look messy and scattered. Better to have clean, clear nails than chipped!” Even on Zoom, Amy Segelin says, “Iron the shirt!”
There are different approaches on how formal to dress for your interview. In general, Beth Kitzinger says to “wear whatever you would feel comfortable wearing in a professional headshot.”
Tina Dugas says, “I always tell my candidates to dress comfortably but with a professional and crisp appearance. You don’t want to distract the interviewer from focusing on your skills and potential contributions (as well as fit for the organization).” But that doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your usual style. “Feel free to make a statement with your style, however I would suggest saving the favorite shoes, or too much of anything that may distract, for after the hire is made,” Tina says.
“Be your authentic self but also know your audience,” Amy says. “Large financial services institutions may still have a more business attire environment. Tech firms tend to be more casual.”
It’s a good idea to do a little research before your interview to find out more about the company or organization, the role, and the interviewer. This can also help you when you’re trying to pull together your interview outfit. Beth says, “Check out what the people you will be meeting are wearing on the company/organization website ‘About Us’ page and dress accordingly.”
For the don’ts, Larry suggests you avoid, “gum chewing, disheveled clothes or hair, tardiness, and ‘ghosting.’” You should also make sure your phone/smart watch are muted and out of sight, so you aren’t interrupted or distracted during your interview.
Ultimately, “dress for YOUR success,” Amy advises. “Put the clothes on that make you feel comfortable and ready to nail the interview.”
Elizabeth Houde is a Project Manager at Chaloner. After graduating from Guilford College where they majored in English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minored in communications, Elizabeth started their career in New York City in publishing as an editorial coordinator.