Dressing for Success: Interview Attire

By: Lynne Marks | 26 Dec 2013

Whether interviewing in the legal, financial, hospitality, retail or healthcare industries, or for any management, management training, leadership, C-suite or executive positions, formal attire is usually expected. For men, this translates to a suit, dress shirt and tie, and for women, a skirted suit, dress and jacket or a matching trouser suit.

Refined, simple, traditional jewelry, such as pearls, semi-precious stones and metals are the best choices. Avoid distracting long earrings, noisy bracelets and other accessories that you have to constantly adjust.

Dress-for-Success3If the company is less formal, a blazer or sports coat, dress shirt and dress trousers for men may be acceptable. Ties can be optional depending on the formality of the company and the position for which you are interviewing. To learn these answers, research or simply ask what the CEO, managers and senior VPs are wearing. When in doubt, wear a blazer and remove it if not appropriate.

For women, a simple sheath dress is a good option to the suit, but legs must be groomed and sheer tights or pantyhose worn, along with a closed-toe, thin heel shoe. Informal companies, such as IT, do not require or expect jackets and ties for the interview. In this scenario, a male should wear slacks (or research if quality jeans are acceptable), a dress shirt or polo and matching color leather shoes and belt.

Remove piercings, cover all tattoos, change the sports shoes and flip-flops for leather shoes that cover your toes. Avoid colorful plastic hairclips and long flowing hair below the shoulder. Tie long hair back in a low ponytail with elastic band covered, or put hair up in a low chignon, French pleat or neatly braided twist. Skirts should cover the thighs, tops should cover the cleavage and sleeves should cover at least half the arm.


While keeping major pieces more towards the tailored styles, women should still show some flair, leaving a fresh impression in the mind of the interviewer. The traditional black and navy suit with a white shirt can be reworked. Try a mid-blue, teal, grey, burgundy, eggplant, mid-beige or olive suit and a cream, ivory, pale pink, pale coral blouse or silk or polyester shell with a small pattern.  Here is a fascinating article from the New York Times, on how women learn to dress for success by choosing bright bolds verse blending into the background.

Article:   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/business/international/women-learn-to-dress-for-success.html?_r=2&

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