Fashion Do's and Don'ts for a Job Interview

April 18, 2018

Interviews can be extremely nerve-wracking. While there have been many times that I completely nailed my interview outfit, there have also been many times when I should have dressed differently. I work in higher education at my local community college. My department works closely with employers, so I know what they’re looking for and what students should expect.


My supervisor and I work together to help prepare students for interviews. Everything we do is career-related, such as resume tips, cover letter suggestions, interview prep, and more. Working in my department has helped me learn what to wear and what not to wear for interviews. Today, I am sharing my wisdom with you! 


Photo: Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash  


What to wear:

  • Dress pants

  • Button up shirts

  • Collar shirts

  • Blazers/cardigans

  • Closed-toe shoes, such as flats or short pumps

  • Statement dresses that go down to your knees

  • Statement skirts that go down to your knees

  • Light perfume

  • Ties and sweater vests

  • Suits


What NOT to wear:

  • Open-toe shoes — this means no sandals, pumps, or flip flops.

  • No sneakers — sneakers are way too casual for an interview. This includes casual sneakers such as vans, converse, and everyday tennis shoes.

  • Heels that are more than 1-inch high — this means NO stiletto heels.

  • Tops with a low cut neckline are a big no. My supervisor says that tops should go no lower than your collar bone.

  • Sweatpants/pajamas — you don’t want to walk into an interview looking like you just woke up.

  • Anything casual — this means no t-shirts, jeans, leggings, shorts, denim, sweatshirts, or casual sweaters.

  • Nothing too tight — your pants should not outline your body. They shouldn’t be too tight, but they also shouldn’t be too loose, like sweatpants.

  • Anything provocative — this includes mini skirts or dresses that you would wear for a night out.

  • Stiletto nails or long nails — this may depend on the employer, but I have heard employers say that it was a turn off when they saw interviewees come in with long nails. It’s fine if you want to keep your nails long, but they should not be a dramatic length and the color should be a neutral color or a light color.

  • Too many accessories — having a statement necklace is fine, but don’t go overboard with the accessories. This can distract employers and interviewers, as they may be more focused on your accessories than your actual interview.

  • Heavy perfume or cologne — I’ve had employers tell me that they were allergic to an interviewee’s perfume, or they thought it was too excessive. Try using a light scent so it’s not overwhelming.

  • Anything see-through or lacey — don’t wear a see-through bodysuit to an interview. Make sure the colors are opaque so your outfit is not provocative.


These are the tips that my supervisor gives me when we prepare our students for interviews. Let us know your interview fashion tips in the comments below!


My name is Linda Tran. I'm 24 years old from Boston and I'm majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Social Media at the Southern New Hampshire University. A fun fact about me is that I learned coding and HTML at the age of 11.


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