Interview Clothing Guide

Proper Interview Attire for Men

Suits. The most acceptable colors for suits are navy or charcoal through light gray, followed at some distance by brown. While small pinstripes are acceptable, solids or muted colors are best. One hundred percent wool suits look and wear better than any other material. Two-piece suits are perfectly acceptable.

Shirts. Always wear a long-sleeved white or pale-blue shirt. While “point” collars are most formal, button-down collars are acceptable.  “Spread” collars are best for men with broad faces.  Monograms should be avoided. Thin red or blue pinstripes on a white shirt are acceptable, but not preferred. Cotton shirts that have been professionally cleaned and starched look best.  When you are wearing your suit jacket, your sleeves should extend approximately one inch beyond the jacket’s sleeves. 

Ties. Pure silk ties are most resistant to wrinkles and present the best image. Ties should complement the suit without matching it completely - choose a pattern that neither vanishes into nor does battle with the rest of your suit. Avoid loud or gimmick ties.

Shoes. Shoes should be either black or brown leather. Lace-up wing tips are the most conservative choice; slip-on dress shoes are slightly less conservative, but just as acceptable.

Socks. Socks should complement the suit, so they will usually be blue, black, gray, or brown. They should be long enough so that you can cross you legs without showing bare skin, and without bunching up toward the ankles. Tube or athletic socks are never acceptable.

Accessories. Include nothing that could be misconstrued or leave a bad impression. Avoid religious and political insignias in the form of rings, ties, or pins. Your watch should be simple, plain, and analog. Briefcases should be leather, preferably brown or beige, and as plain as possible. A cotton or linen handkerchief is recommended. Belts should match or complement your shoes and have a simple buckle.

Jewelry. Rings, watch and cuff links, if necessary. Remove all piercings - including cartilage.

Personal Hygiene. You should shower and shave the morning of your interview. If you have facial hair, it must be neatly trimmed. Avoid strongly scented aftershave or cologne.

Proper Interview Attire for Women

Suits. A business suit is preferable. Charcoal, medium gray, steel gray, black, and navy blue are good colors, all of which look good with a white blouse. In addition to solids, pinstripes are acceptable.  Skirt length should be no shorter than the knee.

Blouses. Long sleeves are best.  Although the spectrum of acceptable color choices is wider than for men, white and pale blue are still the best options.

Shoes. Shoes should be leather and should match your suit. If not matching they should be a darker color. For example, a navy blue suit should be worn with navy blue shoes, or a gray suit should be worn with a darker gray or black shoes. Stay away from faddish or multicolored shoes. A mid-heel pump is best for a conservative look.

Stockings. Select colors that provide continuity. For example, with a navy suit choose navy or neutral stockings. With a black suit choose black stockings. Neutral or skin tones are also acceptable with most outfits. Do not wear tights, heavyweight or opaque stockings. Choose a business sheer or light weight stocking. Have a back-up pair just in case.

Accessories. A briefcase is an ideal accessory, but do not carry a briefcase and a purse. In addition to brown and burgundy, blue and black are acceptable colors. Belts should complement or match shoes. The belt should never be instantly noticeable.

Jewelry. Restrict rings to engagement or wedding rings or one ring per hand. Subdued and professional-looking earrings and necklaces are acceptable. A single bracelet around the wrist is also acceptable. Avoid "faddish" or flashy jewelry and cartilage piercings. You don't want the interviewer to remember you jewelry. You want them to remember your answers.

Makeup. Natural is the key word; eye makeup should be subtle.

Personal Hygiene. You should shower and shave your legs the morning of your interview. Avoid strongly scented perfume.

See our Interview Clothing Guide video in the Online Tutorials for more information!