There are certain situations where it can be tough to choose the right outfit. Going for a job interview is one of those.  So today I will offer you some of my tips on how to get it right.

First of all, it’s crucial that you make a good first impression. It is said that people make up their minds about you in the first seconds of seeing you  and it is very difficult to change their minds after that. It’s a very interesting psychological phenomenon and you can read more about it here. You will never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so you better make sure that it is a good one!

After giving your first impression, it is important that you stand out because of your capabilities, not so much for your outfit.

So how to create an interview outfit that will leave a great first impression and does not get in the way of you getting the job?

  • First of all, choose an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident and that stays true to yourself. If the outfits you may be required to wear for the job are too far removed from who you are, then perhaps this is not the right job for you! (I feel very strongly about that!)
  • It is usually best if you can find an outfit that ‘blends in’ with the culture of the company, while at the same time letting your own personality shine through. So if you get a chance, get a feel of the dressing culture of the company whose job you are applying for.
  • If this is not possible, then just stay on the safe side and dress reasonably conservative depending on the type of job you are applying for. Remember, conservative does not automatically mean black. In fact too much black should be avoided by women over 40, certainly close to your face. It could make you look too severe.
  • If you don’t have a lot of information on the company’s culture, keep your outfit on the formal side.
  • Any outfit becomes more formal and classy with a blazer jacket, so that is a good go-to piece for interviews.
  • A flop proof combination is a white button down shirt, good quality straight leg pants and a stellar blazer in a neutral colour. Navy blue is always nice, but lighter neutrals work well too.
  • Natural fabrics are best as they allow you to breathe through your clothes when questions get tough. Cool wool, silk or cotton are good but avoid fabrics that wrinkle too much like linen.
  • Avoid showing too much skin or cleavage. Remember, you don’t want your outfit to distract from your capabilities.
  • When it comes to choosing pants or a skirt I would stick as much as possible to your own preferences. Both can look equally good and it’s best to wear something that you are comfortable in.
  • When choosing your colours, stay as true as possible to your personality but use colour in a subtle way. You don’t want your outfit to be distracting or overpowering. You can be a bit more adventurous for creative jobs as shown in the picture below.
  • Make sure you are perfectly groomed. Nails should be manicured, haircut in good shape and makeup subtle. Stay away from too much (or any) perfume as this may irritate some people, but use your deodorant because you certainly don’t want any smells of the wrong kind!
  • Any accessories that you wear should be subtle and of good quality.
  • Wear a fabulous closed shoe of good quality and make sure they are freshly polished.
  • Again I want to emphasise how important it is to understand the culture of a company. For example, if you are applying for a creative job, then showing up too conservative and formal may work against you. Make sure you show some creative flair with your outfit in that case and use colour.  A good idea is to check what people wear by having a look at the office early in the morning when people come in. Another option is to check the website, which may show photos of employees and may give you a sense of the culture.

Creative jobs

Below are some examples of what to wear in an interview for a creative job. More risky, but it gives you a chance to show some of your creativity and personality, which is very important for these kind of jobs.

How to dress for a job interview

Did I cover all basics? What are your tips on what to wear to a job interview?

Feature image by Ashley


Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. An alumni of the School of Color and Design, she is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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