After a bit of practice, you’ve officially nailed the phone interview. Two days later, you get an email from the interviewer saying that they would love to meet you in person. You’re excited, maybe a little nervous. You’re really preoccupied about making the right impression. Like it or not, that means that you have to wear an appropriate outfit.
What does that look like?
Well. This question is pretty dependent on your industry, but in all cases, you should wear something neat, polished and conservative. If you can, you want to avoid coming in with all of your piercings displayed. Take out your nose ring and your gauges. If you have tattoos, it’s generally best to cover them for the first impression. While it shouldn’t be this way, people make assumptions when you present yourself with too many “decorations”.
For men, it’s generally a safe bet to wear a sports coat. In a more formal industry, like banking or law, you should wear a full suit. In a more casual industry, like industrial, you might want to wear a button-down shirt and khakis. Depending on your comfort level, you can always wear a tie. But in this day and age, more and more workplaces are adopting more casual attire. That doesn’t mean that you should meet your interviewer in blue jeans and a flannel, but you also don’t necessarily have to pull out a fancy pinstripe suit.
For women, you might consider wearing a blazer. You can pair a blazer with a suit—pants or a knee-length skirt are both appropriate options. Wear a simple, professional shirt like a button-down or blouse. Make sure that it isn’t too low-cut.
If suits make you feel too manly, you can consider other options like a dress. Make sure that it hits your knees and isn’t too snug. It’s generally a good idea to wear tights underneath because it makes the outfit a little more conservative. While heels are pretty, pick shoes that you’re comfortable wearing. It’s never a good idea to be fidgeting with your outfit or thinking about how much pain your feet are in. Instead, buy a set of professional clothes that make you feel smart, stylish, and comfortable.
Generally, trust your judgement. Think about how you feel when you meet other people. How does the way they present themselves impact you? Put on your outfit, look in the mirror, and ask yourself what your clothes communicate to the interviewer.
Lastly, relax. Your outfit won’t get you the job, your personality, competence, and desire to succeed will. So put your best foot forward, and go in there with all the confidence in the world.