Do's and Don'ts For Dressing Up For Interviews

Learn about the do's and don'ts for dressing up for interviews.
Submitted by Mehak Aggarwal, on January 18, 2023

First impressions are most often considered the last impression. This statement is not 100% true, but first impressions hold more weightage than any of us think. How you present yourself the first time you meet someone, sets the tone of your personality and your demeanor. When you're preparing yourself for an important career move, how do you make a good first impression? In this article, we will discuss the do's and don'ts of dressing up for interviews, which will make a good lasting impression on others.

How you dress definitely makes an impact on your interviewer. It is extremely important to understand the gravity of how to present yourself, especially in times when the competition is increasing in every field. If you dress up clumsily and shabbily, the interviewer could potentially be inclined to hire someone more groomed and presentable. How you dress reflects your passion and drive. It also shows you serious you are about the job, and how much effort you will be willing to put in.

Every industry has its own culture. With the changing times, the dressing etiquettes have also changed, and it is important to gauge the style of the industry you want to be a part of. Today, even big tech companies are adapting not-so-conservative dressing styles. Let's discuss the best ways to dress in regard to different industries.


Best ways to dress in regards to different industries

1) Corporate Industry

More often than not, the corporate industry requires you to meet with clients on an everyday basis. While meeting any client, we make sure to have adequate subject matter knowledge, communicate well, and be professional. An equally important part is how we present ourselves- ie how we dress. A proper outfit will boost our confidence and self-esteem and will say a lot about you before we even speak.

Profile Examples Include: Sales, Advertising, Media, Consulting, Business etc.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The most important thing is to be formal, so suit up. This is as professional as it gets.
  • It is okay to get a fancy shirt that you wear underneath your blazer, but do not experiment with the rest of the outfit.
  • The tops, shirts, and blouses should be lighter coloured, whereas the bottoms and jackets/blazers should always be dark coloured.
  • You can spice up your outfits by opting for pencil skirts or one-piece dresses, and you can also wear cigarette and ankle-length pants.
  • For females, the sandals should always be closed, and you can also wear slightly heeled sandals.
  • The makeup and accessories should always be clean and minimal.
  • Avoid flashy colours and loud patterns. Instead, opt for solid colours or monochrome looks.
  • Avoid high-slit skirts or pencil skirts in professional settings.

2) Fashion Industry

Everyone has their style, and they should always be true to their style. It is a myth that the people working in the fashion industry always need to be over the top and be on top of the game. That is not expected when you’re sitting for an interview. It is important to stay fashionable but do not fake anything just to try and fit in where you do not belong.

Profile Examples Include: Fashion Designer, Fashion Stylist, Fashion Editor or Writer, Design Assistant, Personal Shopper etc.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Know and gauge the aesthetics of the company or brand you are working for, and dress according to that. However, do not overdo it. Be stylish and elegant, but subtle.
  • Accessorise. Add details like bags, jewelry, shoes, scarves, etc. Accessorising can enhance a dull outfit.
  • Having one colour that pops can add so much to the outfit. If you keep your entire outfit simple but add even one colour that pops, it will tie the whole outfit together.
  • You can add boots or jackets to a simple outfit.

3) Finance Or Banking Industry

This is an industry where you need to be bold, fierce, and smart, but also on point. It is very important to leave a good first impression while sitting in an interview. This is an industry where you should not experiment too much with your outfits, and stay in the "safe zone".

Profile Examples Include: Consultant, Analyst, Portfolio Manager, Investment Banker, Financial Advisor, etc.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Suits are your best friends. You can pick subtle colours, but the best colour choices are the standard Blacks, Greys, and Blues. Everyone dresses formally in this industry.
  • You can wear the latest trends in office outfits, but remember that they should be professional.

4) Creative Industry

This industry is different from all other industries. It is increasingly progressing with time and is looked at and judged differently than the rest. As the name suggests, all points here are for creativity. It also applies to the way you dress if you’re a part of this industry or wish to be a part of it. When it comes to how you should dress for an interview, while the outfits may not be entirely formal, you are expected to be presentable, not shabby or sloppy.

Profile Examples Include: Photographers, Videographers, Editors, Writers, Content Creators, Directors, etc.

Things to keep in mind:

  • You can wear dark-colored denims, other semi-formal pants, and corduroy. Pair it with a nice shirt, preferably tucked in.
  • Accessorizing is good, as long as you keep it minimal.
  • One-piece dresses are a thumbs up, as long as it is not too short. The company you are applying for could have a chilled-out atmosphere, but it is important to dress sensibly and professionally during an interview.

5) Startups

Working for startups has more benefits in the sense that they mostly don’t care what you wear or have a set dress code. Most of the people working in startups, including the founders are mostly fresh out of college or passed out a few years ago. You can ace the outfit game by finding the right balance between casual and formal.

Profile Examples Include: Developer, Coding, Programmer, Web Designer, etc.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Semi-formal or presentable casuals work best. You can gauge the vibe by seeing what others are wearing.
  • While casuals are considered okay in this industry, make sure you do not wear short, revealing outfits.

What not to wear in an interview, no matter what industry

  • Revealing clothes are not acceptable in any industry. It could be considered highly inappropriate.
  • Loud, in-your-face colours should be avoided at all costs. Be it formal or semi-formal, loud, gaudy, and flashy colours are a big no-no.
  • The footwear you choose can make or break your outfit. Do not pick any inappropriate footwear.
  • Distressed jeans or tops/jackets are a no-go. Even in a casual workspace, distressed clothes are not okay.
  • Overly casual outfits or animal prints can be deemed inappropriate.

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