Wardrobes to Win Over Job Interviewers

Confidence is a great thing to bring to interviews, but so is a stellar outfit. Generally, when we look our best we feel our best and employers can feel the positive energy you have when you dress for the job you’re looking to get. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to be memorable, in a good way, with the clothes you wear to an interview.

For the Guys

You definitely don’t need to pour a lot of money into interview clothes to get yourself the job. The key to putting together an interview outfit is having a few pieces in your wardrobe that you can mix and match, regardless of the type of interview.

The Do’s

Depending on the work environment, you might be expected to wear business casual or business formal for your interview. For business casual, you can’t go wrong with a simple sports jacket or blazer in a neutral color. Pair it with dress pants, a colored shirt and a tie and you’re good to go. If you want to add some texture, try putting a sweater or cardigan underneath. These kinds of sets sell at Kohl’s and other retail stores for about $25, so splurge and get two.

For that middle ground when you’re not sure what kind of professional environment you’ll be in, there are a few pieces that are foolproof. Khakis are a good choice that can match anything you put on top. If you think the job is very relaxed, a button-down under a sweater is a good way to go. Ties are fine, but they aren’t necessarily essential for the business casual interview. If you do wear one, keep it simple and don’t break out any $5 gag-gift ties.

The safest bet for formal interviews is usually a full suit.

“Full suit with dark dress pants, a white shirt, a black tie and black dress shoes,” sophomore Mike Samlall said describing what he wore to a recent interview.

However, it can be hard to stand out and express your personality with a suit, so jazz the outfit up with a cool shirt and tie combination or maybe a subtle plaid or checkered shirt paired with a dark tie in a unique color.

The Don’ts

Do not wear too much cologne, headphones, sunglasses, sneakers or an unkempt hairdo to an interview. A combination of two or more of these is even worse. It appears very unprofessional and gives employers a poor first impression. You want to appear natural and motivated to get the job, not sloppy and indifferent.

For the Ladies

The Do’s

For ladies, there are a few interview-essential pieces that you should invest in. A pair of black dress pants is an absolute must. If washed and dried correctly, the same pair will hold up for years and can be used for both casual and formal interviews. You can pick up a pair for $15 at TJ Maxx, Target or any other large clothing store. Button-down shirts are another great choice for business casual interviews. Try experimenting with different fabrics, prints and fits to find something that’s professional but matches your personality. The simple collared shirt is a great versatile piece as well; it can be worn under a solid sweater for casual attire or under a blazer for a more formal interview look.

A blazer is another investment you won’t regret. Buying one in a neutral color like beige, navy or black is best for interviews and can be worn with pants or a skirt. For business formal looks, wear a blazer with dress pants and a blouse. Knee-length or pencil skirts are also a viable option when worn with simple patterns on top.

Dresses work well for the business casual or formal look, depending on how you wear them. Simple dresses in a solid color and with conservative neck and hemlines are appropriate for most work environments. For the business formal look, a black or other neutral-colored dress with a pair of stockings and a low heel is classic and timeless. Plus, the little black dress can be worn again and again.


Do not wear any clothing with low necklines or high hemlines to an interview. It doesn’t appear professional and makes an improper statement. Anything too tight or bright should also be avoided. Patterns are fine, but neon colors are a definite no, and clothes that leave nothing to the imagination must be left at home. Finally, a lot of makeup or crazy hairstyles are usually a bad idea. Keep your makeup natural with just a little foundation, mascara and lip balm; leave your hair down or in a neat ponytail or bun.

No matter what the interview is for, the key to looking great is dressing neatly and tidily.

“I understand students might not be able to afford all necessary interview clothes,” Eileen Quaglino, career advisor for Contemporary Arts at the Cahill Center said. “That’s why I say dress the best you can afford. You need to go into an interview prepared.”

More information is available at the Cahill Center’s Web site.