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Dress for Success: The Best Outfits for Different Types of Interviews

You’ve probably heard the saying before: “dress for the job you want.” While this is sometimes sound advice, it really doesn’t always apply.

If your dream job is to be a travel writer and Instagram influencer, that’s nice. However, you probably shouldn’t wear a bikini and sarong to that interview for an administrative assistant job.

Jokes aside, it is important to dress in apparel appropriately based on where you’re applying to work. It’s important to make a good impression, but you don’t want to be overdressed either.

Here’s a quick rundown of what kind of apparel to wear and when.

Business Casual Apparel

Interviewing for a job with a company that has an informal work environment? A business casual look is likely your best option. Of course, it’s important to know the company’s dress code before simply assuming certain apparel is acceptable.

Not sure? Find out by calling the company’s administrative coordinator or the recruiter who scheduled your interview.

Business casual apparel is less formal than showing up in a suit. However, it still means having a clean, polished, and professional look. For example, you might wear a nice pair of khakis or slacks and a button-down shirt.

Professional Apparel

Business attire apparel is often the most appropriate for jobs in professional workplaces.

For women, it’s a little more flexible, as you can wear a statement dress or a blouse with dress pants. For men, it typically means wearing dress slacks, a long-sleeved button-down, a suit jacket, and – of course – a tie.

Try to avoid wearing apparel that might be too flashy, and make sure your appearance is neat and presentable. You’ll certainly want to avoid obvious faux pas like wrinkled apparel or pet hair.

Casual Apparel

While less common, sometimes an interview does call for casual apparel. For example, if your interview is with a hip, new startup company, you might want to forgo formal business apparel.

Super casual environments mean you can skip the suit and instead opt for something more relaxed. Of course, you still want to look smart and respectable. Khakis or dark-wash jeans paired with a nice top or polo shirt will likely suffice.

When in doubt, business casual apparel is typically still appropriate even for a more laid-back environment.

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