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What clothes say "I mean business"

Dressing to impress

By: Lamar Hinchen

Your appearance is the first thing people notice. You only get one chance to make a first impression, which is usually made within the first 30 seconds. The most important thing you bring to an interview is confidence. What you wear and how you wear it helps convey that. Appearance affects hiring decisions, employers need to visualize you in the position they are trying to fill. You need to be comfortable in what you wear, but dress professionally. The guidelines below are commonly accepted as appropriate for interviewing.

Dressing for interviews
Men
  • You should wear a suit to interviews. "Suit" means: a matching jacket and pants, dress shirt, tie, coordinating socks and dress shoes. A dark-colored suit with light colored shirt is your best option. Your suit should be comfortable and fit you well so that you look and act your best.
  • Avoid loud colors and flashy ties.
  • Clothing should be neat, clean, and pressed.
  • Shower or bathe the morning of the interview. Wear deodorant. Don't wear cologne or aftershave. You don't want to smell overpowering, or worse, cause an allergic reaction.
  • Make sure you have fresh breath. Brush your teeth before you leave for the interview, and don't eat before the interview. Don't smoke right before an interview.
  • Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservative.
  • Shoes should be well-polished and in good condition, not scuffed or run-down at the heels. They should also match your belt.
  • Be sure to shave the morning of the interview, even if you don't ordinarily shave every day.

Dressing professionally shows respect for yourself, the interviewer, and the company. You may not have to dress like this every day, but you are more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to details.

Second interview, you must still dress professionally. It's much better to be too dressed up than too casual. A good rule of thumb is to dress like your boss.

Women
  • Generally, you should wear a suit with a skirt or pants. When in doubt, be more conservative.
  • Your suit should be comfortable and fit your well; if your waistband is cutting you in half or your jacket is too tight, you won't look or act your best.
  • Interview suits should be simple and dark in color. Anything tight, bright, short, or sheer should absolutely be avoided. Knee-length skirts are suggested.
  • Wear a conservative blouse with your suit. Do not wear bright colors, animal prints, or anything lacy, sheer, or low-cut.
  • Make-up and nail polish should be understated and flattering; shades that are neutral to your skin tone are generally advisable. Avoid bright or unusual colors or very long nails.
  • Keep your jewelry and hair accessories to a minimum, and stick to those that are not flashy, distracting.
  • Shoes should be conservative and fairly low-heeled. They should be in reasonably good condition, not scuffed or run-down at the heels.
  • Your clothing should always be neat, clean, and pressed.
  • Shower or bathe the morning of the interview. Wear deodorant. Don’t wear perfume: you don’t want to smell overpowering, or worse, cause an allergic reaction.
  • Make sure you have fresh breath. Brush your teeth before you leave for the interview, and don’t eat or smoke before the interview.
  • Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservatively styled. The idea is to look polished and professional.

Dressing professionally shows respect for yourself the interviewer, and the company. You may not have to dress like this every day, but you are more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to details.

Second interview, you must still dress professionally. It's much better to be too dressed up than too casual. A good rule of thumb is to dress like your boss.