Decoding Office Dress Codes: What To Wear To An Interview

office dress code

One of the first thing that comes to your mind once you land an interview… “but what will I wear?” The world of office dress codes can be confusing, let alone interview dress codes! Let’s break down the three most popular dress codes you’ll find in a modern office. But first, keep these 3 golden rules in mind at all times, no matter what the code!

  1. Keep it simple. You don’t want your clothing to distract from you, the interviewee.
  2. It’s ALWAYS better to be overdressed than underdressed.
  3. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. A great outfit will give you the confidence you need to ace the interview!

If the dress code is business corporate

This may be one of the easiest codes to dress for because it leaves little room for ambiguity. The default for corporate interviews is a sleek, well-fitting suit with little to no accessories. Stick with dark and neutral colors and simple, clean lines. It’s important to limit piercings and tattoo exposure. Your hair should be neat and professional (here are some great examples for women). Don’t go overboard on the makeup, perfume, or aftershave. The theme here is to stay as conservative and professional as possible.

If the dress code is business casual

This is probably the most prominent office dress code in 2018. It is also the most confusing! Business casual has a number of varying definitions across different industries, locations, and company cultures. For interviews, you always want to err on the side of caution. Think about dressing one step down from business corporate attire. Khaki slacks or skirts with a button down shirt or sweater are great go-to’s to have in your closet. Blazers will always add a professional element but can be mismatched to avoid the “overdressed suit” look. It’s best to stick to solid colors, as patterns can take the attention away from you, but you can play with a greater variety than just neutrals and dark colors.

If the dress code is casual

Many offices go with a casual dress code now. If that’s the case where you’re interviewing, go with a business casual outfit. Your goal is to look polished without being too stuffy.

No matter what the dress code is, consider the company and position you’re interviewing for! If you’re going to a manufacturing facility that will include a tour, it’s often appropriate (and requested) that you wear steel-toed boots. Interview at a marketing agency? Probably appropriate to play a bit more with color to show your personal style and creativity. Just remember to always lean towards more conservative. If you’re unsure if something is appropriate or not, trust your gut and skip it!