How To Dress For A Casual Interview (With Examples)

You have an in-person interview, congratulations! You’ve done your research on the company and are excited about the prospect of working there. But now you’re channeling your inner grinch thinking, “but what will I wear?!” From social media photos of the office, you can tell that the dress code is casual – everyone is wearing jeans and t-shirts. What does that mean for you? Don’t fret; here’s a fool-proof guide to dressing for a casual interview.

How To Dress For A Casual Interview

Always Dress One Step Up

First, the golden rule. Always dress one step above the company dress code. So, with a casual dress code, there’s a lot of room for interpretation. Our preference is to go “smart casual.” This typically looks like slacks or a Ponte-style pant paired with a button-down shirt or a nice blouse. However, you can get away with jeans if you really want to. Be sure they are as dark as possible, and pair them with a dressier shirt or blazer to balance. Simple business casual dresses or skirts are always acceptable for a casual interview as well!

Keep Accessories Simple

If you’re already dressing one step above the dress code, keep your accessories simple. There’s no need for a tie or elaborate jewelry. Include a simple watch or an understated necklace. Choose nice, polished shoes and a matching belt. When it comes to accessorizing, an interview is not the time to experiment. Stick with what you know and love!

Tread Carefully With Colors And Prints

There’s no need to avoid colors and prints altogether, but we advise you to choose wisely. Stick with colors that give a professional vibe, like cobalt blue or red. Leave the neon blouse at home to avoid looking too casual or distracting. Likewise, large, loud prints can distract and take the focus away from you and your qualifications. Instead, focus on subtle details that will leave a great impression.

Even at an office with a casual dress code, it’s important to look polished and professional for an interview. Aim for a balance between formal elements and casual touches to make a great first impression.

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!