We’ve spent time discussing the perfect outfit for an interview (down to the intricacies of what kind of hairdo one should adopt), and while we feel like we’ve provided some helpful advice, it’s also fair to say there’s no rulebook for this kind of thing. So we figured we’d dig up some inspiration for you. Inspired by street style’s coolest women—and armed with some excellent industry advice—we have laid out four different outfits to demonstrate dress code perfection for different types of interviews, from formal to chill. Basically, anything that could end up in a dream job offer will be benefitted by a confidence-boosting, personality-showcasing ensemble. No rush jobs or last-minute sweat-patch nightmares here.
To undergird these pitch-perfect interview outfit ideas, we included some exclusive tips from big names like Nina Garcia and Who What Wear’s own co-founders—Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr—to find out what you should (and should definitely not) wear to an interview. Scroll down for your guide.
Style Notes: Mix things up by opting for a suede or leather long-sleeve dress for a textural twist on the usual wool-mix fabrics that make it into the corporate world.
Expert Tip: “I’m super impressed by talent who obviously know what looks good on them and exhibit how that can work so powerfully in their favour. When something really suits you—whether it’s a beautifully tailored blazer, high-waisted trousers or a flattering midi dress—it shows that you know who you are, and that confidence permeates how you conduct yourself in so many capacities.” — Christene Barberich, Refinery29
Style Notes: It’s all well and good having the correct outfit on underneath, but what if you’re meeting outside or in a freezing air-con hub? Best to make sure that your coat game is strong. A lightweight spring trench in a nontraditional hue works on both practicality and stylistic levels.
Style Notes: Add a pinch of personality to slick tailoring and a crisp white shirt with a pair of kooky kitten heels, or lift your look with personal jewellery. Think 80% classic; 20% individual.
Expert Tip: “I’d say something relatively polished that still shows your personality. I think jewellery is a great way to personalise an outfit, especially if the pieces you’re wearing are vintage or have some sort of sentimental value. I also suggest wearing either a shirt or blouse with sleeves or a blazer; there’s something a little odd about seeing someone’s bare arms in an interview.” — Hillary Kerr, Who What Wear
Style Notes: Don’t feel like you have to swear off trouser suits just because of the connotations that come with them—try to find one that feels true to your personal style. Even an artfully dishevelled bun can help make a sombre suit look cool.
Style Notes: For casual offices, do stick to the relaxed side of smart if you’re wearing tailored trousers. The addition of a skinny scarf and a raglan jersey top will strike the perfect balance between on-duty professional and youthful media world.
Expert Tips: “[Candidates should wear] something that demonstrates a knowledge of what is happening in the fashion world but that highlights their own personal style at the same time.” — Nina Garcia, Elle U.S.
Style Notes: You never know how far you’ll have to trek across an office in front of an entire team, or the traffic and public transport disasters that may await you. Pick awesome shoes, of course, but pick shoes you really can go the distance in. Shiny black flats will often win out.
Style Notes: Don’t ever sacrifice professionalism. Chic tailored separates are always a good bet, especially paired with stylish kitten heels or flats.
Expert Tips: “What you wear to an interview is far more important than people think. What you’re wearing communicates who you are before you even open your mouth. It’s just as important to look polished as it is to be articulate, in my opinion. The biggest mistake that most young girls make when interviewing for a style-related job is that they often try to be so trendy they end up sacrificing professionalism.” — Katherine Power, Who What Wear
Style Notes: Don’t feel restricted to dresses or trouser suits only; well-chosen, super-slick, perfectly fitted separates can really look the business.
Style Notes: A clear closet and a clear idea of what you’re wearing (fully steamed and ready to rock) will give you a clearer mind on the big day. Go one step further and allocate the right underwear for the pieces you’re wearing—this will save you time and any potential fidgeting.
Opening Image: Brittany Bathgate
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.