What to Wear for a Job Interview: Outfits to Impress in 2022

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Going for a job interview is always a nerve-wracking experience. You want to put your best foot forward and make an unforgettable first impression. Your clothing is one of the ways that people build their first impression of you.

While it’s easy to get caught up in your interview prep, deciding the right outfit to wear for your interview is just as important. The phrase ‘dress to impress’ is more than just a cliché.

Wear appropriate clothing as it is one of the ways that people build their first impression of youWear appropriate clothing as it is one of the ways that people build their first impression of you (Credit: GBJSTOCK / Shutterstock)

While every office – or work from home – set-up and environment is different, there are a few universal rules when choosing your interview outfit.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or frazzled when pulling together your outfit. Can you wear a bold color? Should you show off your personality or keep it simple?

We’re answering all these questions and more with our guide on what to wear for a job interview in 2022. Whether it’s your first job or an interview for a promotion, this guide will help you choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and ready to impress your interviewer.

Start With Your Hair and Makeup

Before putting your outfit together, start with your hair and makeup. You want to keep both as natural as possible. Bold makeup can be distracting, and it’s best to choose an easy hairstyle.

Stay away from heavy perfumes and choose a ‘soft glam’ or ‘skin-first’ approach to your beauty routine. You want to look bright-eyed and alert without showing off your eyeliner or heavy contouring skills.

Keep your hair and makeup as natural as possible (Credit: Chaay_Tee / Shutterstock)

If you’re doing a virtual interview, your hair and makeup are even more important. Your interviewer will be seeing you from the shoulder up, so you want to consider how your outfit looks on camera.

What Colors Are Appropriate to Wear for a Job Interview?

One of the most popular questions people have about interview outfits is the color to choose. When in doubt, stick to neutrals and subtle colors. Black and navy blue are classic choices, while beige and white can help to brighten your appearance.

Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color to your outfit. Soft pastels and jewel tones can help your outfit stand out and add an elevated feel when styled the right way.

A solid color dress with neutral accents can make you look more polished than an all-gray outfit.

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Certain patterns and prints can also be appropriate for a job interview, depending on your outfit and the role you’re applying for. You want to avoid prints that are too distracting or trendy.

Choose prints that come in a neutral color scheme, like a navy plaid, and tie the rest of your accessories into this color palette.

If you want to add a touch of your personality, stick to one signature accessory. It might be a colorful bag, statement necklace, or a small pair of gold hoops.

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Consider the Position You’re Applying For

You want the outfit you choose to reflect the position you’ve applied for. If you’re applying for an internship, your interviewer won’t be expecting you to arrive in a three-piece suit.

You’ll want to choose a business-casual look that you’ll feel confident and comfortable in.

Depending on the position you're applying for, business-casual outfits are perfect for internshipDepending on the position you’re applying for, business-casual outfits are perfect for internship (Credit: Viktor Gladkov / Shutterstock)

Start-up companies have a similar interview style. While you need to make a good impression, you want to avoid being too overdressed.

Research the company culture to get a feel for what you can expect and to make sure your outfit fits the position you’re applying for.

When you’re applying for more senior roles, your interview outfits should start to become more formal. Executive roles call for a traditional three-piece outfit.

While mid-level positions are an opportunity for you to express your personality, you still want to create a professional impression.

For more senior or executive roles, you should opt for a classic three-piece look to create a professional impressionFor more senior or executive roles, you should opt for a classic three-piece look to create a professional impression (Credit: imtmphoto / Shutterstock)

Understanding What Business Attire Is

In the age of start-ups and working from home, the term ‘business attire’ can be confusing. It largely breaks down into two categories – business casual and business formal.

Business casual is slightly more laidback but still makes you look polished and put together. Classic business casual staples include a blouse, knee-length dress, or casual pantsuit.

While your outfit will be minimalistic in style, you can show a little more of your personality through your choice of accessories.

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By comparison, business formal has a stricter dress code. This style is what you’ll choose when attending an interview for a more senior position.

Add a blazer to your skirt and blouse, or choose a tailored dress with a statement accessory. Business formal outfits should also convey a sense of authority, as well as professionalism.

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It’s worth considering how these dress codes are viewed within the industry you work in. If you’re applying for a position within a creative industry, you can take more risks with your outfit.

If you’re applying for a junior role at a tech start-up, you’ll usually want to stay minimalistic with a semi-casual business look.

What Shoes to Wear for a Job Interview

One thing that’s easy to decide when planning your interview outfit is your shoes. Leave your sneakers and casual shoes at home.

Your shoes are the finishing touch to your outfit and often one of the first things people look at when you walk into a room. Research shows that you always want to put your best foot forward.

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Open-toe shoes of any style aren’t appropriate for a job interview – whether you’re applying for an internship or executive role. Choose closed-toe shoes in patent leather or suede.

Kitten heels and ballet flats are versatile choices that work for most job interviews. While high heels might give you a confidence boost, you want to choose an appropriate height and avoid platforms or mule shoes.

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First impressions matter when going for a job interview. You want to win your interviewer over from the moment you walk in.

Choosing the right outfit not only creates a great first impression but can make you feel more confident heading into your interview. Looking the part is the secret to acing your job interview.

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