How to Dress Up in Business Casual for an Interview

Your choice of attire can affect an employer's job offer.

Your choice of attire can affect an employer's job offer.

After weeks of scanning classified ads and sending out your resume, you've finally scored an interview with a company you know you would love to work for. Naturally, you want to look your best on the big day. An employer won't offer you a job solely because of your attire, but wearing a tasteful outfit makes a good first impression. Interview attire is typically professional and includes a conservative dress or pant suit. If an employer invites you to wear business-casual attire to an interview, you can wear a more relaxed outfit that still looks attractive and professional.

Select a conservative top, such as a blouse or sweater, that is neither attention-grabbing or revealing. Don't wear a shirt that's made of velvet or features any type of glittery material; save such shirts for a girl's night out. Never wear a T-shirt to any job interview.

Choose a pair of solid-colored, wrinkle-free pants. Khaki, brown, gray, black and navy are acceptable colors. Don't wear pants that are either too tight or too baggy. If you wore the pants in high school, they probably aren't appropriate now.

Wear a tasteful skirt if you'd rather not wear pants. Choose a skirt that comes at least to your knees when standing and covers your thighs when sitting. Avoid skirts that feature a slit designed to show off your legs, no matter how attractive your legs may be.

Select comfortable shoes in a neutral color, such as brown, black or tan. Don't wear shoes that are pastel-colored or white. Ideally, your shoes should cover your toes. Professional-looking sandals may be acceptable, but don't wear flip-flops. Avoid shoes with high heels or platform heels.

Pull your hair away from your face. Don't come to the interview sporting a wacky new hairstyle. Avoid coating your hair with gobs of gel, hairspray or other products.

Apply light makeup, if you wear it. Don't wear bright red lipstick, dramatic eye shadow or thick mascara. Go for a more natural look instead by using neutral colors. Don't paint your nails an unusual color. Ideally, avoid using perfume. If you must use it, apply just a dab on your neck or wrist. Realize that perfume can cause an allergic reaction in some people. If your interviewer breaks out in hives because of your perfume, chances are you are not getting the job.

Take an appropriate purse with you to the interview. Use a small one that's just big enough to hold the essentials, such as your keys, wallet and phone. Avoid bringing a very large bag or backpack.

Tip

  • Make sure that the employer really wants you to wear business-casual attire to your interview. Most companies prefer that candidates wear professional attire to interviews.
 

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

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