Overdressed Vs. Underdressed for an Interview

A well-fitting suit with matching shoes and neatly styled hair should do the trick for an interview.
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You've heard it before: For a job interview, you want to be clean, polished and professional. Overdressing for an interview can be as much of an inhibitor as under-dressing. Not only will it cause distraction, but it could also reflect on your judgment and awareness of the company culture you are interviewing to join. However, being underdressed is just as negative as being overdressed. This could reflect that you don’t care about the interview or are not prepared. Read below to avoid these mistakes and understand the dress code for professional interviews.

Omit Festive Makeup

When in professional settings, it is usually best to opt for more neutral tones with makeup. This doesn’t mean you cannot express yourself, but avoid colorful shadows and super intense lipstick colors for the most part. Before you even fret about what's in the closet, remember this: For the majority of the interview, the manager is focused on your face. Depending on where you are interviewing to work, more colorful makeup might be accepted, like if you are interviewing to work in a beauty or fashion company. But for corporate settings, neutral is usually better.

Suit Up

Suits are a perfect choice for interview attire if you don’t want to worry about picking out an appropriate dress, which is possible but sometimes harder. Once you have chosen a well tailored, matching suit, turn to the shirt you are placing underneath.Try to avoid very low cut blouses or anything sheer, but rather a high neck plain top, a tasteful blouse with a tank top underneath, or something along those lines. Simple, clean, and well-fitted do the trick. Always allow your personality and style to shine through, but in a way that aligns with company dress code and makes a positive first impression. Suits are a great choice for interviews at law firms, banks, accounting firms or anything in the traditional corporate world. Although it is not the most important part of the interview, what you wear matters. So avoid t-shirts and crazy clothing choices to impress the recruiter.

Understand Occasion

If you decide to avoid dress pants and button-down shirts and opt for a dress, there are a few things to consider. Occasion is crucial to selecting an interview-appropriate dress. A sheath dress in a sturdy fabric and neutral color works well, especially when paired with a cardigan or blazer and simple jewelry. Silk, jersey, or any clingy material sends the wrong message to the interviewer. Find an interview outfit dress that is well structured, a solid color with few embellishments and pair it with a nude heel and you have perfectly acceptable business attire. Avoid casual clothing like sundresses and be sure to dress for success to impress your hiring manager.

Avoid Flowing and Casual

Under-dressing, or wearing something you might wear on a normal day in the office, sends a relaxed message to the interviewer that can derail your interview. Stick with the suit or stay in the suit genre with a similarly colored sheath dress. If all else fails, head to your nearest department store and tell the salesperson on the floor that you're shopping for a job interview. Most department stores have helpful employees who can help you pick out event-appropriate attire. It's worth a shot to walk into your meeting with an extra boost of confidence. This way you can avoid worrying about what you look like and focus on what really matters- answering the interview questions well and representing exactly who you are.

Shoe Yourself In

A solid black or navy pump is timeless and can carry any outfit a step higher on the serious-chain. Flats are a perfectly acceptable choice, usually in a black, gray, navy or neutral color. Just be sure the flat matches the style of the rest of your outfit. As a general rule of thumb, try not to wear high stilettos to a job interview. A 2-3 inch heel is more appropriate for a work environment. Shoes must be polished and un-scuffed. You don't have to purchase the most expensive pair, but they shouldn't be shiny or cheap looking either. Wear shoes that could carry you to an important business meeting your life depended on. After all, this meeting could drastically change your future.


If you are worried about figuring out how to dress business professional, ask a friend or just search the term on pinterest or your favorite social media platform. There are even articles on LinkedIn that will help you understand what business casual is and will help you avoid fitting into too casual dress codes. Professional dress can be confusing, but when you master it, you will stand out from other interviewees and might just get the job.

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