The warm weather and bright colors of summer can leave you wondering what to wear to a job interview. While the buttoned-up look is typical for many interviewers, it may not be practical for a summer interview. If you want to look the part of a serious candidate while remaining current with your choice of attire, it's important to know what to wear when meeting with a new employer in the summer.
Interview attire should not be so bold as to define you in a certain way. At the same time, it should be well tailored enough not to make you look drab and dull. A neutral outfit with a strongly colored accessory such as a belt or purse will allow you to fit the season while preventing sensory overload in the meeting room. In some cases, a brightly colored shirt can enliven a dark or neutral colored business suit to the point that it no longer blends in with the crowd.
Instead of heavy woolen suits or button-up collars that can really turn up the heat before the interview has even started, consider wearing lightweight materials that breathe well and allow air to circulate. Natural fibers like cotton or silk blended with artificial materials like polyester are among the best at lifting moisture from your skin on the inside while remaining presentable on the outside. Avoid anything with an inner liner that adds weight and thickness that can cause you to feel the heat even more.
Although it's warm outside, you may find yourself feeling cold in an air conditioned meeting room. You may also wish to cover up your summer clothing with a simple jacket to feel more businesslike when it comes to the actual interview. Bring a basic suit blazer or lightweight throw to do the job. Carry it to the interview and resist the urge to wear it. The last thing you need is a sweaty brow as your potential employer begins her evaluation of you.
Footwear should also reflect the weather outside without being too casual. Consider a short heel constructed of cork or wood, either in a neutral color that matches your outfit, or a flash of color that matches your seasonal accessories. If the company you are interviewing with has a very conservative culture, don't push the envelope too far with your footwear. It's up to you to determine what a given company expects from its workers, and it is always safer to be more reserved if you're not sure. Whatever you decide to wear on your feet, wear hose to finish off your polished look.
Ideally, your goal should be to look like you belong in the office where you are trying to work. You also want enough personal style to be memorable as a candidate instead of just another business suit with a resume. The patterns and textures of simple attire can go a long way to making them unique, as can the designs you choose to mix in an outfit. Overall, it's better to look as though you gave less time and thought to your outfit than you probably did. It conveys confidence and preparedness to your potential employer.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.