What to wear to a job interview: Go-to outfits to help you get hired

Deciding what to wear to a job interview? Here are some great outfit ideas

composite of three outfits showing ideas for what to wear to a job interview
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First impressions matter and whether it's face-to-face or via Zoom, knowing what to wear to a job interview isn't always easy. 

Meeting someone for the first time is always a little nerve wracking and if you're vying for a new job role, then the stakes are pretty high. First impressions are unfortunately made quickly, so when it comes to job interview outfits, you want to get it right first time. To help alleviate the pressure, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to what to wear to a job interview, to help put a stop to that sartorial meltdown.

And regardless of what you choose to wear, our one top tip is to prep your outfit and have everything you plan to take with you ready the night before. It may seem like such a small thing, but having everything, ironed, hung and packed (if taking any kind of laptop or portfolio) will mean you can rest easy and leave unhurried the next morning. Don't forget to set your alarm!

Stuck for inspo? We've pulled together the best fail-safe job interview outfit combos to kick-start your wardrobe and your new career.

1. Blazer + almost anything

composite of three women in blazers

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The best blazers for women are a wardrobe essential, as they have the ability to make any outfit feel instantly pulled together.

To keep things smart, stick to a muted color palette of black, grey, and navy. Anything too bright, and you run the risk of looking unprofessional. Go matchy-matchy with co-ordinating tailored trousers, give dresses and silky skirts a masculine spin with an oversized blazer or sharpen up a plain jumpsuit with a interesting jacket  - the outfit options are endless! Look to timeless prints such as checks and opt for double-breasted designs if you want it extra smart.

Our fashion editor recommends…

2. Midi Dress + Heels

job interview style

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It’s important to look smart for a job interview, but you also want your outfit to be a reflection of your personality. After all, if you feel uncomfortable in a new suit, it’ll show. Instead, opt for something a little closer to your comfort zone, and as long as it’s modest and smart, it’ll fit the bill. The best midi dresses will make interview dressing a breeze. 

Falling between the knee and ankle, tailored midi dresses are the perfect length for job interviews and look great with pointed flats, heeled boots or Mary Janes. The best shirt dresses often come in a midi length and are a smart choice for an interview-ready outfit. Stick to muted tones and classic prints to ensure your outfit enhances your interview technique, without overshadowing it.

For job interviews in the winter, pair your dress with a blazer and a pair of the best winter boots, and swap out boots for pretty pointed flats in the summer months.

Our fashion editor recommends…

3. Pencil Skirt + Blouse

job interview style

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Much like the fail-safe midi dress, a pencil skirt falls at just the right length. They are instantly smart, even dark denim variations if your job isn't in a corporate field. Team with a tucked-in blouse or shirt for a flattering silhouette and play with textures such as leather and silk for an extra luxe touch. Pencil skirts work best with heels but you can keep it comfy and opt for a low kitten heel or mule.

Our fashion editor recommends…

4. Suit

job interview style

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Take the trusty blazer up a notch and team with matching tailored trousers for a sleek head-to-toe look. Layer over your best shirt or a fine roll neck in the winter and stick to a pared-back palette of navy, brown and cream. If you want to inject some personality to the look, you can add a shoe in a bolder hue or one of the best designer bags.

Our fashion editor recommends…

5. Wide-leg trousers + Shirt

job interview style

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When planning what to wear to a job interview, test out your final choices in both a seated and standing positing to ensure your look won't crease too heavily and ensure items are comfortable. Nothing is more awkward for an interviewer and interviewee than clothing that has to be constantly tugged and readjusted. 

Wide-leg trousers are universally flattering, particularly in high-waisted styles. With the abilities to skim thighs, shape midriffs and elongate legs, they're an excellent choice when you need to feel and look your best. Keep to a tonal color palette such as blue, grey, white or camel for a chic style that also offers a touch of brightness. 

Our fashion editor recommends…


What not to wear to a job interview

Worried about making a fashion faux pas? We’ve broken down the pieces to avoid when deciding what to wear to an interview...

  • Ill-fitting clothing: Too big, too small, too long, too short - anything that needs regular adjusting and will cause you to fiddle when you’re nervous is a no-go. In the best-case scenario, it’ll only distract you. But worst case, the interviewer will notice too.
  • Short hemlines or plunging necklines: There’s enough to worry about during a job interview without the impending fear of a wardrobe malfunction. You never know if there might be a task too, so midi lengths and high necklines are best.
  • Uncomfortable shoes: You want to stride into an interview with confidence - not limp on your poor, blistered feet. Interview day is not the time to wear a new pair for the first time - wear them in beforehand.
  • Flip flops or sliders: We know we said your shoes need to be comfortable, but that doesn’t give the green light for throwing on a pair of flip-flops. Go for a closed-toe shoe for a professional feel.
  • Sportswear: Swap the best hoodies, joggers, and trainers for a neat blouse, tailored trousers, and a pair of pumps.
  • Hats: It’s traditionally considered impolite to wear a hat inside, so in case your interviewer is a stickler for etiquette, leave yours at home.

Can you wear jeans to a job interview?

Of course, it depends on the nature of the job you’re applying for, but as a general rule wearing even your best jeans to an interview is a big no-no.

Dressing too casually can backfire, with the interviewer getting the impression that you’re not keen enough on the role to make an effort. Putting on a smart outfit head-to-toe, as it will put you in the right mindset and it won't send you into a panic if you suddenly have to stand up mid-interview!

If you do think that jeans might be appropriate for a particular interview, make sure they’re dark indigo or black, with a skinny or straight leg. Relaxed, boyfriend fit, or light wash jeans will feel too casual.

What shoes to wear for an interview

When choosing what to wear for an interview, don't forget to pick the correct pair of shoes. Generally speaking, you want to make sure your shoes are smart, in good shape and of course clean to help give the best first impression. You can also opt for boots for an interview, such as a smart pair of the best Chelsea boots

Pointed pumps are a great style choice for an interview, as they offer all the leg-lengthening benefits of a pair of heels but none of the pain. Choose yours in nude or cream to max out your cost-per-wear—hopefully in your new job!

If you would prefer to wear heels to an interview, make sure they're smart and also a pair that you can easily walk in so that you can concentrate on acing your interview instead of any pain or wobbles that heels might induce. 

Brands to consider when deciding what to wear to a job interview

what to wear to a job interview, a selection of outfit ideas and brands to shop

(Image credit: Boden / Reiss / Marks and Spencer)

Reiss

Originally launched as a men’s tailoring brand, Reiss knows a thing or two about what makes a well-fitting work wardrobe. Its palette is always muted - think creams, greys, and pinks - making them easy to mix and match with other pieces in your wardrobe.

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Boden

Browse Boden for a personality-packed take on classic pieces. Expect vibrant jewel tones and luxe fabrics. Add one of its silky, patterned blouses to a simple black suit for extra style points.

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Marks & Spencer

There’s rarely a fashion problem British clothing brand, M&S can’t solve, keeping us covered for all occasions. Thanks to a reliable work-wear line, it’s a great place to shop affordable, interview-ready pieces. The M&S Collection range is more classic, with Autograph and Per Una covering more trend-led styles.

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Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.

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