What to (and Not to) Wear to That Interview

What to (and Not to) Wear to That Interview

You wouldn’t wear ripped jeans to an interview at Goldman Sachs and you wouldn’t wear your mother’s stodgy Sunday church shoes to an interview at Vogue.

Yes, of course.

Beyond that, there are nuances galore that you need to understand before you walk through your potential new employer's door. In this market it's hard enough to score an in-person meeting, so be sure to make that meeting sell you, rather than selling you out.

Here's what to wear if the interview is in an office that is...

Traditional and/or Corporate

Your clothing needs to show your interviewer that you’ll be able to conform to corporate culture. Wear a lightly-colored or white collared shirt with a dark-colored suit. Go with black, navy, or dark gray, with minimal—if any—pinstripes. The goal here is not to showcase your originality (that’s what the interview is for!). Wear just a little bit of sensible jewelry, but don’t go overboard. For the record, we’re not fans of girl who wear pearl necklaces with pearl earrings and pearl bracelets. Look for business suits that are well-tailored, but be sure that the cut is not too revealing or sexy. Wear your hair down, neatly pinned to the side, or in a basic hairdo—again, nothing sparkly or crazy.

Non-Profit and/or Small Business

These interviews generally warrant a toned-down version of the corporate look. Even if the office doesn’t have a suit culture, a business suit should be your default interview attire. Maybe you leave your hair curly and wear the cute accessory your best friend gave you for good luck. Maybe your collared shirt is pink instead of white. When in doubt, veer toward formality.


Fashion interviews follow very different rules. First, you will want to tailor your look to the specific fashion house or publication where you’d like to work—without wearing their brand from head to toe. Business suits aren’t always necessary for these interviews, though you don’t want to be too funky and over-the-top. Try a trendy-but-classic dress with a blazer, or a stylish pantsuit ensemble. Whatever the case, make sure that your personal style and genuine passion for the industry show through in a way that complements the company’s vision. As always, keep it rated G.

“Jeans Appropriate”

Tech start-up? Art or design? First, make sure that this is really an informal office environment. Some hedge funds and other finance companies say that you can wear jeans to work every day, but you should dress up for those interviews as you would for other finance interviews. For the genuinely informal interview, respect the atmosphere by mixing formal and informal elements of your wardrobe. Skip the suit, but consider a sweet skirt with flats, or dress pants with a cute sweater on top. If you want to wear jeans, we’d recommend black or dark-washed jeans with a cute blazer.

But remember, every office vibe is different, so if you’re in doubt, go with your gut.


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