What Not to Wear to an Interview

Knowing what not to wear to an interview will help you avoid wearing something that could hurt your chances of getting the job you want. Picking the right job interview outfit is key and might seem like a straightforward task, but many people still manage to get it wrong. The right outfit makes a great first impression, shows you understand the environment you’re interviewing in, and gives potential employers a sense of your own personal style, whereas the wrong clothing will do you no favors.

Let’s take a look at what you should not wear to an interview.

Clothes That Don’t Fit You

No matter how smart or fashionable your outfit may be, if it doesn’t fit you, it’s going to look terrible. If you’ve recently lost weight and your clothes are hanging off you, or if you’ve piled on a few holiday pounds and feel a little stuffed, it’s better to just get something new. People in the wrong size clothes give the impression that they can’t make accurate personal judgements about themselves, and that’s not the impression you want to give off. If you can’t sit down without breathing in or your jacket is flapping in the wind, go shopping.

Bright, Flashy Colors

While limited use of bold color can make you stand out, wearing a bright colored outfit should be avoided. You should aim to look conservative, but still make an impression. Using too much color means that there’s a chance that you’ll remembered more for your outfit than for what you had to say.

Too Much Makeup

Interview makeup should make you look awake, smart and understated. Avoid clumpy lashes, dark eyeshadow, thick foundation or overly done eyebrows. Wearing too much makeup makes you look insecure and vapid. A bold lip color can work well, but only if you balance it with a subtle base and open, minimalistic eyes.

Flashy Accessories

Job interviews are formal and jewelry, belts, shoes, bags, and other accessories should reflect that. Swap enormous earrings for neat studs, avoid novelty cufflinks, replace showy fashion purses for more professional, classic styles, and generally avoid looking too glittery.

Interviews are not the place for that hilarious tie you got for Christmas. Ties should always be smart, not too attention grabbing, and neatly tied. A tasteful tie clip is a good addition.

Inappropriate Shoes

Many people will put a lot of effort into their outfit, then ruin it with the wrong shoes. Job interview shoes should always be understated, in very good repair, well polished and in keeping with the rest of your outfit. Downtrodden shoes will make you look shabby, and poor quality footwear tends to give the impression that you’re not very successful.

For women, it’s important to remember that any pair of shoes you wear to the office should not endanger your life if you have to make a run for the fire escape. Keep heels under three inches and avoid open toes, stilettos, wedges and sandals. A neat pair of good quality pumps looks lot better than anything you’d also wear to a nightclub.

Casual Clothes

Interviews should be taken seriously, even in the middle of summer. It’s tempting to try and dress down a little, but if you go too far, you’ll risk looking sloppy. It’s harder for men, who are generally expected to wear a suit to any interview, but there are ways to look smart without dying of heatstroke. You can ditch heavy jackets and just wear a nice button down with a tie. For less formal employers, a pair of tailored khakis is usually acceptable.

For women, summer is a time when you feel you can get away with showing a little more skin. This is not the case for job interviews, where it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Avoid plunging necklines and hemlines that don’t reach the knee. Safe options for hot weather include tailored dresses, or a lightweight summer suit with a skirt.

Another pitfall to avoid is thinking that just because everyone at the company you are hoping to work for wears jeans, you can show up looking casual. For anything office based, formal clothing is expected at interview.

Overly Formal Clothes

In some situations, a full on suit is over the top. If you’re applying for a job at a construction site, you’re going to look a bit silly trying to pick across rubble in shiny office shoes, so wear something that’s practical, but still smart. Dark jeans, a good shirt, and a light jacket will be fine for manual labor jobs, and for lower level retail or warehouse positions, a smart shirt with a skirt or pair of trousers, and presentable shoes should be fine.

Excessive Perfume or Cologne

Not everyone likes perfume, so it’s best to keep it light. If perfume or cologne is part of your usual ensemble, use less than you would usually, or leave it out altogether. You don’t want to be remembered for being the candidate that made the conference room smell of cologne for the rest of the day.

Out of Date Styles

Men can generally get away with older suits if they are still smart, but women’s clothes are more influenced by fashion and need to update their interview wardrobe at least twice a decade. If you haven’t applied for a new job in several years and your go-to outfit is dated, it’s time to invest in something new. If money is tight, check out good quality clothing exchange shops and sales.

Anything Scruffy

If you have a pet, get a lint brush. If you smoke, make sure your interview clothes are stored somewhere smoke free. Always wear clean, pressed clothes to interviews, and avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily. If you have long hair, run a lint brush across your shoulders to make sure you’re not catching strays.


Hopefully, these 10 things will help you to know what not to wear to an interview. It’s also always a good to idea to ask the person setting up the job interview about the dress code, whether it is the HR Manager or a hiring manager. This will help you to get a good idea of what you should wear to impress your prospective employer.

Posted in Articles and Guides on Sep 28, 2016

By Admin Adminson, SimplyJobs