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How to Dress For Success: A Guide To Interview Styling

Man in a suit, straightening tie. Dress for Success, A guide to interview styling.

Author: Kalley Lovegood

What does the interview dress code call for these days? Overall, the employment industry has become more relaxed about dress codes. Fewer people than ever wear the traditional suit and tie to work every day. If you’re like me, you were taught that you should dress professionally for a job interview. Dress in a way you anticipate dressing every day for the job you hope to get, if not a little better, so you present the "best version" of yourself. This advice still holds true; the dress code has just evolved.

In every job interview, it is more crucial to appear well-groomed than to be perfectly dressed. Consider getting a haircut, or get your nails done if that’s your norm. If you have a beard, make sure it's tidy. Ensure your clothes are clean and free of debris like lint or pet hair. Your shoes should also be clean. You don’t need to polish them, but if they are visibly dirty, give them a wipe with a wet cloth.

After that, bear in mind that your clothes should not draw more attention than you do. You want interviewers to remember your personality and how you responded to their questions, not your bright red shirt. You can still express your individuality, but try to do it in more subtle ways.

When interviewing for office jobs, wear slacks or a skirt, not jeans. Jeans might be acceptable on the job, but for the interview, opt for something else. If the weather is very hot, like it often is in California, Bermuda shorts might be acceptable as well.

Your shirt should be a well-fitting button-up or a blouse. For blouses, ensure there is a modest neckline. Dresses are also suitable for interview attire. When attending job interviews, it’s better to err on the side of being reserved. The hem should be a minimum of mid-thigh. Ensure that the style of dress is more professional than casual.

A tie and jacket are not strictly necessary in most cases. If you feel it might be necessary, a jacket is preferable to a tie. Few people wear ties regularly, and many don’t know how to knot a tie, even with the help of YouTube. A well-fitted jacket makes a better impression than a poorly knotted tie.

As for piercings, each company has its own policies regarding personal decoration. If you are applying for a new position, it might be a good idea to remove or downplay any piercings. The same advice applies to tattoos; cover the ones you can. Attitudes towards tattoos have relaxed as well, but some companies still frown upon them. It’s best to present yourself as a blank slate and ask during the interview about the company's policy on things like tattoos and piercings.

Now you should be ready. Break out the lint roller and best of luck to you.

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