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Interview and Work Attire Guide

December 12, 2016

           

We know the panic all too very well. Have you ever stood in front of your closet the night before a job interview, discontentedly browsing your wardrobe, yet not quite sure what you're looking for to begin with? Introducing our handy and complete "Interview and Work Attire Guide." Never show up to a job interview again in questionable garb, instead, feel confident in the appropriate outfit while focusing on the important part, bagging the job!

 

An important thing to remember is, that no matter the employment type (full time, part time, contractor, contract for hire, intern, seasonal, temp, etc.), you should still follow the guidelines for the type of industry the position is in. For example, if you are interviewing for an intern role at a new startup company online, you'll still dress business/executive casual. Additionally, your choice of clothing will depend on the type of interview. If you're interviewing over the phone or computer, the employer will either only be seeing you from the waist up or not all. If you would like to wear a full outfit, you are more than welcome to, but it is not necessary.

 

Rules of Thumb:

  • Hygiene is key.

  • ​Always bathe before an interview/work.

  • Each item of clothing should be cleaned, ironed/steamed and smell fresh.

  • Make sure your hair and nails are cleaned/trim.

  • Wear minimal makeup and accessories.

  • Do not wear perfume, essential oils or cologne (you never know if someone in the office is allergic).

  • Stick to basics when choosing your outfit - keep distractions to a bare minimum (your 'girls' and 'boys' should stay intact and not revealed!).

  • Designer labels and logos can be worn, but steer clear of becoming flashy.

  • Make sure your clothes fit and do not have rips, holes or tears.

  • Dress appropriate to the weather.

  • If you can, remove any facial piercings.

Baseline Casual

Industries: Food and beverage, construction, service, pets/wildlife, volunteer, electrical/plumbing/HVAC, landscaping and childcare.

Outfit

Top

  • Slightly fitted t-shirt

  • Casual collared shirt

  • Knitted or plaid shirt

  • Cotton blouse

Bottom

  • Fitted, but not tight, dark denim jeans

  • Cotton or corduroy pants or skirt

Shoes

  • Clean mature sneakers

  • Dressy sandals or flats

  • Closed-toed shoes

Accessories

  • Any color or nail design

  • Studded earrings

Small Business/Mainstream Casual

Industries: Manager, healthcare and education

Outfit

Top

  • Short sleeved top or blouse

  • Button down shirt

  • Contrasting vest or cardigan

  • Solid or slightly patterned cotton shirt

  • Polo/collared pullover shirt or sweater

Bottom

  • Knee length wool or blended fabric skirt or slacks

  • Dark denim jeans (refer to Human Resources or avoid altogether)

  • Slacks or corduroy pants

  • High quality khakis

  • Microfiber or gabardine pants

Shoes

  • Open-toed shoes

  • Ankle height boots

  • Leather flats

  • Loafers or oxfords

  • Solid colored sneakers (refer to Human Resources or avoid altogether)

Accessories

  • Coordinated yet simple accessories, such as a scarf and big jewelry, (remember that less is more)

  • Nail color can be bright with designs and gems, but limit overly designed nails to one finger

Business Casual

Industries: Social work/therapy, information technology, startup and remote/virtual

Outfit

Top

  • Collared shirt

  • Sweater

  • Conservative dress or skirt

  • Polo/collared pullover shirt or sweater

  • Solid or subtly patterned colored shirt or blouse

  • Ties with a conservative, solid or subtle pattern

  • Suit separates (not full)

Bottom

  • Dressy pants or black slacks

  • Pressed khaki pants

Shoes

  • Formal shoes

  • Ankle height boots

  • Loafers or oxfords

  • Comfortable flats

  • Closed-toe pumps

Accessories

  • Nail color should be neutral or dark with limited design

  • Statement jewelry such as a necklace or bangle

Business Professional/Executive Casual

Industries: Accounting, real estate, religious affiliation and government

Outfit

Suit

  • One or two button high quality pantsuit in black, brown or navy or a conservative pattern

Top

  • Sports coat or blazer (if not wearing a suit)

  • Collared button up shirt in any color

  • Long sleeved, dry cleaned shirt

  • Cashmere or other high end sweater

  • Silk or cotton blouse

  • Tie should be conservative colored or patterned

Bottom

  • Dry cleaned, cuffed light colored pants

  • Knee length or 1 inch width above the knees skirt

Shoes

  • Black or brown loafers or oxfords

  • Closed-toe, low-heeled pumps in tan, black or brown

Accessories

  • Nails should solid neutral or dark with no design

  • One statement, high end piece of jewelry  

  • Silver, gold or white gold jewelry

  • If wearing a full suit, wear cuff links

  • Nude or dark colored stockings

Formal/Conservative/Boardroom Attire

Industries: Corporate, banking, finance and law

Outfit

Suit

  • High quality tailored wool suit with one, two or three buttons in solid black, brown, gray or navy

Top

  • Tailored separates or conservative dress

  • Collared button up shirt in white (French cuffs are optional)

  • Silk, knit or cotton blouse

  • Modest and conservative silk tie

Bottom

  • Knee length or 1 inch width above the knees skirt

Shoes

  • Closed-toe oxfords

  • Low heeled pumps in black, brown, gray or taupe

Accessories

  • Manicured clear or beige toned nails

  • Dark colored stockings or tights

  • Diamond studs

  • High end gold or stainless steel watch

  • Cuff links​​​

As good practice, it's typically better to be overdressed than under. And don't be afraid to try on a few outfits , snap a couple photos and send to friends and family for feedback!

 

Hayley Worthman

Post by Hayley

Hayley Worthman is a thirty-something writer, digital marketer and yogi from the suburbs of Boston, MA. She rivals Bartholomew Cubbins in 1000+ hats as an expert multitasker. She loves to travel, eat tacos and slurp down her morning coffee.

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