There's no denying that it can be difficult to assemble an interview ensemble. But taking the time to thoughtfully pick out your interview attire is an essential pre-interview task.
After all, first impressions are key—you'll want to make a great one on interviewers. Part of how people initially assess others is how they appear, making dressing for success more than just a matter of vanity.
Take a look at interview attire guidelines and advice for men that will help you make the best impact on a prospective employer.
Choose a Few Basic Pieces
Don't worry, you don't have to spend a lot of money or pore through fashion magazines and websites to figure out what to wear to your interview. Men's fashion is relatively straightforward—using a few basic pieces, you'll be able to easily put together an outfit that is stylish, professional, and tasteful.
Work with Colors and Layers
When you finally land that interview, you may not know the company's dress code before your arrival. While interviews at startup companies or for non-professional jobs signify a more casual look, if you're interviewing for a professional position, stick with a formal look.
Even within the "business formal" category, there's a huge range of different dress codes. A formal look like this gray suit, with a colorful button-down shirt and sweater underneath, is professional but doesn't look "stuffy" or uptight, making it a good choice for all types of interviews. This outfit is modern and stylish, but still workplace appropriate.
Light Colored Jacket and Pants
Not sure if the company you're interviewing at requires a business casual, or business formal type of dress? Find the middle ground with a light-colored or khaki blazer and coordinating pants.
A khaki blazer is less harsh than a black or grey suit coat. It's a great piece because it straddles the boundary between business casual and business formal. It's adaptable, too: Worn with a tie, it skews business formal, but when it's worn without a tie, it's a solid option for when you aren't quite sure of the dress code.
A Sweater and Button-Down Shirt
Layer a sweater with a button-down for the most dependable business casual look. Neutral colors like brown, black, and navy are good choices for sweaters, as they match many different shirt colors, including light blue, pink, yellow, green, or the white button-down shirt here.
Pair the layered top with khakis, grey chinos, or even dark wash jeans (in a less formal environment, such as at a startup company) for an easy interview outfit.
A Navy Blue Blazer
A navy blue blazer is a breath of fresh air from the typical black suit coat and a great addition to your interviewing wardrobe. You can wear it with a tie or without, depending on the dress code. Navy blue goes with a lot of shirt colors, and is suitable to wear with khakis, chinos, or grey slacks.
There's a lot of flexibility packed into this one item, so you'll get a lot of mileage out of it. Navy blue blazers add a touch of class for a look that is timeless, yet professional.
Ties don't have to be boring. Although you should avoid anything too flashy, such as "novelty" ties with wacky prints, don't be afraid to experiment with unexpected colors—like the blue tie here, for example.
You can wear a striking tie with a button-down shirt and skip the blazer for a dressier but still business casual environment.
Bold Button-Down Shirt
Coordinate your tie with an interesting button-down shirt for a look that is sophisticated and stylish.
Be thoughtful when choosing your button-down shirt. In a strict formal dress code, stick to classic colors with subdued prints, like a blue stripe, for example. You have some more flexibility in a more casual environment, especially considering bold button-down shirts don't need a tie to dress them up.
Don't be afraid to experiment: Figure out what works for you, but make sure the shirt complements your look without overshadowing your personality.
Modern Business Formal
Are you interviewing at a company with a business formal dress code, but you're tired of the same old black suit, white shirt, and basic tie?
Fortunately, if you use discretion in coordinating your outfit, your business formal suit doesn't have to be stagnant and boring. Work with colors that are modest but still eye-catching, like this light-blue patterned tie that matches a striped shirt. It adds a touch of urban sophistication without sacrificing professionalism.
Finally, a grey suit coat and pants still lend to a formal look, yet is more modern than the dreary black suit.
Consider Adding Texture
Adding texture to your outfit lends an instant sense of class, sophistication, and style to an otherwise ordinary ensemble.
A textured blazer, like the tweed one here, dresses up a button-down shirt and slacks without looking stuffy or uptight. A corduroy blazer accomplishes the same thing.
Pair the blazer with a tie for a more formal environment, or lose the tie for a look that is relaxed but professional.
Go Back to Basics
A pristine button-down shirt, grey or black slacks, and coordinating tie is a staple ensemble that works in nearly any office environment.
It's also an easy look to throw together. All you have to do is choose a tie, and you're ready to go. With the rest of the outfit so simple, you have some leeway to choose a patterned tie, which will stand as the centerpiece of the outfit.
Because it's a simple look, though, it's important to make sure that each piece of your outfit is in good condition, and fits well. Make sure your button-down shirt is wrinkle-free (and clean!) and take the extra effort to ensure that your slacks are pressed and pleated.
What to Wear for a Casual Workplace Interview
When you’re dressing for an interview at a casual workplace, what’s most important is to dress neatly and tidily. Business casual is always a safe option, and it’s smart to avoid flip-flops, hats or caps, sweatshirts, shorts, and t-shirts with graphics or writing.
If you're not sure what’s appropriate to wear, it's fine to check with the person scheduling the interview.
What Not to Wear to a Job Interview
There are some things you should never wear to a job interview if you want to make a good impression. That includes anything dirty, most denim, and sandals.
Here's what not to wear when you are interviewing for a new job.