The Best Interview Attire for Women

Illustration by Emily Roberts. © The Balance, 2018

A job interview is your opportunity to make a great first impression on your potential employer. Dressing for success is a big part of the interview process. Are you prepared to make that terrific first impression? It's always a good idea to have some interview clothes ready to wearso you don't have to scramble at the last minute to find a suitable outfit.

If you're wondering what to wear on an interview, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you should look professional and polished regardless of the type of job you're seeking. While your interview attire depends on the job you're applying for, no matter what the position, and even if there's no dress code, you should come in looking neat, tidy, and well-dressed.

If you're a woman who needs some inspiration for your interview attire, get some ideas of what to wear to an interview. For men, take a look at these interview attire options to make the best impression.

A Navy Blue Blazer Combination

Business women
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These blazer and blouse combinations are great business interview outfits that are compromised of three pieces that are simple, but extremely versatile.

A navy blue blazer is a great addition to your interview wardrobe. Not only can you wear a blazer on numerous occasions, but it works well with many different outfits - over a button down, with a blouse, and even with a dress, for example. The gray collarless jacket with three-quarter length sleeves is a less formal look.

Of course, a navy blue blazer looks great paired with a simple blouse or button down shirt. It's a staple combination that you can wear with khaki pants, a khaki skirt, and even dark-wash jeans in a casual workplace or to a casual interview.

A matching skirt or slacks, or a khaki skirt or dress pants round out the outfit. A khaki skirt is a good addition to your working wardrobe because it can be worn with many different tops. Like the blazer, it can also be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion.

Experimenting with Button Downs

Business woman wearing button down
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Guess what? Button downs don't have to be boring! And you don't have to limit yourself to the basic white, blue, or pink button-down shirt.

You can experiment with fabrics, like the sheer silk chiffon here, which works great when layered over a camisole. Try being creative with color, too. This shirt's color works well, as it's more interesting than the usual colors but still tasteful and professional.

When you're shopping for a button-down, remember that the neckline should be modest. Make sure your bra is covered, and avoid showing cleavage. It's also a good idea to keep your button down tucked in unless it's a style that is designed to be worn without tucking in.

A Blouse With a Bow and Skirt

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A  blouse like the one shown here with a bow makes for an elegant look, which can be completed with either a skirt or slacks. Add a skinny waist belt for a touch of detail that makes the top pop. A skirt made of an interesting fabric or a simple black pencil skirt is a great way to make a business look your own.

Depending on where you're interviewing, you can add a jacket to dress up the look.

A Khaki Mix and Match Suit

Woman at job interview
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A menswear-inspired khaki blazer is an extremely versatile piece to have in your wardrobe. Wear it with a button-down shirt or blouse. It looks great with a matching skirt, dark-wash jeans for a startup casual interview, or navy blue bottoms for a dressier look.

The button-down here might be a basic top, but the pink makes the look pop. With a shirt that has an interesting collar detail, you can button it up to the top, eliminating the need for a necklace. Another option for a unique collar detail is a rounded "peter pan" collar.

Finally, a navy blue skirt is a stylish alternative to the traditional black pencil skirt. It's a bit more easygoing than the typical black skirt, but it's still professional, creating a look that is relaxed and also refined.

A Black Dress and Tights

Women wearing black dress and tights
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A tasteful "little black dress" is the hallmark of a simple yet refined business wardrobe. Invest in a quality dress that skims the knee. A dress with a structured fit and nice details (like the capped sleeves here) is professional yet still modern.

To give your outfit some life, pair the dress with textured tights, like the ones shown here. Make sure the pattern is subtle, though - a sheer stripe, cable pattern, or ribbed look adds texture and interest, anything that resembles outright fishnets is not work-place appropriate. Finish your outfit with a pair of black heels for a classic, timeless business formal look.

Sweater and Black Dress Pants

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A pair of classic black slacks is an essential part of a woman's interview wardrobe. It's worth it to invest in a pair of quality black dress pants that fit well and will hold up after many wears.

Once you have a good pair of dress pants, it's easy to dress them up or dress them down. You can pair your dress pants with a button-down shirt or a blazer for a formal look, or with a sweater for a business casual look.

With a bit of creativity, black dress pants don't have to be boring. Add a top with an interesting detail, like this heather-gray sweater with black stripes and a button-down blouse. It softens the look and makes it a bit special.

Peep-toe heels with a moderate heel height are fashion-forward but still tasteful. If you're looking to dress down your look, add a pair of ballet flats or loafers instead of heels.

Statement Dresses

Stylish interview attire
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Although it's important that your interview attire is professional and conservative, that doesn't mean you can't experiment with color. A tasteful dress in an interesting color, such as a muted turquoise or deep red, is a good addition to your interview wardrobe.

With a statement dress like the ones here, you don't need to bother with adding jewelry or other accessories - the dress speaks for itself. When working with bright colors, though, make sure the rest of the dress is modest.

It's always important to make sure that both the neckline and hemline are appropriate: avoid short dresses and low-cut, revealing necklines. With a bright-colored dress, it is more important than ever that the piece covers you appropriately. All you need to round off a dress like this is a pair of black heels or black ballet flats.

A V-Neck Sweater and Slacks

Woman in jeans and a sweater
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Pair a blouse or a button-down top with a v-neck sweater for a versatile look. You can dress the top up with black dress pants or a skirt, or dress it down with khakis or dark-wash jeans if you're interviewing at a start-up or casual company.

What's great about this combination is that it's easy to create a variety of looks, with only a few pieces. If you invest in three simple blouses or button downs and three sweaters that all coordinate with each other, you'll have nine different tops that you can mix and match with different bottoms to wear to interview and work.

Print Cardigans

Woman meets with business partner
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Don't be afraid of prints. Although you should avoid anything too bright or flashy (animal prints, for example, usually aren't interview-appropriate, unless they are extremely subtle), a two-tone print, like the sweater here, can spice up an otherwise boring outfit while still looking professional. That's especially the case when you're not going to be working in a formal office environment. If you're going to wear a bold print, limit it to one print only and keep the rest of the outfit simple and subdued.

More Interview Attire for Women

business women
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Here are even more interview outfits for women who want to impress with style. Check out this fashionable and trendy, both formal and more casual, interview attire, along with tips on how to quickly and easily get the look.

Choose your outfit colors carefully - some work better than others for interviewing for a new job.

Not sure what to do with your hair and makeup? Here's a selection of hairstyles for women, and tips for doing your makeup that will pull together your interview image.

What Not to Wear to a Job Interview

People sitting in chairs, one woman smiling
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Regardless of the type of job you are interviewing for, there are some things you should never wear to a job interview. You want to get noticed in a good way, not stand out from the other applicants because of what you're wearing - or not wearing. From low-cut tops to excessive perfume, here's what not to wear when you are interviewing for a new job.