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 wear. That way, you won't have to scramble at the last minute to find a suitable outfit.

If you're wondering what to wear to 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.

Your interview attire depends on the type of job you're applying for. However, no matter what the position, and even if there's no dress code, you should always look neat, tidy, and well dressed.

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

Wear a Navy Blue Blazer for Endless Options

Business women
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These blazer and blouse combinations are great business interview outfits that consist of three pieces that are simple, yet 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 also 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.

A navy blue blazer also 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.

Experiment with Button-Down Shirts

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 version. You can experiment with fabrics, like the sheer silk chiffon here, which works well 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 not tucked in.

Look for Blouses with Interesting Details

Professional woman with tablet
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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 being interviewed, you can add a jacket to dress up the look.

Think Menswear with 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 could choose to 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.

Go Classic with a Black Dress and Tights

Women wearing black dress and tights
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AA 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, but anything that resembles fishnets is not workplace-appropriate. Finish your outfit with a pair of black heels for a classic, timeless formal business look.

Pair a 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 investing 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 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. This softens the look and makes it a bit more special.

Try a Statement Dress

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 to add 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.

Pair Up 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.

Add a Print Cardigan

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 just one print and keep the rest of the outfit simple and subdued.

Get More Interview Outfit Ideas for Women

Portrait of a Senior Mexican Female Administrator
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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 achieve 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.