Style Guide: The Perfect Interview Outfit

Style Guide: The Perfect Interview Outfit

Dressing to impress for an interview can be a simple yet crucial factor in creating a great first impression at your potential workplace. It’s not just what you wear, of course, that earns you respect with a future employer. Being prepared, keeping eye contact, and exuding confidence are key tips for securing a job during an interview. (For more tips on the do’s and don’ts of interviews, check out my post on interview etiquette.) But there’s still something to be said about dressing the part–and doing so in an appropriate, stylish manner. I’ve always believed that creating a great first impression can open doors and create opportunities you never knew were possible. Today I’ve put together a Style Guide to help you do just that. Whether you’re interviewing for a fall internship or simply embarking on new journeys in your career, putting together the perfect outfit is a necessary ingredient in any recipe for success.

Before deciding what to wear, you need to do a little research about the company you will be meeting with. Typically depending on the field you can make a pretty good guess. Artistic jobs are typically more casual, while positions in areas such as banking require a more buttoned up, professional look. If you’re still unsure after your research, err on the side of dressing professional. Appropriateness is also key. Be sure to read up on my Work Wear Commandments to help you know what’s acceptable in the workplace and what’s not. If in doubt, remember the Three C’s: conservative, confident, and classy.

Most companies fall under three different categories of workwear. To help make these divisions a little more black and white, I’ve put together an exemplary outfit for each of these three categories below…

1. Casual. I know I’ve said it before, but formal dress doesn’t necessarily mean success. Although dressing for an interview in a casual office does not mean you can wear whatever you want, there’s also no need to go out and purchase a silk pantsuit either. Simply put your best foot forward in comfortable, conservative work attire. Casual offices tend to be creative environments, so you do have a little bit of freedom to express yourself through your clothes. Just kick it up one notch on the dressy-scale for an interview.

Style Guide: The Perfect Interview Outfit

Elizabeth Cole Turquoise Howlite Pyramid Esme Stud Earrings ($95), ASOS Leather Portfolio Clutch With Metal Tip ($51.09), Intrude by Steve Madden ($90), J. Crew COLLECTION GRAPHIC-PRINT PANT (248), Dorothy Perkins Orange waterfall blazer ($69), Louche Jones Broderie Blouse (£20.00)

2. Business Casual. This middle-ground category of work attire is the trickiest to dress for, in my opinion. Some basic tips to keep in mind include avoid wearing denim, steer clear of crazy trends, and opt for closed-toe shoes for the interview. In a nutshell, keep your look pretty, polished, with professional touches.

Style Guide: The Perfect Interview Outfit

Max & Chloe Yochi Emerald Rhinestone Statement Necklace ($145), EQUIPMENT Signature blouse ($226), Chrystie by Elizabeth and James sunglasses ($215), LC Lauren Conrad Platform Heels, BCBGeneration Julia Clutch ($74.10 – $78.00), H&M Skirt (£12.99)

3. Formal. If you discover that the company you’re interviewing for is a buttoned-up, ultra conservative environment, you must follow a professional dress code. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo fashion completely. Incorporating classic accessories (like a layered pearl necklace or a neutral, polka dot blouse) can add personality to your formal attire and set you apart from other interviewees. A few simple tips to follow include avoiding flashy colors, getting your items tailored, and keeping your hair and makeup clean and natural.

Style Guide: The Perfect Interview Outfit

Bond in Pink Leather Clutch ($166), LC Lauren Conrad Pearl Drop Earrings, Delirious by Ciao Bella ($34.97), MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS LARGE DOT DRAPE SLEEVE BLOUSE ($160.88), Far Fetch MYTHS LOOSE FIT TROUSER ($90)

No matter where you’re headed, this Style Guide should have you covered. And when in doubt, remember the Three C’s.

Good luck everyone!

And be sure to check out my in-depth style guides for casual, business casual and professional dress codes.

Do you have any exciting interviews coming up? What’s your go-to interview outfit?

XO Lauren

You might also like…
Fall in Love With… Polka Dots!
Chic Peek: My New Fall Collection
Shopping List: Back to School Basics
Tuesday Ten: Our Favorite Fall Trends

Photo: thesugarmagnolia.wordpress.com

Categories: Style Guide, Wear
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  • Deanne Castro

    Great tips!

    I love the 3rd outfit!!!

    For more fashion and beauty advice, please visit my blog:

    http://myfashavenue.blogspot.com/

    Today’s post – Printed Jeans

    xo

    Deanne

    Follow me on:

    Twitter: @myfashavenue

    Blogloving: http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/3874092

  • Melissa Panici

    Great post! I don’t have any interviews coming up because I have my perfect job:) Thanks for the tips Lauren!

  • Emma Fox
  • Emma Fox
  • Audrey Lee

    All of these are amazing outfits. My favorite is the first one, I will deffinitley try that look on my future interviews:) thanks for the great choices!

  • Martin M

    Business casual is my favorite. It looks buisness like but has the cool charme of a daily based look to wear for each occassion :) XOXO

    http://www.look-scout.blogspot.com

    http://www.look-scout.blogspot.com

  • Hanny R

    Interviews are coming up soon and so are job fairs. A tip I learn is if you don’t know what to wear mainly for business jobs as well as college career fair just stay with the suit. it’s the easiest outfit to put together and you won’t have to worry about thinking “”is this outfit too short, or too showy too much?”” but all of these outfits are great for those work environment. Even if my work doesn’t have a tight dress code, I like to dress at least casual and business casual. It helps me get ready for my career job hopefully soon!

  • My Style Diary

    Love the outfits. It will definitely help me when I have to go on an interview, thanks!


    http://mstyleblogspot.blogspot.com/

  • Eliza Zamora

    Cute outfit ideas I am adoring polka dots for fall!!

    lovelyaddictions.blogspot.com

  • Kaitlin Hubbard

    I have my interview for nursing school in two weeks, and have been unsure about what I’m going to wear, so this really helps me out! Thanks Lauren!! :)

  • Diamenrose

    I’m looking forward for an interview for a fashion school :-)

  • Kelby Peachey

    A tip I received a few years ago was “”look at position you want to be at one day and review what they’re wearing. You should be wearing that too.”” Since then I’ve worn to that level and I’m now taken more seriously.

    Love that polka dot blouse!! SO CUTE!

    -Kelby

    http://peachypains.com

  • TheEnchantingLife.com

    Great outfits. I did a very similar post on my blog called “”Decipher the Dress Code: Interviews.”” Which includes how to put an outfit together that is affordable and how to do your hair and makeup.

    Check it out here at: TheEnchantingLife.com

    Have an enchanting day,

    Natalie

  • Cassidy Short

    Very cute, love how it’s still so professional, but makes you stand out! :)

    xoxo

    Cassidy

    http://norebeccaforayear.blogspot.com/

  • Ashley Rene

    I’m looking forward to have more interviews since I got my masters in social work!! These tips have helped!

  • Karmele Garcia

    Thank you! This helped a lot

  • Samantha K

    the first ones my fave!

    check out my beauty fashion blog http://lifeofbeingsammy.blogspot.ca/ :)

  • Kasia Rymar

    Love these suggestions, especially the formal interview outfit! I never thought that interview outfits, especially formal business ones, could be so cute! http://kasiamaria.blogspot.com/

  • Kylie Miller
  • Kristy Whybird

    Aww I went to the Kohls website to look at your brand and after filling my cart and norrowing it down to my absolute favourites that I could afford I discovered they don’t ship internationally. Sadness :( You have so many lovely items.

  • Holly Ruyle

    Thank you, I was really needing this for an upcoming interiew that I have!

  • TheEnchantingLife.com

    Love the outfits. I did a similar post called “”Decipher the Dress Code: Interviews”” on my blog that features affordable and chic interview outfits. Also, there is a new post called “”French Wardrobe”” that gives fashion advice on how to add a french flair to any outfit :) Both posts are at: TheEnchantingLife.com

    Have an enchanting day,

    Natalie

  • Lacie Blake

    Wow!! This is really helpful. I am in a class this semester where it is required to dress up on quiz days. I’ll be saving this link to come back to cause I know I’ll me needing it a lot. Thanks Lauren!!! :)

  • Karen Rideout

    I just had three interviews and I wore a skirt-suit 2 of the 3 times. Underneath I wore a beautiful top and did my makeup rockingly.

  • Deanne Castro

    Great tips! I love the 3rd one!

    For more fashion and beauty advice, please visit my blog:

    http://myfashavenue.blogspot.com/

    Today’s post – Who Wore it Best: Victoria Beckham vs. Jennifer Lopez

    VOTE TO SEE WHO WORE IT BEST!

    xo

    Deanne

    Follow me on:

    Twitter: @myfashavenue

    Blogloving: http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/3874092

  • HistoryBeauty

    Don’t forget that a really nice basic black or grey suit always works too!

    http://www.youtube.com/HistoryBeauty

  • Susie Leckie

    I truely hate to say this, because generally I am SUCH a huge lover of everything that you suggest Lauren. But none of these outfits are really doing it for me. The only outfit that I actually like is the picture you have at the top. :( I have been going on quite a few interviews lately and I usually opt for nice black slacks that I have with a little heel with a bold top and cardigan. I try not to over do it, as I live in the Silicon Valley and a lot of these companies are kind of tech-y and either laid back casual or have more of an old fashion women in suit type of vibe. I don’t know but I’m finding it very hard to keep a balance between fashion and fitting in with the rest of the office.

    susie x X

  • Cesie Alvarez

    This is totally my kind of post! My blog is all about Business Casual looks! It was totally inspired by a post you did a while back on Business Casual outfits. I just started working at a law firm and your post was the ONLY thing that came up on google.

    Please check out my blog with more business casual outfits!!!

    http://thebuscas.com

  • Kellie Norton

    I love all of these! I recently wore my LC Lauren Conrad black pumps to my job interview I had on Tuesday.. I’m hoping they gave me a little luck ;-)

    -Kellie

  • Rosie Waldherr

    Great tips!! I always have problems figuring out what to wear to interviews =X

    Have a great day!

    xoRosie

    http://teacupsanddresses.blogspot.com/

  • Bridgette

    Check out my blog fashionbybridgette.blogspot.com

  • Meri Boskovski

    I’m an accountant so I always dress formal but becuase I am so petite I tend to wear corporate dresses. Sometimes finding the right pair of pants can be difficult. And I am a huge fan of black and grey in the corporate environment – avoid flashy colours.

    M

    xoxo

    http://mezstyleguide.blogspot.com

  • Spinell Rodrigues

    Hi Lauren…Can you suggest some nice dress for me to wear this christmas?

  • Linh Ly

    i love these outfits! i would wear everything just like that. great choices! thanks for the tips Lauren.

    linh

    http://befashionfit.blogspot.com

  • Shrita Karmokar

    Hi, I just wanted to know about what foemal shoes would be appropriate for interview?? Are heels always compulsory or we can wear flats to??

  • alex jones

    Hi very nice collection of dresses. You should keep it up.
    http://drsnooze.com

  • Sarah Bella

    THANK YOU for posting/showing appropriate work attire – all too often I see sexy work clothes, which is not work appropriate. You want to be classy in the office, not have male coworkers drooling over you.

    These outfits prove that you CAN be sophisticated AND fashionable!

  • Robyn {The Chic Image}

    Outfit number one is definitely something I would choose to wear. I love the idea of adding some color (if you’re allowed) to an office outfit.

    Robyn xox
    http://thechicimage.blogspot.com

  • Ani Filipova

    Great outfits for interview! Definitely gonna make a memorable impression, especially combined with a formal hairstyle, like this one :)))

    2 MINUTES HAIRSTYLE: elegant updo for long hair
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTTd5d3Yrk8

  • lyn

    I love the tan blazer in the first photo but I can’t seem to find one like it anywhere. Any ideas where I can find one like that?

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