Five Interviewing Dress Tips for Women

On the search for a new job? Whether you already have an interview scheduled or are just hoping for one, having an outfit in mind means you have one less thing to worry about when the big day arrives. Understanding interview dress code do's and don'ts makes it easier to pick your outfit and impress your interviewer.

Consider the Company

Not every position or company calls for the same interview wardrobe. You probably wouldn't wear the same thing to an interview for an entry-level store clerk position in a convenience store as you would for an executive position at a bank. Before you select your outfit, do your research about the company and the position. If you're not certain of what's expected, don't be afraid to ask the recruiter.

For a casual company, a nice blouse and pants or a casual dress will work well. If the expectation is business casual, dress up the blouse or dress by adding a blazer. Even a cardigan can work in a pinch, if you don't have a blazer. For an interview in which professional attire is expected, you'll want to wear a suit, either with pants or a skirt. Keep the suit neutral with a solid button-down shirt underneath for a polished look.

Wear Clothes that Wear Well

One of the best interview dress tips for female applicants is to show up with a pressed, clean outfit, no matter what the outfit is. Showing up with a wrinkled shirt makes a bad first impression right off the bat. Always make sure that your outfit is free of stains, and is clean and smells fresh. Of course, you may want to press your interview clothes, but the fabric and structure of the outfit is also a factor.

Some fabrics hold up better than others without wrinkling. Wool, silk and polyester fabrics are less likely to wrinkle than cotton, linen and rayon. Some materials that are prone to wrinkling can be treated to resist wrinkles, so check the labels. Fabric blends also tend to wrinkle less. For example, a polyester and cotton blend is nearly wrinkle free. Choose fabrics that don't wrinkle easily to prevent creases from forming while you commute to your interview or while you are sitting in the interview.

If you're using pieces from your existing wardrobe, you'll already have an idea of which items resist wrinkling. Another consideration is how well the clothing holds its shape. If the clothes stretch, sag or otherwise lose their shape as you wear them, by the time you arrive at your interview, you may look sloppy.

Choose Conservative Interview Clothes

Avoid anything too trendy or revealing. Keep in mind that you're going to a workplace, so you should dress somewhat conservatively, even if the office is casual. Wearing a conservative look doesn't mean a boring look. For women, interview attire can reflect your personal style, while still providing coverage so that you look professional.

For women, that means choosing interview outfits that have a higher cut, instead of a plunging neckline. If you choose to wear a dress or skirt, don't wear one that's too short or too long. The safe bet is to choose a hemline that hits mid-knee. The fit is another consideration. Choose an outfit that has a tailored look that's not overly tight. It's also best to avoid sheer fabrics, lace cutouts or similar features that are better suited for a night out than office wear.

Your style may be trendy, but clothes that are too outside of the usual office options can affect the impression the hiring manager has of you. Wear traditional, timeless interview styles that you know will go over well. Wearing a big, crazy print or bold colors may stand out, but in a negative way. What is the best color to wear to an interview? Usually, it's best to stick with classic neutrals, such as black or navy. Avoiding light colors will ensure that you won't show up with a noticeable stain from a mud puddle or spilled coffee.

Accessorize Minimally

Just as with your interview clothes, your accessories should be conservative. Wear makeup if you feel comfortable wearing makeup, but skip bright colors or dramatic looks that don't fit in with the expected workplace environment of where you work. Nail polish should also look professional, so a clear or pale neutral color works best. It's a good idea to not wear perfume for the interview, as the scent can be overwhelming to some people. Wear a few simple pieces of jewelry.

Your shoes are also part of accessorizing. You want shoes that are comfortable, easy to walk in and professional, so leave your stilettos at home! Comfortable flats or low heels work best. Wear a classic shoe rather than a super trendy shoe that might draw unwanted attention.

Feel Comfortable

A polished, professional look is essential, but you also need to feel comfortable in your outfit. If you're constantly adjusting your slacks or you feel as if you can barely breathe in your outfit, your discomfort may show in the interview. Uncomfortable clothes can distract you when you're trying to answer the questions the interviewer asks of you.