They say you only have 30 seconds to make a first impression (no pressure!), so your job interview outfit is a pretty big deal. Obviously, it's important to look polished and professional—but what do you wear when you don't know the culture of the company you're interviewing with?
Believe it or not, it's easy to assemble an arsenal of perfectly neutral (but still impressive) interview outfits from an array of mix-and-match separates. The secret is a low-key, stylish mix of prints and solids. Start with these ingredients:
- Black or brown slacks
When it comes to job interviews, you can't beat a well-tailored pair of slacks. To avoid the bank teller/waitress look, invest in a pair made from nice fabric, like lightweight wool or good cotton—and have them tailored to fit.
- Two skirts, one printed and one neutral solid
Everyone looks good in a pencil skirt or a gentle A-line skirt with a hemline that rests just above the knee. Again, fit and fabric make all the difference.
- Two tops, one printed and one solid
Whether you choose button-down or pullover, soft silk or crisp cotton, the perfect interview shirt is modest without being frumpy, flattering without being overtly sexy.
- Pull it all together with a blazer or jewel-neck cardigan in a solid color that echoes one in your printed skirt or shirt.
- Speaking of prints: Keep your prints small and unobtrusive. Discreet polka-dots and demure florals are safe bets for both tops and skirts, while crisp, gingham checks are best reserved for tailored, button-down blouses.
Now that you have the essential pieces, you're ready to rock. These fail-safe formulas will get you through any interview with flying colors:
- Solid, neutral bottoms (pants or skirt) + pretty, printed top + solid cardigan or blazer that picks up a color in your top
- Printed skirt (no printed pants, please) + solid top + solid cardigan or blazer that picks up a color in your skirt
- Throw on a pair of low heels or ballet flats and you're good to go in almost any environment, from advertising to banking to the tech industry. It's really that simple.
P.S. It’s okay to be the best-dressed person at the interview. Do your homework about the company, and don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter what the dress code is.
What are your fail-safe job interview go-tos? Let us know!