A job interview is an event to get excited about. You get to show off your accomplishments, your knowledge and your sparkling personality. When your conversation concludes and you shake hands with your interviewer, you might feel like all of your studying and past hard work has paid off.

One major aspect of being interviewed is looking the part. When your attire and overall appearance suit the environment, you’ll demonstrate that you’re conscientious and attuned to details. It can help you to make a positive first impression before saying a word. You’ll also send a strong subliminal message about how well you’d fit in as a staff member.

With that in mind, it’s wise to prepare your clothing and refine your interview look in advance. It helps to remember that these meetings come in three basic categories: casual, semiformal and formal. Below are some suggestions for what to wear to a job interview in each of those groupings.

Casual

The casual job interview represents a fairly recent trend. It fits the culture of many startup companies, high-tech firms in particular. Some of these businesses try to attract talented employees by creating an environment that’s as relaxed as possible.

If you’re wondering what to wear to a casual job interview, you should be careful not to overdress. Everything is relative, and unless you’re applying for a position at a radically laid-back organization, casual business clothing is not the same as the casual clothing you might wear on a day off. In other words, skip the jeans, oversize T-shirt and flip-flops.

Instead, opt for khakis or other pants that fall somewhere between messy and dressy. Those pants ought to fit well, too. They shouldn’t look baggy, and your pant legs shouldn’t rub against the floor.

In addition, put on a pressed, button-down, long-sleeve shirt that matches your trousers. You could pair it with an appealing cardigan. To finish off your ensemble, find a comfy and attractive pair of shoes such as loafers, and don’t forget matching socks.

Semiformal

Another term for semiformal job attire is “business casual.” As you can guess from the name, these interviews aren’t quite casual, and they’re not quite formal.

For such an occasion, you should wear a sensible, traditional button-down shirt and elegant shoes. Likewise, vests, blazers and sports coats can all look great for this kind of interview. As far as your pants, you could wear chinos or more formal trousers. Unless you know for certain that neckties aren’t expected, wear a conservative tie. When you’re figuring out what to wear to a job interview, it’s better to be a little too dressed up than too easygoing.

Formal

Formal interviews may be the most common occurrence when looking for a new job. You’ll want to wear a dark suit, black or blue, along with dark shoes and a standard necktie. If your suit or tie has a pattern, it should be subtle, and the color of your tie shouldn’t draw too much attention. Your suit should look current, and it may be wise to have it tailored so it is flattering and impressive.

In short, everything about your appearance should be clean and neat. Nothing should be wrinkled, and you ought to polish and shine your shoes the day before.

Grooming and Hygiene

Being well-groomed for an interview is as important as being well-dressed. Get a haircut beforehand so that your entire look is buttoned-up and presentable. On the day of the interview, spend more time than usual getting yourself ready. Taking a long shower and spending a little extra time in front of the mirror might make you feel more confident.

In most cases, it’s best to leave all of your jewelry and accessories at home, except for a watch if you want to bring one. Resist wearing cologne, just in case your interviewer isn’t a fan of your usual scent. Good hygiene is the best accessory to an impressive interview look.

Ask Questions and Use Your Best Judgment

Two pieces of advice are particularly helpful for picking out your interview apparel. First, do some research ahead of time. If you can get in touch with a few staff members, and ask them what they’d consider to be suitable attire. If possible, visit the workplace to get a sense of the fashion choices. Fact-finding is often necessary for semiformal and casual interviews, since those descriptions can mean different things to different employers.

The final thing to remember about what to wear to a job interview is that you should do what you feel is right. Select clothes that you like, pieces that flatter you or bring out the color of your eyes. Above all, you’ll want to feel comfortable throughout the session.

If you’re confident in the way you look, it’ll come through in your responses. On the other hand, if your sense of style really clashes with the company’s style, you may be destined for employment elsewhere. In that case, keep going on interviews, keep looking your best, and keep smiling. Eventually, you’ll wind up in your dream job.

men's fashion advice

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.