A few years ago, almost everyone wore business suits to job interviews.
Dress for Success

Over the years our society has become less and less conservative when it comes to these particular dress codes.

The first impression on a potential employer is the most important one.  The interviewer’s first judgment will be based purely on how you look and what you are wearing.   What you choose to wear communicates volumes about who you are and how you perceive yourself.   That’s why, in many cases, it is still important to dress professionally, regardless of the work environment.

Failing to dress appropriately, could have a severe impact on your chances for a successful interview.  Wouldn’t it be a shame if you were the most qualified candidate for the position, yet you never received a second glance, and therefore the opportunity of a lifetime, just because of the way you dressed?

So what is the appropriate dress code for any interview?

Follow these simple tips and you will never go wrong:

Men’s Interview Attire:


  • Suit (solid colour – navy, black or dark grey)
  • Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit, not too many patterns.)
  • Belt (same colour as your shoes)
  • Tie if need be (but always recommended)
  • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat and clean, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase
Women’s Interview Attire:


  • Suit (navy, black or dark grey)
  • The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes, heals not too high.
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
  • No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
  • Clean and professional hairstyle
  • Neutral pantyhose
  • Light make-up and perfume
  • Neatly manicured clean nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Remember less is MORE!  Never dress with too many patterns, the interviewer will be too distracted by what you are wearing than acknowledge what you are saying.

What Colours to Wear:

Conservative colors, such as black, blue, gray, and brown, seem to be the safest bet when meeting someone for the first time in a professional interview, whereas colors that signal more creativity, like orange, may be a little too loud.

Here is a brief analysis of colour psychology and what messages these colours send to the world:

Black Leadership, glamour, sophistication and exclusivity.
Blue Team Player, exudes trust and confidence.
Gray Logical, Analytical and independence.
White Organised and clean.
Brown Dependable, warmth, safety, reliability, and dependability.
Red Power and passion.  It’s the best colour to wear when you’re trying to persuade or impress someone.  It can also represent aggression, so beware.
Pink Calms aggression, tranquil, warm and loving. Unlike red, pink soothes rather than stimulates.
Green Calming colour associated with generosity and peace also known as the colour of balance and restoration.
Yellow, Orange and Purple Creative, fun and want to attract attention.  They don’t necessarily elicit feelings of trust or commitment; this may not be the best message to send out in a job interview.

Now that you look the part, also be aware of your posture and body language in the interview.   A good posture and a solid handshake is very important.  Always make eye contact and smile.

Your body language is part of your overall appearance.  Pay attention to your grooming as much as your outfit.

Continue dressing for success, even after you land the job. Always dress for the position you want, not the one you have.

About The Author

Yolande Wissing has an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management. Her career started in the Hospitality sector as a Front Court & Banqueting Manager. She then spent 2 years at @lantic in Events Coordination and Marketing where she won Top Performer award for Marketing in 2010 and 2012. You can connect to her on LinkedIn.

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