How To Dress For Success In 2023

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This is advice I only take when I’m unemployed and wearing nothing, but it’s not the most useless thing I’ve ever heard.

The job you want is the one you’re applying for, so what you wear to the interview matters. The perfect outfit largely depends on your desired vibe. It also depends on who you are as a person—it’s no secret that factors like sexism and racism play a big role in job interviews, and your outfit isn’t going to eliminate biases.

However, there are some general guidelines you can follow to ensure you make a good first impression. If you’re looking for a banger outfit to bolster your strong application, keep the following factors in mind:

Professionalism

It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Over 40% of job interviewers admitted that a formally-dressed candidate made a better impression than an informally-dressed one. While it’s true that some companies with a casual work culture will penalize you for showing up in a full power suit, it’s always better to err on the side of trying too hard (when it comes to interviews—definitely don’t do this while dating .Try as little as possible).

In more relaxed work settings, you can opt for a combination of dress pants or a skirt with a polished blouse or a blazer. For formal or corporate environments, a well-tailored suit in a bland color (such as navy, black, or gray) is a safe bet. You can go for a fun color, although I’ve always been of the opinion that if the most fun thing about you is the color of your shirt, you’re probably something of a bore (no offense). Choose colors and fabrics that convey a sense of professionalism. Unfortunately, this is probably gray. Gray just works.

Comfort

Interviews are a high pressure situation, and the last thing you want is to be thinking about the waistband of your pants rather than the question at hand. It’s okay to be nervous—92% of Americans find the job application process stressful—and wearing something comfortable can help mitigate anxiety.

Dressing for comfort also means you’ll avoid going overboard. For accessories, a classic watch, simple jewelry, and a professional bag or briefcase can add a touch of sophistication. Avoid anything too flashy or distracting—neither you nor your interviewer should be focused on your dangly earnings instead of your description of your C++ skills.

Cleanliness

Get your clothes dry-cleaned before the interview. Pay attention to personal grooming. Make sure your hair is neatly styled, nails are clean, and shoes are polished. Absolutely nothing about having a wrinkled shirt suggests you’d be bad at any job (except, perhaps, a job as a shirt ironer), but you only get one first impression. If you skimp on the details, the first impression may be that you’re a bit on the sloppy side. Make sure everything is steamed and ironed and absolutely stain-free for the interview. But after the interview, feel free to go crazy—I love to smear a greasy pizza all over my pants the moment I leave the build. Celebrate!

The Style of the Company

The company website and social media pages are your friends. Look at the company up to see what employees wear to work, and dress slightly more formal than the norm. Take cues from the company culture. If it’s a creative or casual environment, you can add a touch of personal style while still maintaining a polished and professional appearance. And if you’re unsure about the dress code, don’t hesitate to reach out to the company’s HR department. This is the one time they might be useful.

Whatever you choose to wear, wear it with confidence. This—like “dress for the job you want”—is advice that’s much easier to give than to take. But remember that you’re qualified for this job, or they wouldn’t have invited you in for the interview. So take a deep breath. You look great, and you’re going to kill it.

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