Interview outfits for women: Business formal, business casual, and more

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Interview outfits for women: Business formal, business casual, and more

Interviews are about making a good first impression and putting your best foot forward. Preparing for a job interview begins long before the actual meeting. Practice your answer to the dreaded interview question, as well as polishing your resume. “strengths and weaknesses”If you have any questions, refresh your wardrobe with well-planned, polished interview outfits.

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We asked a stylist how to select outfits for a job interview—and if there is a fashion rule book for embarking on a new professional chapter. If you’re searching for a new role through sites like ZipRecruiterThese style staples can be found on LinkedIn and you can shop them in your interview preparation.

How to dress for a job interview

Do you want to make a good first impression? New Jersey-based stylist Lisa DeMora says to research the company to see how employees dress. Lisa Emelo. “It used to be [that] you had to wear a suit for an interview, but now, my first advice is to investigate the company culture,”She said that the landscape had changed since the pandemic.

Some advice is universal regardless of industry. Just as interviews are all about finding a job that’s the right fit, be sure to select interview clothes that are the right fit for you and your style. “Even if you’re wearing a Versace suit, if it doesn’t fit you properly, you’re not going to feel confident and you’re not going to feel comfortable,”Emelo recommends that you look for tailored designs that you feel confident in,

There are many other benefits to this. “dos,”Interview outfits should avoid common mistakes “don’ts.” For instance, regardless of the weather, be sure to avoid shorts (even if they’re made of suiting material), flip flops, or other open-toed shoes. Additionally, even if you work in a creative field, skip any graphic tees or dresses and skirts that don’t reach the knee.

Business formal: Select a suit that suits.

Credit: Reviewed / Banana Republic

Style doesn’t have to be sacrificed for stricter dress codes.

Not all careers allow you to explore your style. For roles in industries including finance and banking, you’ll need to adhere to a business formal dress code. “You really have to stick with traditional colors like navy or gray, but the way you add some style is with your jewelry,”Emelo. Emelo says that while you should avoid excessive or distracting bling, you can still wear a simple piece or scarf with an elegant pattern. “add some personality.”

If you prefer the traditional suit look, Banana Republic has styles that Emelo recommends. “pulled together and polished.” The brand’s Classic Suit Blazer is machine washable and available in gray and black in women’s sizes 0 to 20.

$130 at Banana Republic

Shop the brand’s pants for matching trousers Ryan Straight PantAvailable in the same colors as the, but in different sizes.

$90 at Banana Republic

Although suits are the norm for business formal wear, you can make a modern twist on the look by wearing a blazer-and dress combo. Consider the aptly named Resume Dress from J.CrewEmelo suggests these for bringing a “little bit more flair than your average white button down with a pencil skirt or pants.” The fitted style, which falls at the knee, is available in women’s sizes 00 to 24 in gray, navy, and black.

$198 at J.Crew

Business casual: Dress up, but not too much

A black blazer, delicate gold necklace, and a white, silky blouse with a bow.

Credit: Reviewed / H&M / Kendra Scott / Tory Burch

You can create a variety of business casual outfits by dividing your suit.

For “most companies nowadays,”Emelo suggests that business casual attire suffices. Don’t throw out your suits just yet though—you can separate the pieces to create a casual yet cohesive look. “The key is taking one piece of your formalwear, like a suit jacket or a blazer, and adding a more casual feeling pair of pants,” says Emelo, who also recommends pairing a cardigan or blouse with a suit set’s pencil skirt. Emelo suggests that you incorporate more color into your outfit, in addition to getting rid of the traditional head-to–toe suited style. Consider a blazer with gold buttons instead of the traditional black or navy business formal.

Take into consideration the Textured-Weave JacketH&M’s woven fabric is highlighted by four shiny buttons. The double-breasted blazer is available in black in women’s sizes XS to XXL. “You don’t have to spend a million bucks to feel competent and look like a million bucks,”Emelo suggests more budget-friendly fashions by brands like Zara and H&M.

$75 at H&M

A blouse like the one shown here will add some personality to your outfit. Satin Bow Blouse from Tory BurchEmelo recommends this for injecting fashion-forward flair into your interview look. Shop it in ivory in women’s sizes 00 to 14.

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Shell: 50% polyester, 50% cotton
Two-way zipper closure
Heavyweight

$298 at Tory Burch

Add a touch of elegance to the look with delicate jewelry like the bestselling Emilie Gold Multistrand NecklaceKendra Scott is available in eight colors. While the layered look adds a little sparkle, it’s just subtle enough to let your skills shine even brighter. “You don’t want [distracting jewelry] to be the only thing the person remembers,”Emelo. “You want your skills to come through.”

$70 at Kendra Scott

Start-ups or creative careers: Show off your style—but stay on the safe side

Cheetah-print flats, a person in a red suit, and a person in a black square-neck T-shirt against a multicolored background.

Credit: Reviewed by Rothy’s/Loft / Whistles

Red-y for an interview. Confidence-inducing red looks.

If you’re looking for a creative role, your outfits can often be equally as creative. While you’ll still want to err on the dressier side for the interview, play with patterns, bold shoes, and other colorful accessories. Emelo says that you can choose animal print for these meetings instead of wearing black shoes or a nude for formal business jobs. Consider picking a fun print in The Point flats, from Rothy’s which we’ve previously tested. They come in women’s shoe sizes 5 to 13 in 25 colors.

$145 at Rothy’s

You can go bold with your blazer if you prefer. “Studies have shown that…women who wear red project power and confidence,”Emelo. Try the Long Modern Blazer from Loft for a contemporary, single-button style available in red in women’s sizes 0 to 10.

$140 at Loft

Layer your blazer over something a little more casual, like the Square Neck Tee from Whistles—a brand frequently sported by Kate Middleton. The stylish, short sleeve top, which Emelo recommends, is available in black in women’s sizes 0 to 14.

$89 at Bloomingdale’s

Zoom interviews: Add dimension to your digital style

Front and back views of a model wearing a pleated navy blouse.

Credit: Reviewed by Cece

With looks that pop, stand out on the screen

For remote interviews, stand out on screen with a blazer that doesn’t blend into the background. “You should find a color that complements you,”Emelo. “It shouldn’t be a bright bold color because that’s distracting, but you shouldn’t wear neutrals like beige because then you’ll get lost.” Since you’ll only be seen on screen from the top up, avoid wearing blouses with bold patterns or low-cut necklines. Be careful with accessories as well—while delicate pieces add flair, bangles or other loud pieces of jewelry could provide unwanted background noise whenever your mic is on. “People make an impression within the first three seconds before you even speak,”Emelo. “So it’s best to feel confident and comfortable and know that you have the right attire on.”

Wear a high-neck blouse like the one shown here Cece Pintucked Smocked Cuff Chiffon TopNavy. The refined look is fashionable without being flashy, and comes in women’s sizes XS to XL.

$79 at Nordstrom

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Prices were accurate at time of publication but may change in the future.

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