Long gone are the days of the boring interview “uniform.” The limitations of an ill-fitting pantsuit, stiff white blouse, and old-school briefcase are experiencing a makeover worthy of a dramatic reveal. You have something truly unique to show to a potential employer – why hide that under a boring job interview outfit? Trust us – a hiring manager will love the appeal of a self-assured, put-together person who puts their best self forward.
But is there such a thing as overdoing it? Do you still need to strike the line between buttoned-up and an all-out free-for-all? Let’s unpack several interview outfits for women, the thought process behind what to wear to an interview, and the tips for making the right first impression.
8 interview outfit suggestions for women
From the classic black pencil skirt to a brightly colored statement dress, these job interview outfits inspire visions of post-interview car dances and celebratory champagne.
1. Navy blue blazer
A navy blue blazer elevates outfits for women into the smart casual classification. This neutral color garment pairs well with button-down shirts and dress pants or a crisp plain white tee and dark wash denim. You can tuck your semi-casual or casual shirt into your pants and break up the outfit with a Gemelli Belt for an exciting, intriguing later. It’s a must-have in any wardrobe because of its versatility and, in this case, unique ability to polish off any ensemble with a professional cherry on top.
A button-down remains a quintessential piece to wear to a job or a job interview. However, it doesn’t have to be uninspired or limited to customary hues of white or light pink. Instead, imagine patterned paisley prints or draping silk cascading gently over a pair of tailored slacks. Leave the shirt tucked in or untucked, depending on the style, but be sure to select an item with a higher neckline to cover your undergarments and maintain a professional appearance. For this outfit, the Mini Armonica Belt in the color ice can take the tucked-in unique button-down to the next level.
2. Button-down shirts
3. Blouses with striking detail
Incorporating a blouse or two in your wardrobe with captivating touches like an asymmetrical collar or lace sleeves is a subtle way to reflect your personality. It helps you stand out and shows your take on interview attire. Plus, a unique top works well as a statement piece when dressed up or down with an understated skirt or pair of pants. If there’s a pop of violet in the blouse, tie it into the shoes or with your Midi Maestra in Lavender.
4. Black dress and tights
The LBD is a closet staple for a reason. Its enduring relevance stems from its timeless, transitional nature. You probably already own a black dress and a pair of black tights and flats, so keep them in the back of your mind for an impromptu interview opportunity, especially if it’s at a more conservative organization. And you can add a bold necklace, a colorful blazer, or a Doctor Bag in the color merlot to break up the outfit. Remember, the LBD is always a good idea.
5. Sweater and black dress pants
When venturing out for a professional meeting, you can’t go wrong with a pair of black slacks. They lay the foundation for your outfit, effectively matching a variety of colors and top styles. With this blank canvas, you’re free to implement your artistic liberties to fit the situation or season. An argyle sweater and black dress pants are a great way to stay warm and retain an air of smart casual. But don’t be afraid to dress it up with a jacket, pumps, or a Women of the World Scarf draped around your neck.
6. Statement dress
With bright colors or a bold pattern, you can let this dress shine on its own with only a pair of sheer tights or show off your layering abilities by drawing out pops of color in a subtle accessory selection. Invest in a statement dress that makes you feel the most “you” — empowered and confident, so you can command the attention of any room. And when you take center stage, incorporate a bold and bright Fiore Bucket Bag in the shade marine.
7. Monochromatic business set
For this option, free your mind of boring pantsuits and expand your horizons. Matching sets are all over the place these days, and they’ve found their way into the office environment, too. A monochromatic business set, whether it be dress pants and a blazer or a skirt and jacket combo, offers exciting possibilities when paired together or with other wardrobe essentials. Plus, sets give off that put-together air effortlessly. It’s also a possibility to layer sets for added warmth in the colder months. Part coat, part cardigan — the Cashmere Coatigan is sure to impress without surrendering function for form.
8. Pencil skirt with a wrap top
The flattering silhouette of a pencil skirt paired with a cinched waist wrap top allows for a timeless presentation. You can experiment with color, cuts, and material — just be sure to keep it modest and relevant to the workplace — loose enough while remaining fitted for maximum comfort. A pencil skirt with a ruffled hem is sure to add a touch of whimsy to your sophisticated ensemble. And with the Vegan Midi Maestra Bag, there’s no stopping you from bringing your best self forward.
How do you know what to wear to a job interview?
Though feeling good in your interview attire plays a big part in making it to the next round, it also speaks volumes when you do your research before you head to your closet. Coming prepared for an interview means knowing what to expect so you can tailor your outfit accordingly, adding a sprinkle of originality to the table.
Research the industry. Familiarize yourself with the general expectations of the industry first and foremost. If you’re interviewing at a law firm or an academic institution, then your professional dress should reflect the formal office environment in which you’d be working. Whereas, if you’re a designer interviewing for a position in a startup company, then you might have the option to go less conservative and more smart-casual.
Explore their website and social media. Dig deeper – go beyond a broad peek at the profession. Try to get a better idea of the culture at the company you’re applying for by investigating their website and social media accounts. How a company presents itself online can tell you a lot about how you should present yourself in person or over Zoom.
Ask your company contact about expectations. Chances are you have a contact who reached out to you to set up the upcoming interview, so ask them directly to clarify expectations. You can ask about the level of formality, and they can let you know how other candidates have dressed. They’ll appreciate your diligence and considered preparation.
Read online reviews. When applying for any position, job boards give a helpful perspective on company culture or the interview experience. So look up the organization with which you’re interviewing, and discover what people are saying about the interview process and the office culture alike. That’ll help you glean some insight into what you can wear to your interview.
Tips for making the right impression
You got the outfit picked out – now it’s time to make your way to the interview. With these tips, you can take your interview ensemble to the next level.
- - Bring a large bag or briefcase
To carry everything you might need, find the best work bag to help you conquer interviews, assignments, and everything else life throws your way. When picking out your perfect bag, remember that size does matter: You don’t want to fold your resume just to fit it inside your bag. The classic SENREVE Maestra Leather Bag is roomy enough to fit your professional portfolio and a 13’’ laptop. It can be worn as a backpack, shoulder bag, or crossbody bag. And it features seven pockets, so there’s a place for everything, and everything has its place.
- - Prepare your outfit the night before
Scrambling can add unnecessary stress to your pre-interview routine. When you do the right prep work before a big day, it makes a big difference. Have everything laid out the night before, so you can wake up refreshed and ready to go. Your future self will thank you, and you’ll be calm, cool, and collected as you sip your morning coffee, reviewing strategies at your preferred pace.
Let’s say you have a general idea of what outfit would be appropriate for your upcoming interview, but you aren’t quite sure if the pieces match. Consult a color wheel to confirm if your pieces all coordinate correctly. With a color wheel, you can effectively mix and match colors to your heart's content by quickly scanning what hue would work best with that top you had in mind. But when in doubt, neutrals are a surefire way to keep it cohesive.
- - Don't be afraid to be bold
Employers want to see a glimpse of your personality to determine if you’re the right fit culturally and professionally. If you’re a creative professional who can really improve a company's graphic design offerings, then show your artistic side with an interesting pair of earrings or a statement dress with ornate details. And even if you’re in a more conservative field, a power blazer is another way to stand out in a way that’s suitable for the situation.
Avoid clothes that are too tight or too loose. Not only will this help with your put-together style, but you’ll find yourself yanking down or pulling up outfits that don’t fit right. Make sure that your outfit is breathable and stays in place, so you can focus on wowing your interviewers and not on whether your skirt is staying in place or your shapewear is rolling down.
It’s a good idea to smooth out any wrinkles in your outfit before the interview. Check for any stains, missing buttons, or loose threads that can contribute to a mismatched, disheveled appearance. It may seem over the top, but wearing that freshly dry cleaned and pressed monochromatic business set doesn’t just look impressive; it feels spectacular. So give your outfit a quick once-over to be sure because, at the end of the day, you’ll feel better, too.
- - Aim for a fresh makeup look
Since the interview style is all about a blending of the situational with the personal and professional, a dramatic smoky might be better suited for a transition to after-work cocktails. Leave the intense makeup at home, opting for a fresh-faced appearance that’s uplifted and casual. However, toned down doesn’t have to completely remove “you” from the equation. If a subtle shimmery eye is on-brand for you, go for it — bend the rules a little bit.
- - Step out with your best foot forward – and step into the role
Regardless of the outfit, an interview is about the woman wearing the clothes. What do you have to offer an organization? The right outfit helps you feel confident, assured, and ready to make an impression.
Being dressed to impress is great, but you’ll need the right accessories to put the finishing touches on this ensemble. Store your portfolio, resume, cover letter, and any other materials you’ve prepped in a Gemelli Tote with built-in organization. Or peruse SENREVE'S collection of bestsellers designed for the multifaceted, modern woman.