One of the most common issues for interviewees is what to wear for a job interview. Generally speaking, in a business environment, you wear business clothing. In other environments, casual wear may be acceptable, but be advised –You can quite literally “wear yourself out” of an interview if you’re not careful.

Many experts point out that the clothing rules for men and women are very different. This is quite true, but the same basic principles apply.

Interview attire for men

For men, the answer to the question “what to wear for an interview” is simple. Business attire is best practice. A basic suit and tie are really all you need. However, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Old suits can look truly terrible. The best approach to managing your business clothing is to upgrade your wardrobe if necessary, but do not make the mistake of looking like a second class citizen compared to other interviewees.
  • Wear at least relatively recent fashion suits. The other problem with old suits is that if you walk into an interview looking like something out of a museum, interviewers will be less than impressed.
  • Do not wear sports coats or loud jackets. The notorious “clown suit” effect really does not help improve your image with interviewers.
  • Loud or garish ties are definitely not an option. Looking ridiculous doesn’t help your interview chances much, either. Stick to a basic neutral tie, preferably a solid color.
  • Comfortable business shoes are a very good idea. New shoes can be truly punishing, and extremely uncomfortable. If you look like you’re wincing every time you answer an interview question, your interview performance is also going to be questionable.

Interview attire for women

Women are definitely under more pressure than men, in terms of what to wear to a job interview. This may seem unfair, but in practice, the image you project at an interview is critical:

  • Stick to basic business clothing. Looking fashionable is OK, but looking overstated or overdone in any way can be truly fatal. Dress as you would for an important conference or business meeting.
  • Don’t wear too much jewelry. This sends exactly the wrong message, and can make you look seriously overdressed. Also, remember that in some environments wearing a lot of jewelry is not advisable.
  • Avoid loud clothes and make up. The wrong look can be disastrous. Deafening lipstick, for example, is definitely not an asset. You want to be taken seriously during the interview, so don’t provide distractions, particularly negative distractions.
  • Don’t make yourself a target. Women are often criticized severely for their appearance; much more so than men, so don’t take chances. A sensible outfit, businesslike and straightforward, is the best option to avoid this obvious risk.
  • Comfortable shoes are the best option. Choose a reliable pair of shoes, even sensible shoes, if necessary, but shoes which don’t punish you for wearing them. You’ll be much more comfortable of the interview techniques.

When wondering what to wear to an interview, be realistic. If your current wardrobe isn’t up to scratch, get new clothes.