Whether you're a fashionista or someone who has been wearing the same suit for years, you should be aware of what message you send with your interview clothes. Your first interview is not the place to be making a grand fashion statement. It is, however, an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism.
A good rule of thumb is don't wear anything that could be viewed as a distraction. Tight or form-fitting clothing, for example, is inappropriate. While these slim fits may be en vogue for both women AND men, they don't belong in the office.
Women should be aware of the challenges their gender presents in a professional work environment. If you're wearing clothing that is not letting people think about your intelligence first, then you're doing yourself a disservice. While you want to set yourself apart, you do not want it to be about your clothing.
When it comes to other cultural fashion expressions, interviewees should tread lightly. Culturally oriented attire is for special occasions only. Once you're secure in the job, you can look for opportunities to infuse more cultural elements into your style.
What are some can't-miss choices for interview attire? The ever-reliable suit, of course. You can't go wrong with the basics -- blues, blacks, grays, browns. It's a good bet that you will find someone in the organization wearing the classics.
You might feel drab in professional basics, but if you're looking to spice up your outfit, choose wisely. Using colors to make you feel better or make your outfit stand out can be a great thing. For guys, it can be a colorful tie. For a woman, maybe it's a bright, beautiful blouse.
When picking the right outfit for your interview, think about how you may be viewed by the interviewer on the other side of the table. Your interview clothes can say a lot about you, but it's also what you DON'T want them to say about you. You don't want them to say, “look at me for what I’m wearing” versus “look at me for what's in my head.”
Still confused about what to wear? Try this tip: If you live nearby, visit the company to get a feel for how people dress there. Is the office too far away? Go to their web site and look at their annual report, which often includes pictures of employees or leaders.
Molding yourself to the corporate culture should not be viewed as “selling out.” It's about showing that you are able to fit into the larger organization and still deliver outstanding results in terms of your work -- not your fashion sense.