Dress for Interview Success

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: October 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

Are you preparing to interview for a creative position or at a startup? Let your personality shine through! Don’t get caught up in interview wardrobe stereotypes. Step outside the boring box and show the interviewer what you are really made of. This is your chance to make a stellar first impression and can set the tone for the entire meeting.

I recommend staying true to classic silhouettes for a polished and professional look. However, you can add pattern, color and texture to make your creative statement. I call this style “professional with personality.” In addition to showing off your resume, you should try and communicate your personality in any way you can – wardrobe included! Staying polished and professional will help you carry yourself with confidence and give the best first impression possible.


For the Guys


Credits: Red jacket/navy pantGrey jacket/tan pant

Things to Remember

  • Fit is key – get your garments tailored if necessary
  • Do not be afraid of color
  • Carry yourself with confidence – great clothing choices can help with that
  • Get your hair cut and facial hair groomed a few days before the interview
  • Be sure all items are wrinkle-free when you head out the door

Suggestions for Men


Credits: Navy blazer/Cuff – Navy vest/Cuff – Maple Bonobos pants

JCrew navy pants – JCrew men’s boot – Cognac tweed blazer/Cuff

  1. A classic tan/navy combination expresses a level of professionalism. Adding a vest gives it an extra punch of personality. The pinstripes add a bit of quirkiness.
  2. Find a statement piece. This jacket is a twist on a classic – great neutral color with modern tailoring. Then fill in the blanks with timeless pieces like navy pants and a leather boot.

I spoke to Todd, a recruiter at hudl, a Lincoln, Nebraska startup. He expressed, “I generally tell applicants they are welcome to dress casually, as our dress code is very laid back. I do find interviewees that are more polished tend to carry themselves with more confidence.”

I asked Ann, a stylist at Trunk Club (a men’s styling service), what her advice would be for guys shopping for interview clothes. She says, “It’s always better to overdress than underdress – a great fitting sport coat is the way to go if a suit isn’t required. Make sure your shoes are shined and skip the cologne.” Still feeling a little intimidated? Contact her to learn more about how she can help.


For the Ladies


Credits: Blue top/green skirtBlue blazer/striped skirt

Things to Remember

  • Do not be afraid of pattern/color
  • Conservative styling is always appropriate – watch out for short skirts and plunging necklines
  • Do not wear too much distracting jewelry near your face – YOU should be the focus
  • Plan ahead and be sure all items are dry cleaned and/or pressed
  • Pull your hair back if it is long – that way it will not be distracting during your conversation


Suggestions for Women


Credits: Navy Geo Dress – Pearl Lace Dress – Mirrored Floral Dress

      Bootie (Steve Madden Roknrol) – Blazer (leather/ponte) – Blazer (quilted/collarless)

  1. Pair a seemingly simple shift that has a touch of pattern with a funky bootie.
  2. Take a conservative, professional piece like this pretty lace dress and pair with a mixed media blazer – it is just enough to add a little edge.
  3. Perfect for a creative lady, take a floral dress and pair it with a collarless leather or tweed jacket to add some texture.

Interviewing for a new job is an exciting time and you should use your wardrobe to express that excitement to potential employers. Beware of dressing too casually – always do your research ahead of time in regards to typical office attire so you can follow those guidelines. If you’re unsure, simply ask your point of contact what the expectation is. Good luck!

Editors Note: Countless studies have shown that professionally-written resumes get more interviews. Compare Resume Writing and Resume Editing to see which of our services is right for you.


Ashlie Hadden

Owner  //  Embellish


Ashlie is the owner of Embellish and Cuff  in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. She is a lover of friends, fashion, food, and fun.

At Embellish you can find a range of products from apparel and accessories to gifts and decor that fit seamlessly into your lifestyle. Embellish is where classic and refined meet trendy and modern.

Cuff is an elevated casual line of men’s clothing. Styles range from rugged to preppy and allow men to express their own sense of style. The brands are unique, up and coming names rooted in classic American and European tailoring. In addition to clothing, Cuff offers gift items for the modern man.


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