What To Wear To An Interview

What To Wear To An Interview – Men’s Style Advice

Once you have properly prepared for your interview, it’s time to pick your outfit. Many men ask us what to wear to an interview, and while it always depends on the job field, and the particular environment, we are going to help you to put together the perfect look for a job interview.


Make sure to watch this in-depth video below What To Wear To An Interview that explains the Do’s & Don’ts of interview outfits. If you enjoy it, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe, thank you!

What To Wear To An Interview: Suit & Tie

You guessed it. Regardless of what job you’re applying for, a dark suit and a tie will rarely be the wrong choice. Too be clear, a “suit” means a matching jacket and pants, and not an odd jacket combination.

The Exception to the Rule

Ideally, you don’t want to be “not wrong” but rather perfectly dressed for the job. A suit and tie express that you have respect for the opportunity, and that’s a good thing. At the same time, if you are seeking for a job at a casual design agency, a young startup or an outdoor construction or gardening company where everyone wears cargo shorts, a suit and tie can make you seem like you do not fit in.

Therefore, it is important that you do your interview prep-work. It is particularly helpful if you know somebody from the company so you can ask them about the proper interview attire.

Dark Flannel Suit with Silk Tie & TV Fold Pocket Square

Dark Flannel Suit with Shepherd’s Check Silk Tie & TV Fold Pocket Square

The Office Job / Traditional Job: Stick with Classics

If you interview for an office or corporate job, it is always safe to wear a dark suit and regular tie, no matter if you are an accountant or a social worker. Even if nobody at that office wears a suit to work, showing up to the interview in business attire is a fool proof way of ensuring you appear serious.

The interview is not the time to be flashy or showcase your flair for style. It’s a serious meeting, and it requires a classic, dark suit. We recommend:

  • A solid navy suit, charcoal or a grey suit – 2 or 3 button single-breasted with notched lapels or double-breasted
  • Do NOT wear a black suit – those are for funerals only
  • Wear a solid or striped white or light blue dress shirt with French cuffs and cufflinks or a barrel cuff. Skip the button down collar and go for a classic or semi-spread collar. Avoid bold prints, or contrast stitching.
  • Wear a silk necktie: if you have a striped shirt, go with a solid grenadine tie in burgundy, red or blue. It provides texture yet it is very classic. If you go with a solid shirt, go with a muted, non-flashy pattern such as small polka dots, micropatterns or stripes. Muted colors in burgundy, mustard yellow, blue and bottle green are better than bright pink or bright blue. Avoid solid satin neckties because they are shiny and look cheap.
  • Do not wear bow ties as they may be perceived as too eccentric
  • It is important that you tie a proper tie knot because a loose knot implies sloppiness or discomfort when you want to be seen as confident and competent. The right tie knot helps you with that.  The four in hand knot or Oriental are best, but if you prefer others, you can choose those too. Be careful with the Double Windsor, because it may make you look like a sleazy insurance salesman. A dimple is always a good idea.
Dark Navy Suit with striped tie and TV fold pocket square

Dark Navy Suit with striped tie and TV fold pocket square

  • A proper white linen pocket square folded in a TV fold is best for a job interview because it is classic, non-flashy but polished looking. Note, years back some interviewers might have considered it arrogant to wear a pocket square but today it is entirely acceptable. However, there may still be people out there who feel intimidated by individuals who wear pocket squares, and if you want to play it safe, you can skip the pocket square.
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxfords

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxfords

  • Jewelry: Keep it simple, you do not want to add any lapel chain, wristbands, or gigantic watches to your outfit because it just provides an opportunity to dislike you. Of course, if you know that your interviewer is a watch lover, it pays to have a beautiful piece but avoid show-off accessories because it may be held against you. Cufflinks are right, a wedding band too, but other rings should be taken off.
  • During winter, wear dark gloves in grey, a subtle scarf, and dark overcoat. Do not wear performance jackets or anything of that kind with your suit, because it makes you look like an amateur
  • Leave your backpack at home. A backpack makes you look like a schoolboy rather than a professional adult. Instead, go with a briefcase or satchel, ideally in black or dark brown leather.
  • Inspect your outfit for any issues such as loose threads, holes or stains because you do not want to show up to your interview looking sloppy. After all, the interviewer should be able to picture you representing their company in the best light possible
Startups are generally more relaxed and a suit may give the impression you are an outsider who does not fit in

Startups are generally more relaxed and a suit may give the impression you are an outsider who does not fit in

The IT / Creative / Startup Job – Mix It Up

In general, startups, creative agencies or IT companies have more relaxed hierarchies. Especially creatives often like to dress in an unusual way that stands out from the crowd. In startups, dress codes are often not even existent, and the motto is “anything goes”. If you apply for a job outside the traditional environment, wearing a dark suit and tie may put you at a disadvantage. That being said, if you are called out on your suit, you can always highlight that you wanted to show the proper respect, and no interviewer will hold that against you. If they do, chances are it is not a nice place to work anyways because who wouldn’t want to hire someone who shows proper respect?

So, what to wear for an interview in these unusual sectors? The answer is not clear, and it depends on many factors. What is important to remember is that you should feel comfortable and confident when wearing these clothes, all while showing respect.

  • For example, instead of a suit, you could wear a jacket or a blazer with contrasting trousers.
  • Brown shoes instead of black
  • A more casual shirt
  • Add a touch of sprezzatura to your outfit; you can dress it up by adding a boutonniere, a pocket square, coloured shoelaces. Just make sure not to overdo it – one accent is enough. 
Outdoor Jobs require different outfits

Outdoor Jobs require different outfits

Outdoor Jobs

If you apply for an outdoor job or a position where you get dirty, a suit may be overkill, but you should still step up your wardrobe game and wear something more formal and polished than you would as a work outfit.  In any case, you always want to ensure that you exude the same degree of seriousness and professionalism if you were wearing a suit.

Avoid bold stripes but subtle stripes are ok

Avoid bold stripes but subtle stripes are ok


The goal of interview attire is to make you look professional, and competent and to show respect for your potential employer. Therefore, most people should wear a dark suit with the proper accessories. However, if you are in a field where a suit would be overkill you can deviate from the classic interview outfit but it is essential that you always keep

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What To Wear To An Interview - Men's Style Advice
A complete guide to putting together the perfect look for a job interview and to make a good impression.
Gentleman's Gazette
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11 replies
  1. Duncan says:

    In the UK, I would not advocate brown shoes with a blue or grey suit ever, especially at an interview. It has to be black shoes.

  2. Mark Hewitt says:

    Dear Raphael,

    In the instance of making it through the interview “under – statement ” is the ticket .
    Good quality , nicely toned and colours that are ideal to your own personality . In cooler weather tones that make you appear as a warm person , hot weather you need to look cooler and relaxed . The other thing is do some home work on the place , it helps with those left field questions .
    The thing is to be mindfull of not to look like you have come to buy the place , only to offer your services . Mind you once you buy the place you can pretty much wear what you like .

  3. Alexander says:

    I thank you for this most insightful article. With regards to traditional working enviroment, it does not leave one single question unanswered. I would like to add some words, though.

    As to more casual workplaces, they are far more difficult to handle with regards to the dresscode than the more conservative businesses. In fact, in spite of the alleged “anything goes”, it can be most awkward to be the only one wearing a suit. One should keep in mind that businesses calling themselves creative foster strong prejudices against the image that a dark suit evokes, and first impressions don’t get second chances, as the saying goes. For education and academia for instance, which may be called quite casual and where I work myself, I would not recommend a dark suit for an interview at all. A combination of sports coat/ blazer and contrasting pants should be fine.

    Anyway, the casualization of work places has not made things easier at all, and I might suggest that the topic of business casual might require another article. Even with a less reguralized dress-code, what we wear still gives a message.

  4. John Wabash says:

    it is essential that you always keep . . . what?

    although I would have been more interested in your observations on the comments which you have ignored after your previous article, which showed so much misunderstanding.

  5. Stéphanie says:

    A black suit is only for a funeral?

    I do believe a black suit has lost its purpose at the office but I think it is not only for funerals. I think there are many other events where men can wear a black suit. What about a ball? What about a evening at the opera? A movie premiere? Or let’s keep it “professional”. What about a business christmas dinner? 😉

Comments are closed.