Tips for Nailing Interviews: What to Wear in 2023 for a Casual Look

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In This Article

Appropriate Outfit Choices for a Casual Job Interview

Understanding the Company Culture

Before deciding on an outfit for a casual job interview, it’s important to research and understand the company culture. Look at the company’s website and social media profiles to get a sense of their style and dress code. If they have a more relaxed and informal culture, you can opt for a slightly more casual outfit. However, if they have a more traditional or professional culture, it’s best to err on the side of dressing more formally.

Dressing Smart-Casual

For a casual job interview, aim for a smart-casual look that strikes the right balance between professionalism and comfort. This means avoiding overly formal attire like suits or cocktail dresses, but also avoiding overly casual items like jeans or sneakers. Opt for tailored pants or skirts paired with a blouse or collared shirt. You can also consider wearing a blazer or cardigan to add an extra touch of professionalism.


– Choose clothing made from high-quality materials that are wrinkle-free and well-fitted.
– Stick to neutral colors such as black, navy, gray, or white as they convey professionalism.
– Avoid clothing with visible logos or graphics as they can be distracting.
– Pay attention to grooming by ensuring your clothes are clean and pressed.

Specific Dress Codes to Consider for a Casual Interview

Business Casual Dress Code

Business casual is often the most appropriate dress code for a casual job interview. This typically means wearing slacks or khakis paired with a button-down shirt or blouse. You can also add layers such as blazers or cardigans for added polish. Avoid wearing jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, or flip-flops in this type of dress code.

Creative Casual Dress Code

If you’re interviewing for a creative or artistic role, the company may have a creative casual dress code. This allows for more individuality and self-expression in your outfit choice. You can experiment with bold colors, unique patterns, and trendy accessories. However, it’s still important to maintain a level of professionalism and avoid anything that may be deemed inappropriate or offensive.


– When in doubt, it’s better to dress slightly more formal than too casual.
– Pay attention to the fit of your clothes – they should be neither too tight nor too loose.
– Avoid clothing that is revealing or overly casual, such as shorts or tank tops.
– Consider the weather and dress accordingly – layering is always a good option.

Striking the Right Balance Between Professional and Casual Dressing for an Interview

Choosing Classic Pieces

One way to strike the right balance between professional and casual dressing for a job interview is by choosing classic pieces that are timeless and versatile. Opt for items like tailored trousers, pencil skirts, blazers, button-down shirts, or dresses with modest silhouettes. These pieces convey professionalism while still being appropriate for a casual setting.

Adding Casual Elements

To add a touch of casualness to your outfit without compromising professionalism, you can incorporate some more relaxed elements. For example, you can pair your classic pieces with a statement accessory like a colorful scarf or chunky jewelry. You can also opt for more comfortable footwear such as loafers or low heels instead of formal pumps.


– Avoid overly flashy or trendy clothing items that may distract from your qualifications.
– Pay attention to the overall impression you want to make – it should be polished but approachable.
– Don’t forget about personal grooming – ensure your hair is neat and clean, and your nails are well-maintained.
– When in doubt, ask for guidance from the company’s HR representative or recruiter on appropriate interview attire.

Avoiding Inappropriate Colors or Patterns for a Casual Interview

Choosing Appropriate Colors

When dressing casually for an interview, it is important to avoid wearing inappropriate colors that may give off the wrong impression. Stick to neutral colors such as black, gray, navy blue, or brown. These colors are professional and versatile, allowing you to create a polished look without appearing too casual. Avoid bright or flashy colors that may distract the interviewer or make you stand out in an unprofessional way.

Avoiding Distracting Patterns

In addition to choosing appropriate colors, it is crucial to avoid distracting patterns when dressing casually for an interview. Opt for solid-colored clothing items or subtle patterns such as pinstripes or small checks. Avoid bold prints, large logos, or busy patterns that can be overwhelming and take away from your professionalism. Remember, the focus should be on your skills and qualifications rather than your outfit.

Examples of Inappropriate Colors and Patterns:

  • Bright neon colors
  • Loud animal prints
  • Tie-dye patterns
  • Graphic t-shirts with offensive slogans
  • Floral prints that are too bold or vibrant

By carefully selecting appropriate colors and avoiding distracting patterns, you can ensure that your casual interview outfit remains professional and leaves a positive impression on the interviewer.

Determining Whether to Dress Formally or Casually for Different Types of Interviews

Determining how formally or casually you should dress for different types of interviews depends on various factors such as the company culture, industry norms, and the position you are applying for. It is essential to research the company beforehand to get a sense of their dress code and expectations. Here are some guidelines to help you make the right decision:

Research the Company Culture

Before your interview, research the company’s culture to understand their dress code. Some companies have a more relaxed and casual atmosphere, while others maintain a formal environment. Check their website, social media pages, or reach out to current employees for insights on how they typically dress.

Consider the Industry Norms

Different industries have different dress codes. For example, creative fields like advertising or design often embrace more casual attire, while finance or law firms tend to be more formal. Take into account the industry norms and adjust your outfit accordingly.

Examples of Dress Codes for Different Types of Interviews:

  • Casual: Startups, creative industries
  • Semi-formal: Business casual attire for most office-based jobs
  • Formal: Corporate environments, executive positions

Remember that it is better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed for an interview. If you are unsure about the dress code, it is safer to opt for a slightly more formal outfit rather than risking appearing too casual.

Avoiding Inappropriate Accessories or Jewelry for a Casual Interview

While accessories and jewelry can enhance your outfit and personal style, it is important to choose them wisely when dressing casually for an interview. Here are some tips to avoid inappropriate choices:

Keep It Simple and Minimalistic

When selecting accessories and jewelry for a casual interview, it is best to keep it simple and minimalistic. Avoid wearing excessive or flashy pieces that may distract the interviewer or give off an unprofessional vibe. Opt for classic and understated accessories that complement your outfit without overpowering it.

Avoid Controversial Symbols or Statements

Be mindful of the symbols or statements your accessories may convey. Avoid wearing items with controversial or offensive symbols, slogans, or logos. It is important to maintain a professional image and not create unnecessary distractions during the interview.

Examples of Inappropriate Accessories or Jewelry:

  • Oversized statement necklaces
  • Multiple chunky bracelets
  • Dangling or noisy earrings
  • Rings on every finger
  • Political or religious symbols that may be divisive

By choosing simple and tasteful accessories while avoiding controversial symbols, you can add a touch of personal style to your casual interview outfit without compromising professionalism.

Reflecting Personal Style While Maintaining Professionalism in a Casual Interview Outfit

Dressing casually for an interview doesn’t mean sacrificing your personal style. It is possible to reflect your individuality while maintaining professionalism. Here’s how:

Select Well-Fitted Clothing

Choose clothing items that fit well and flatter your body shape. This will ensure that you look put-together and polished, regardless of the casual dress code. Avoid oversized or ill-fitting clothes that may give off a sloppy appearance.

Add Subtle Personal Touches

Incorporate subtle personal touches into your outfit to showcase your style without going overboard. For example, you can wear a colorful pocket square, a stylish belt, or a unique accessory that reflects your personality. However, remember to keep it professional and avoid anything too flashy or distracting.

Examples of Subtle Personal Touches:

  • A patterned tie in muted colors
  • A statement watch with a classic design
  • A pair of stylish eyeglasses that suit your face shape
  • A tasteful scarf or shawl
  • A well-maintained leather bag or briefcase

By incorporating these subtle personal touches, you can showcase your style while still maintaining a professional appearance during a casual interview.

Deciding Between Being Slightly Overdressed or Underdressed for a Casual Job Interview

When dressing casually for a job interview, it can be challenging to strike the right balance between being slightly overdressed or underdressed. Here are some factors to consider when making this decision:

Research the Company Culture and Dress Code

Understanding the company culture and dress code is crucial in determining whether to lean towards being slightly overdressed or underdressed. If the company has a more formal environment, it is better to err on the side of being slightly overdressed. On the other hand, if they have a more relaxed atmosphere, you can opt for a slightly more casual outfit.

Consider the Position You Are Applying For

The position you are applying for also plays a role in deciding how formally or casually to dress. If it is a senior-level position or one that requires interacting with clients, it is safer to dress more formally. However, if it is an entry-level or creative role, you may have more flexibility to dress casually.

Tips for Striking the Right Balance:

  • Choose classic and timeless clothing items that can be dressed up or down.
  • Add or remove accessories based on how formal or casual you want your outfit to appear.
  • Opt for tailored pieces that convey professionalism regardless of the level of formality.
  • Pay attention to grooming and personal hygiene as they contribute to overall professionalism.

By considering the company culture, position requirements, and following these tips, you can make an informed decision on whether to be slightly overdressed or underdressed for a casual job interview.

Appropriate Footwear Choices for a Casual Interview Setting

Choosing appropriate footwear is essential when dressing casually for an interview. Your shoes should be comfortable, professional-looking, and suitable for the occasion. Here are some guidelines to help you make the right footwear choices:

Opt for Closed-Toe Shoes

Closed-toe shoes are generally more professional and appropriate for interviews. Avoid wearing open-toe sandals or flip-flops as they may appear too casual. Opt for classic styles such as loafers, oxfords, or closed-toe flats.

Avoid Worn-Out or Dirty Shoes

Make sure your shoes are clean, polished, and in good condition. Worn-out or dirty shoes can give off a careless impression and detract from your overall appearance. Take the time to clean and polish your shoes before the interview.

Examples of Appropriate Footwear Choices:

  • Classic black or brown leather loafers
  • Closed-toe pumps with a moderate heel
  • Oxford shoes in neutral colors
  • Well-maintained leather boots (if weather-appropriate)
  • Simple ballet flats in a professional color

Remember that comfort is also important during an interview. Choose footwear that you can confidently walk in without any discomfort while still maintaining a professional appearance.

The Importance of Grooming and Personal Hygiene in Dressing Casually for an Interview

Even when dressing casually for an interview, grooming and personal hygiene play a crucial role in presenting yourself professionally. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Maintain Clean and Neat Hair

Ensure that your hair is clean, well-groomed, and styled appropriately for the interview. Avoid extreme hairstyles or colors that may be distracting or unprofessional. Keep your hair away from your face to maintain a polished look.

Pay Attention to Facial Hair

If you have facial hair, make sure it is neatly trimmed and well-maintained. Avoid unkempt beards or mustaches that may give off an unprofessional appearance. If you choose to wear a beard, ensure it is neatly shaped and groomed.

Other Important Aspects of Grooming:

  • Trimmed and clean nails
  • Fresh breath (brush teeth and use mouthwash)
  • Minimal or tasteful makeup for women
  • Avoiding excessive perfume or cologne
  • Clean and wrinkle-free clothing

By paying attention to grooming and personal hygiene, you demonstrate professionalism and show respect for the interview process. These small details can make a significant impact on how you are perceived by the interviewer.

In conclusion, when deciding what to wear to an interview, it is important to strike a balance between professionalism and personal style. Opting for clean and well-fitted attire, avoiding excessive accessories, and researching the company’s dress code can greatly enhance one’s chances of making a positive impression during the interview process.

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