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First impressions make a huge impact on a person’s overall judgment of you during a job interview. When you meet a potential employer, they automatically create an opinion of you. According to Kim Zoller, of ID360, 55 percent of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look. This means that it’s incredibly important to put thought into what to wear to a job interview.

Whether you’re applying to do leaf guard installation for a roofing company or to a restaurant as a head chef, here are a few tips on how to dress for an interview and create a strong first impression.

What you shouldn’t wear

You should always steer clear of denim when you’re interviewing. Casual clothes give the impression that you aren’t taking the opportunity seriously. Never dress down for an interview; it’s always better to overdress than underdress. Don’t wear clothes that are too tight or too baggy, and never wear flip-flops or shorts. You should also steer clear of strapless clothing, athletic attire, and tank tops.

Men’s Attire

It’s a good idea to know the company’s dress code before your interview. Many people recommend wearing a suit, but if the company doesn’t dress very formally in the first place, that may be unnecessary. A nice dress shirt and tie, with either khakis or dress pants, make for a good alternative.

Here’s our list of elements to consider including as you decide what to wear to your job interview.

  • Neutral long sleeve dress shirt (white, black, or gray)
  • Tie
  • Leather belt
  • Suit coat (if the dress code is formal)
  • Dress pants (navy, gray, or black) or dark khaki pants
  • Dark socks
  • Dress shoes

All your clothing should fit you as well as possible. The morning of the interview, make sure to shave or trim your beard (if you’ve got one), neatly trim your nails, and get your hair looking tidy and professional. Don’t forget to wear deodorant and to brush your teeth.

Women’s Attire

Women have a lot to think about when deciding how to dress for an interview. Make sure to plan so that you aren’t scrambling for a pair of tights or a tank top for beneath your blouse five minutes before leaving. The night before your interview—at the latest—lay out the clothes you’re going to wear.

Be cautious about the length of skirts and the cut and sheerness of blouses. Once again, do your research and see what the dress code is; sometimes formal attire is the way to go, and sometimes not.

You have a lot of options, including:

  • Suit skirt (just above or below the knee) or dress pants (navy, gray, or black)
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Basic pumps or flats
  • Blazer or dress coat (coordinating with pants or a skirt)
  • Limited jewelry (one ring per hand)
  • Nude pantyhose

All clothing should fit comfortably, and it’s important to make sure skirts and tops aren’t too tight or revealing. Don’t stress too much about getting new clothes for an interview—just do your best to find clothes that fit and are comfortable. Figuring out what to wear to a job interview can be stressful, but by following these simple guidelines, you’ll put yourself on the path to success.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.