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How to Outfit for Every Type of Job Interview

Published on

March 7, 2020


Alice Choi

Levels of Formality: The Five Kinds for Interview


To cut it down in a little more detail for the job interview, here are the general kinds of formality that you should be using as your levels or “measures” of formality:

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Here are the formality levels for job interview.

  • Strict Business Formal
  • Business Formal
  • Business Casual Outfit


When You Should Interview in Strict Business Formal

  • Notable law firms
  • Most investment and financial situations
  • Executive positions
  • High-level political environments


Elements of Strict Business Formal

There’s no room for mistake and very little for individual expression when you’re seeking to impress a well-dressed executive. Stick to the traditional interpretation of business apparel:


The Suit: Worsted wool in either darkish navy blue or dark charcoal gray with no patterns. Single-breasted coat. A tailored fit, if likely if you can’t manage custom apparel at least have your ready-to-wear suit customized for your measurements by a dressmaker.


The Shirt: Simple white with a spread or point (not button-down) collar. Pointed collar points (use support or starch or both), uniform front, no creases, tailored fitting if attainable.


The Shoes: Traditional black oxford balmorals, well-polished. No choices. Socks should coordinate the color of the slacks leg, i.e., charcoal gray stockings with a charcoal gray outfit.


The Necktie: Conventional color and pattern – nothing shiny or eye-catching. Long enough that the point touches the belt/trouser waistline, with no shirt showing in the middle, even when walking. Centered, proportional knot with a tiny dimple in the tie just under it.


The Accents: Conventional black skin belt with a tiny metal buckle (or dark-hue suspenders if no belt rings are present). White pocket square, crisply wrapped (point or horizontal form) in the coat breast pocket. Simple metal or black leather strap watch; any metal should balance the belt buckle.


The Business Formal Interview

Typical environments where you’d want a formal business outfit for your meeting might include:

  • Some casually-inclined equity firms and banks
  • Most managerial or administrative professions
  • Sales consulting jobs
  • Public relations, publicity, and similar high-skill white-collar professions
  • Many political or highly-placed public service offices
  • Most teaching/academic environments


Details of Business Dress


The Suit: Dark-colored, soft textured, either no design or very subtle white pinstripes. Stick to single-breasted coats to evade looking too showy. Worsted wool is most trustworthy, but any soft, matte stuff will work. A custom-fit, if possible.


The Shirt: Simple white or white with slight patterning. Point or extended (not button-down) collar. Ironed collar and shirtfront – no creases; pointed collar points (collar stays will support). Custom-fit if likely.


The Shoes: Black skin balmoral oxfords, shining. Stockings should match slacks color – navy blue stockings with a navy blue suit, etc.


The Necktie: Any business-appropriate design that isn’t too flashy. Avoid polished, reflective elements, vivid colors, and overly-busy designs. Centered and symmetrical tie with a little dimple just under it. The tie should be lengthy enough to reach the belt/trouser waistline with no exposed shirt evident in between.


The Accents: Black skin belt with a tiny metal buckle (or dark-shade suspenders, if the slacks have no belt rings). White or lightly-shaded pocket square in the coat jacket’s chest pocket. Metal or black leather strap watch; metal should balance the belt clasp if one is present.


The Business Casual Meeting


When You Should Interview in Business Informal


  • Many entry- or mid-level small company cubicle/office positions
  • Clerical and civil service department jobs
  • Upscale retail environments
  • Most political office and campaign purposes
  • Engineering, laboratory, software, and other tech-sector posts
  • Foodservice, particularly front-end (wait staff, bartender, etc.)


Portions of Casual Clothing


The Shirt: Collared – either a formal shirt or a clean polo. It can be shaded, but designs should be reasonably cautious, nothing more than a two-shade striping. The shirt should be tucked in for the job interview.


The Trousers: Slacks, not blue jeans – khakis work well here. They don’t have to be nice wool slacks (though they can be), but they do need to be clean, well-pressed, and well-fitting.


The Shoes: Leather rather than cloth or canvas. Casual styles like bluchers, brogues, saddle shoes, etc. are all fine, so long as they’re in good shape and recently polished. Dressier boots, loafers, or chukkas can serve too. The stockings should match the trousers (light tan socks with khakis, etc.), but in a limitation, you can get away with stockings that pair the shoe leather instead.


The Necktie: Unrestricted, but worth thinking. A blazer is definitely too elegant, but a tie and a collared shirt with no coat says that you’re a mediocre guy who’s making a nice gesture to recognize the importance of the setting. It certainly won’t bother you, and it might be a helpful leg up on the competition.


The Accents: A leather belt that pairs the shoes and a watch with either a metal or a leather strap. Leathers and metals should pair throughout the outfit.

Hope you liked our tips on job interview dressing, till next time.

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