A business-like tote bag is ideal for interviews and other professional occasions. It can carry your pad folio, extra copies of your resume and any other papers you might need, and personal items can be concealed within. A structured tote that will stand up when you set it on the floor is preferable to one that flops over (and potentially spills its contents). If you also carry a purse, keep it small and simple (so that you are not carrying two large bags); you might place your smaller purse within your larger tote. Tote/purse color should coordinate with your overall attire; it does not have to match your shoes, but should not clash in style and color. Your tote/purse can be leather, faux leather, micro fiber or a fine woven material. Avoid purses that look like beach/pool totes, have bold prints, or are partyish or little-girlish.
Should be clean and neat.
Should be in polished condition. Make sure heels are not worn.
No missing buttons, no lint; and don't forget to remove external tags and tacking stitches from new clothes.
Clothes should be clean, neatly pressed, and fit properly.
Perfume or cologne should be used sparingly or not at all. Remember that some people have allergies/sensitivities; you'd hate for that to derail an interview. No odors in clothes. Don't smell like smoke.
► Padfolios / business bags:
Always wise for holding paper to take notes and to hold other documents you may need to bring and receive. Business-like totes or small briefcases are also appropriate. But if you have no reason to carry a large briefcase, don't; you risk looking silly.
► Backpacks, book bags:
Not appropriate for an on-site interview at the employer's location. For an on-campus interview, you can leave it in the waiting area, or discreetly place it behind your chair. If you are graduating, invest in a business-like tote/bag, so that you don't need to bring your school backpack to interviews.
Keep makeup conservative. A little is usually better than none for a polished look. Nails should be clean and well groomed. Avoid extremes of nail length and polish color, especially in conservative industries.
Wear a conservative watch. If you choose to wear other jewelry, be conservative. Removing earrings is safest. For conservative industries, don't wear earrings. Observe other men in your industry to see what is acceptable.
Underneath the suit jacket, wear a tailored blouse in a color or small print that coordinates nicely with your suit. A fine gauge, good quality shell (sleeveless) or sleeved knit top, not bulky; not thin or gauzy; not a t-shirt) is also appropriate underneath your suit jacket. Don't show cleavage. (Remember that tv/movies are trying to attract viewers; they don't represent reality of the professional environment.
Much of what you see in entertainment media that masquerades for professional attire is not appropriate for a work environment. Your skirt should cover your thighs when you are seated. Showing a lot of thigh makes you look naive at best, foolish at worst. A skirt that ends at the knee when you're standing looks chic and professional. Longer skirts are professional too; just make sure they are narrow enough not to be billowing, but not so narrow that you can't climb stairs comfortably. Don't purchase a skirt or decide on a hem length until you sit in the skirt facing a mirror. That's what your interviewer will see, and what others will see when you are seated in a waiting area prior to your interview. Ask yourself whether it will be distracting or reinforce your image as a person who looks appropriate for a business environment or gathering. High slits in skirts are not appropriate. A small center-back slit in a knee-length skirt is appropriate. On a calf-length skirt, a slit to the knee to facilitate walking and stair climbing is appropriate. Practice walking, climbing stairs, sitting, and standing in your skirt with the shoes you will wear. Make sure you don't have to adjust or tug your skirt into place when you move.
Tailored pants suits are appropriate for women. Pants suits can be an excellent choice for site visits, particularly if the visit involves getting in and out of vehicles and/or the site is (or includes) a manufacturing plant or industrial facility. If you wear pants, they should be creased and tailored, not tight or flowing. If you are pursuing a conservative industry and are in doubt, observe well-dressed women in your industry on the job, at career fairs, at information sessions, etc.
If worn, should be well-groomed. Observe men in your industry if you are unsure what's appropriate or are considering changing your look.
Black or cordovan leather, to match your shoes.
Leather, lace-up or slip-on business shoes, preferably black or cordovan (match your belt color). Invest in a good pair; even if you don't wear them daily at work, you'll need them for other occasions; good shoes should last years if not frequently worn.
Dark socks; color should match pants.
Mid-calf length so no skin is visible when you sit down.
Long-sleeved shirts, even in summer. Choose white or light blue solid, or conservative stripes. A dark shirt might be acceptable in a non-conservative industry. Avoid being trendy.
Tie styles come and go. Select good quality silk ties.
Avoid fashion extremes, like character ties, in interviews.
Notice what men in your industry wear on the job, at career fairs, at information sessions, when they meet with clients.
Everything should be clean and well pressed. Allow time to take your suit to the dry cleaner if needed. Hold it up to bright light to check for stains you might not see in your closet. Carefully inspect clothes for tags, dangling threads, etc. Cut away the tacking threads that hold jacket and skirt vents closed (these are for the garment to stay neat at the retailer, not for permanent use).
You are not expected to be able to afford the same clothing as a corporate CEO. Do invest in quality that will look appropriate during your first two or three years on the job. One good-quality suit is sufficient for a job search if that is all your budget allows. You can vary your shirt/blouse and tie/accessories.
Navy, dark gray (and black for women) - are safe.
Other color trends may come and go; avoid the extremes.
Solids or very subtle weave patterns or plaids (the type that look solid across a room) are safest.
Wool, wool blends, or other good quality natural and synthetic fibers, are generally the best fabrics in all seasons. Avoid lower quality acetate / rayon blends.
Even if you would or could wear jeans on the job, or the work environment is outdoors and a very non-suit environment, wearing a suit to the interview shows you take the interview seriously as a professional meeting. Dressing well is a compliment to the person(s) with whom you meet. If you think the industry in which you're interviewing would frown on a suit, or the interview will involve going to a work site where a suit would be inappropriate, look for advice through professional organizations, your professors who have been employed in that industry, and/or by asking the employer directly and politely. One alternative is to wear pressed pants (like khakis) and a dark jacket; less formal than a suit, but still business-appropriate for both men and women.
Changes in fashion may change some things, like the width of lapels, the cut of pants, or the colors of blouses, shirts and ties available in the stores. Basic professional attire does not change with the whims of fashion. A good suit should last five to ten years, depending on its quality, how hard you wear it, how well you care for it, and if it continues to fit you well. You can express fashion's whims in your off-the-job clothes, and to some extent in your accessories.
Your attire should be noticed as being appropriate and well-fitting, but it should not take center stage.
If you are primarily remembered for your interview attire, this is probably because you made an error in judgment.
In an interview your attire plays a supporting role.
Remember that during the Interview, you are the main star and not your attire. This means that you should not dress gaudily or have such vibrant colors that they become the piece of conversation during the interview and after it, and not your qualifications and abilities.
Make sure that the dress exudes professionalism and is not grumpy or scruffy. A nicely ironed shirt and a good pair of trousers backed up with a tie would not be too out of place during an interview. Of course, a suit tips the scales towards your side, but make sure that the suit that you are wearing is sharply cut and does not look like something owned by a casino owner.
To end it all, remember that you are wearing the attire and the attire isn't wearing you. Whatever you wear should suit you and complement your style and lifestyle.
If you are wearing a skirt, anything above the knee should be a matter of concern. Anything with two palms difference between the knee and the hemline of the skirt should be kept at home. Also, consider your body type before deciding on a dress for the interview. Always wear attire that is complementary to you.
The job interview is not a singles bar where you have to go dressed skimpily. For the guys as well as the girls, remember that you are in a professional environment and what might be ok in the open might be frowned upon in the professional space and may even end up with you being given the don't call us, we will call you line.
Therefore, girls should let go of those miniskirts and men should refrain from wearing badly crafted denims. In fact, denims should not be worn at the interview at all. Always plan ahead and have a good looking trouser ready. The job interview attire for women is basically something that makes them feel comfortable and does not expose their bodies in a way that they would look vulgar or cheap.
Whether you are attending an interview for a post of a copywriter in an advertising agency or applying for the post of a manager in a production company, remember that professionalism and maturity is a given requirement in both professions - and a business casual or a formal dressing is just an indication of your maturity and professionalism. Trust us on this one; you cannot go wrong with a formal dressing on your interview - even if you are being interviewed for the post of a clown in the local circus.
The interview attire should be more or less formal. Job interview attires are meant to be professional and they definitely should not be discussed once the interviewee has left the office.