Interview Dress Code: What’s The Norm Today?

Interview Dress Code: What’s The Norm Today?


Don’t ever dress in any way that would not command respect to your person. The saying “dress the way you want to be addressed” what you wear and how you wear it matters especially when you appear in a formal environment, and an interview all the more. Your physical appearance to an interview is your very first unspoken assessment whether or not you will be considered for the job or interviewed at all. Like they say, “there’s no second chance to make a first impression” so, ensure to look the part.

Nowadays, interview dress code has sort of relaxed than it was about ten years ago and more recently, the pandemic, COVID-19 has impacted the workplace norm. The transformation is ever before us, continually evolving.

In fact, I see a more dynamic near future with the increasing number of remote or virtual workers and more businesses choosing the virtual work space over the normal brick and mortar. To be on the safe side with your outfit, don’t experiment with what you are not certain about, if in doubt, the ever-trusted business formal never fails and also in most cases today, the business casual would be suitable for almost every job type within various industries. Further details below will offer you deeper insight to equip you to succeed in choosing the appropriate outfit for your next job interview.

Colour Codes

Most suitable colours for suits, pants and skirts are dark shades. Black, chestnut brown, gray, navy blue, while for light coloured shirts and blouses are preferred with a pair of black or brown shoes that covers the feet completely but these things are not cast in stone, they can be tweaked to suit the particular job.

For example, an interview in the media and entertainment allows different colour tones and shades. The mind of the creatives functions differently from the norm; certain appearance or colours could spark an inspiration for something new or could be a solution to a puzzle. Whatever you do in this particular case, moderation is however advised.


A good outfit could look tacky if anything is out of place; a missing button, a peeping underwear, a badly ironed clothing. Whatsoever will be in the eye level of the interviewers that will cause a distraction. If you have a rip on the way which will be obvious, you could humorously mention it and everyone will relax and give you credit for the hint to help them concentrate on the needful. Please put on a dash of cologne and smell nice, this has a way of adding to your self-confidence but be careful not to use too strong scents.

Well-cut and Fitting

Well-tailored outfit that is well fitted, be mindful of too tight clothing that could cause distraction or too bogus making you look ridiculous. Ladies if your skirt is above your knees and when you sit, you’re consciously struggling to keep it at a decent level. To avoid such embarrassment, please let your skirt be at the knee level this allows you a good deal of manageability, alternatively, wear pants. Agreeably, excessive skin exposure that could cause distractions should be avoided.

Simplicity Is Safe

Whatever you wear, it is always better to be simple. There’s always safety in simplicity. Whatever you wear that causes you distraction at the slightest motion should be avoided. Bold accessories is a complete ‘no-no’, it’s possible that when you think that your interviewer is paying attention to what you are saying they are most likely engrossed with that distracting piece of accessory or dressing. This means that a few seconds inattentiveness from your interviewer could be to your disadvantage, they could miss a significant statement you made.

Business Formal or Casual Formal

This depends on the type of job, the industry or specific organization dress culture. It’s your responsibility to find this out and dress a notch higher so that when you appear before the panel, you don’t look out of place. 

I remember a young man whose friend told him about a job opportunity and because he assured him he had put in a few words in his favour and that the interview was just a formality. The applicant went to the interviewer dressed in a three-piece suit, on getting to the interview, he met others all casually dressed and upon enquiry, he realized it was a casual job and he felt really embarrassed that he hadn’t taken-into account the job information. In essence, do well to arm yourself with every needed detail to avoid awkward moments like the one I just described.

Business Formal

Certain industries require that you wear formal business clothing like a two-piece or three-piece suits for interviews. These include the financial sector like the banking industry, insurance, investment market, stock brokers and so on. The legal firms for example, also will require interviewees to appear in formal dress code, business consultancy firms, oil and gas. 

Positions such as accountants, business development and strategy, and any managerial and executive position in whatever industry must appear formally dressed to interviews as these are leader within an organization and should set the tone for workplace dress codes.

Casual Formal

Gowns, shirts or blouses over skirts or pants for ladies and shirts over trousers for men, you could add a tie accompaniment depending on job or industry specifics. Sport jackets over skirts and pants for ladies and over trousers for men can improve the quality of your outfit.

Interview outfit for IT firms could fall in this category, you should also take into consideration the job position as well as the industry. For example, a position in the IT department of a bank must be formal.

How About the Virtual Interviews?

My advice is to treat as though it’s a physical interview, dress appropriate as the job type and the industry or particular company dress code. Now, you could be tempted to dress up only from your waist up, ensure not to fall into this trap, dress from head to toe; this includes shoes. Also, ensure your background has a professional touch to it.

 It should be free from clutter or any form of distractions especially family members moving at the background nor any obvious sound that could cause a distraction. Using a camera means your interviewer can peek into your world hence, whatever shouldn’t be public mustn’t be anywhere near your focus.

Not too long ago, I was in a virtual meeting, since I wasn’t going to use my video, I was not particular about my looks, this I have done countless times successfully and I always felt like a pro in this regard. My device proved to have a mind of its own as I was ending this particular meeting. 

My hand touched an icon without my intention to do so and on came my video. Thankfully, my meeting was ended and I quickly left the meeting. Don’t worry, I was fully dressed, I just didn’t want my beautiful face without make-up to be seen by clients, I always want to look professional during my meetings. Cut that look you want to project if it was an in-person interview. Being fully dressed has a way of boosting your confidence.

In conclusion, remember that the workplace is now very dynamic, therefore, don’t be so rigid about these rules, just work with what is suitable for the particular job, company or industry dress code for which you are attending. 

A bit of asking around or asking a particular authority or a simple online research will put you in good perspective. Finally, let me reiterate that,  when in doubt the business formal is a safety net. I wish you the best of luck as you sit before that interviewer or interview panel.

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