Job Advice: Fashion Director Brice Pattison Gives Advice on What Not to Wear in a Job Interview

job interview

What you wear to the job interview matters. | Gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

It’s important to put your best foot forward when it comes to the job interview. You want to not only say the right things but also look your best. Hiring managers pay close attention to what you say and what you wear. The colors you wear and the style you choose could make or break your chance of landing your dream job. It’s in your best interest to pick a flattering outfit on the big day.

The Cheat Sheet reached out to Brice Pattison, fashion director for The Black Tux, to learn more about the best fashion choices to make for an upcoming interview. Here’s what he had to say.

The Cheat Sheet: Why is what you wear to an interview so important?

Brice Pattinson: What you wear is a nonverbal signal of your professionalism and shows you’re familiar with the company’s culture–and in some interviews, whether you’d be a good fit with the company’s culture. When in doubt, aim for conservative.


CS: What are some of the worst outfits to wear to an interview?

BP: This should go without saying, but I would suggest that shorts, sandals, and baseball caps are unprofessional and not ideal in any interview setting.


CS: If you’re not sure what to wear to an interview, should you call and ask or is this a big no-no?

BP: In the digital age you should be able to get a sense of the culture of the place you are interviewing at through their social media channels and the social media channels of their competitors.


CS: Anything else to add?

BP: Dark clothing that fits well, and is free from ornamentation (no graphic tees, no ripped jeans, etc.) is a great place to start. A shirt, tucked in, with a collar looks more professional than a crew neck; a polo works, too. Wear a blazer or suit if you are vying for management.

Bonus tips for making a good first impression:

There are a few items of clothing and accessories you should never wear to the workplace. We’ll outline some of them below:

  • Avoid strong fragrances. You never know who is sensitive to fragrances. If your interviewer happens to have a fragrance sensitivity, you could have a problem on your hands. The interviewer could be so focused on trying to breathe that he or she is too distracted to listen to you.
  • Stick with closed-toe shoes. No one wants to see your toes—especially not during a job interview. Although you might be comfortable in sandals, it’s not professional. Keep your feet under wraps until you get home.
  • Don’t wear wrinkled clothes. Make sure your clothes are well-ironed before you head over to your interview. Coming to an interview wrinkled gives the impression you don’t care about the position. Wearing wrinkled clothes also shows you don’t pay much attention to detail. If you’re applying for a job that requires being detail oriented, it’s safe to say you can kiss that job good-bye.

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