The Psychology of What to Wear to an Interview

It’s time to get dressed for your interview. You might be wondering whether to go with the pantsuit or the dress, the red blouse or the white. While there’s a lot that goes into picking your outfit, there are a few things you can consider that will help narrow it down.

A lot of psychology stands behind the notion that how you dress says a lot to the interviewer. So let's ensure you’re giving the impression that you are put-together, professional, trustworthy, and most importantly, the best candidate for the job.

Just as you need to know your objective to write a proper resume and cover letter, the same goes for the interview. Know that your outfit, attitude, and accessories reflect your seriousness about getting the job and that you are the perfect fit for the position.

How to Dress

Dressing for a job interview comes down to matching your attire to the job. Plan to dress more formally than the position that you want. An outfit that is too casual, such as ripped women's jeans and a t-shirt, will give the impression that you aren’t taking the interview seriously.

Dress for the Job You Want

It’s important to take the industry into account. Your outfit should reflect the qualities the interviewers are looking for in the position you’re applying to. Dressing for an accountant position will be a pretty classically professional look with neutral colors. In contrast, a position in marketing might go for a bright red to show that you’re savvy.

Consider what a day in the life of someone in the position you want wears, and based on that, what you think is the appropriate level of dress to impress.


There's a lot of research connecting powerful psychological associations to colors. When it comes to picking out colors, less is better. It’s vital not to wear too many bright colors that will distract your interviewer.

Since people tend to associate certain qualities with different colors, use this to your advantage and dress in the color that represents a quality that you want to convey. Some examples include red representing power, blue evoking trustworthiness, and yellow indicating that you have a happy, easy personality. Gray, blue, and black are good neutral colors that show confidence in what you can offer the company.

Keep a neutral outfit with one pop of color when getting dressed for the interview. Subtle colors are a safe option; neutral colors are soothing to the eye and keep the attention on you. Bright colors can be good, but try and keep it to just one. For example, a red women's top with black dress pants and a black blazer is a good balance of one bright color with neutral colors.

Outfit examples

We love a classy pantsuit for an interview, as it shows you’re professional and up to the task. A midi dress (/shop/womens-mid-calf-dresses/S-xfg-xez-y7r-y5c-xec) is a perfect length for an appropriate, formal outfit. Alternatively, a calf-length pencil skirt (/shop/womens-skirts-skorts-bottoms/S-xff-xez-y5c-xh8-y3e-xec) and women's white blouse is also a good way to go and leaves plenty of opportunity for simple accessories.

Dos and Dont’s

In addition to how you dress, how you present yourself will affect the first impression you give your potential boss, so follow these essential dos and don’ts for the maximum advantage.

Don’t wear anything too revealing; dress conservatively.

Don’t wear loud perfumes that distract the interviewers, but keep a minimal level of mild perfume, such as a delicate rose perfume.

Don’t wear loud patterns (significant for virtual interviews); stick to solid colors.


With accessories, keep it simple. You don’t want to wear anything that will distract from your personality. While a simple sterling silver or gold earrings and necklace set is tasteful, try not to overdo it with the jewelry.

Research tells us that how we dress will determine whether we get the job. When dressing for your next job interview, follow these tips and tricks to give the right first impression and secure the job. Remember to dress more formally than the daily dress of the position you want, minimize distracting visuals like bright colors and vivid patterns, and opt for solid colors and simple accessories.

The most important part of dressing for success is your comfort and self-assurance. Now that you have tips and tricks for dressing, it’s time to hype yourself up for the interview. Confidence is key when going for something you want, so sitting down and talking yourself up is vital. Believe in yourself and the skills and abilities you have to offer in this new position.


Related Articles