Fashion Column: Interview Attire

Story posted April 21, 2014 in CommRadio by Jane Moreland

Whether you want to believe it or not, appearance does matter in job interviews.  A good first impression is reliant on whether or not you come across neat and put together.  Depending on what type of job you're interviewing for, desired attire varies.  In this article, I'll teach you what to wear and where to find your desired styles. 

We will start by breaking down the interview styles of dress into three categories: business, liberal arts and communications, and arts.  Obviously these categories don't even begin to encompass all the possible majors out there, but pick the category that you feel is most closely related to your major. 

However, if your major is in one category and you're interviewing with a company in a more formal one, always dress for the more formal category.  It is always better to be overdressed, rather than underdressed.

The business category requires the most conservative and formal style of dress.  Majors that would fall into this category include accounting, finance, engineering, economics, law and math.  Typically recruiters like to see a full black suit in these type of interviews.  A full suit is a jacket and pants, or skirt. 

Since this is the most conservative style, use the accent shirt under your jacket to make you stand out.  Bright (but not neon) colors, like cobalt blue and pink, stand out against black.  Remember that this shirt also needs to be appropriate. 

Do not wear spaghetti straps or anything low-cut.  You want the interviewer to pay attention to you as an asset, not the two in your blouse. 

Unless you do not know how to walk in heels at all, your shoe should have at least a one or two inch heel and be no higher than four inches.  Girls, please stop wearing your going-out shoes to interviews. 

Not only can your peers tell that you have been in a fraternity, but also your recruiter.  Most shoe retailers will carry a pair of three or four inch black pumps.  Buy them and wear them only for interviews and job fairs.   

The second category is majors like communications, liberal arts and the sciences.  Remember each interview dress style is situational.  Assess the company you're going to be speaking with and change outfits if necessary. 

For this category, I like suits of color, such as tan, navy or gray. 

A white suit is even acceptable in the summer. Michelle Mignogna, a senior majoring in kinesiology, said, "when I interviewed for a physical therapy clinic, I wore khaki dress pants and a nice sweater."

Abbey Proudfoot, a senior majoring in science, said that she wore a suit to an interview she had with BioLife downtown. 

She made a great first impression and ended up getting the job! If you're interested in finding options for suits and suit separates, try department stores like Macy's and Nordstrom’s.

The final, and in my opinion, the least formal category, is for those interviewing with companies related to the arts.  This includes music, architecture, theatre and the visual arts.  These industries are all very creative so it is important to show your creativity through your wardrobe, but in a tasteful way. 

Try a knee-length patterned dress or skirt paired with a solid-colored blazer.  Accent your look with interesting jewelry, or a visually stimulating pair of shoes.  Make sure your hemline is not too short and your heels are not too high.  Just because you get to be creative with your appearance does not mean you want to look unprofessional. 

Good luck with all of your interviews and remember, the most important thing is knowledge and confidence! 

For now,

Jane Moreland is a senior majoring in Telecommunications and can be reached at