How to Dress for a FORMAL Job Interview

How to Dress for a FORMAL Job Interview

You’ve been invited to a job interview – great! You’ve read our other blog posts and have prepared fully by researching the company and practicing your answers but there’s still one thing worrying you. You don’t know what to wear.

The way you should dress is dependant on the industry you will be working in. For example, the clothes you would wear for a part-time retail job would be more casual than how you would dress for a full-time office based role. It’s really important that when you’re preparing your outfit, you research the company and their interview process. Some companies such as Nandos explicitly state that their office spaces are not like a ‘typical Head Office’ and that they ‘forget polished boots and pencil skirts.’ So with a company like this, you might not want to go in a full suit, but opt for something more smart casual.

So now you’ve done your research and you know whether you should be dressing in a formal way or smart-casual. This blog post focuses on just formal interviews so Prestige Recruitment Group have written some advice below on How to Dress for a FORMAL Job Interview.



Dependent on the gender you identify with, there’s a few ways that you can dress. For formal interviews, the most common outfit choice is usually a suit because everybody and anyone can wear one. If you want to wear a suit, whether that’s a trouser suit or skirt suit – make sure it matches. There’s nothing worse than wearing a suit of different shades, so ensure that you wear the full matching set. A dark-coloured suit in navy, black or dark grey with a light, clean long sleeved shirt or blouse is probably your best bet.

Your outfit should be comfortable, and if you haven’t had to wear a suit for a few years, it might be worth investing in a new one. If you choose to wear a tie, wear something that’s not too bright, loud or flashy. Your tie needs to complement the rest of your outfit, so it should be matched to the rest of our outfit to ensure there are no colour clashes.

If you decide to wear a dress - avoid bright patterns and stick to a formal outfit. Avoid anything tight, bright or short. As a rule, try and keep the dress length to just above the knee or longer. If you are wearing a skirt or dress, wear tights too. Try and get some that perfectly match the tone of your skin, but if this is too difficult – it’s okay to wear black. Try and carry an extra pair of tights in your bag too – you never know when you’re going to snag or ladder the ones you are wearing.

Regardless of your gender, make sure your shoes are dark, well polished and clean. If you want to wear heels, don’t wear anything too high. Make sure your shoes aren’t scuffed or run-down.



You don’t want to go into your interview with a full-face of makeup. Instead, try and tone it down. If you wear eyeshadow, don’t wear any extreme colours like purple, blue or red. Instead, keep to a natural shimmer or pinks/browns so that it isn’t too blatant. Stay away from contour, highlight and an excessive amount of foundation. Use a touch of concealer for under the eyes and perhaps just one layer of foundation, which should be blended well. Though it won't be outwardly noticeable, it will help counteract any redness if you’re prone to blushing when you get nervous. Don’t use any bright lipsticks - keep the shade within a reasonable range of your natural lip colour. You should always avoid lip-gloss because it’s more likely to get sticky and smeared.



Don’t wear an excessive amount of jewellery either. Try and keep it to one pair of earrings, which are studs rather than large hoops. You may want to wear a bracelet or a ring but don’t overdo it! Keep it as minimalistic as you can. While you’re just interviewing, you should take out any facial piercings. This can be annoying but until you fully understand the company culture, you don’t want to wear anything that can come across as dramatic. Try and cover tattoos the best you can for this same reasoning.   



The day of your interview is not the time to be experimenting with new hair dos. People with short hair can usually just wear their hair without any styling – but people with long hair might need to do something to it. If you can, just wear it down. If your hair is difficult to manage, you may just want to tie it up into a ponytail to get it out of your face.  Avoid gel and hairspray!


Most people have one outfit that they like to wear to interviews, so if you haven’t interviewed for a while – your clothes might not fit, or they might need washing. This is why you should always prepare everything a few days in advance. It gives you time to wash your clothes or buy new things if needed! Avoid wearing or eating anything too smelly just before you go, so avoid wearing too much perfume/aftershave and avoid smoking just before you interview. If you need any advice or help with your interview prep, be sure to check out our other articles here.


Jessica Greaney
Digital Marketer
0121 244 5004