Dressing for Success - The Way to Look for an Interview

You’ve heard it from the employers themselves. The way you show up looking for the interview will play a big part in whether or not you get the nod. Models Amanda Reid, Erin Herbert, and Glyndon Bonnick agreed to show you the wrong look and the right look for interviews and for work. Comments are by Anne Sowden, president of the Toronto chapter of the Association of Image Consultants International.



This is a great outfit for hanging out with your friends.

It is not for business since it shows so much skin.

The more skin you show, the less professional you look.

Cropped tops, belly
buttons and sleeveless tops will make people remember your poor judgment, not your skills and abilities.

Sport shoes are appropriate only with the most casual outfits.



A pair of pants and a sweater is a perfect business casual look.

It would be a good thing to wear for an interview with an IT company or any company in the creative fields.
The clothing fits properly, is neat and well taken care of.

To make this outfit look more formal, add a jacket.

The hair is neat and off the face, making the candidate appear open and approachable.



A suit is the ideal attire for a business interview. At the very least, a woman must wear a jacket to be taken seriously. A suit with cropped pants can be appropriate for an interview in a more casual or creative environment. Shoes with closed toe and heel make the outfit look professional. A darker coloured suit would be preferable since darker colours are seen as more formal, lighter more casual. For an interview, carrying either a briefcase
or purse is best since you only have one bag to worry about.

You should carry it in your left hand so you can shake hands with your right.



Shorts and tank tops should never be worn to the office. This is summer weekend wear.

As for skirts, these should be about knee length. It’s a flattering length for most women and doesn’t show too much leg when you sit down.

Closed toe and heel shoes are great but no one will take you seriously if you wear stilettos.

Heels should be no higher than two and a half inches so you can walk easily




Jeans should not be worn to a job interview, even at companies that allow employees to wear good quality jeans that fit well, are clean and have no holes. Wait until you’ve been hired to switch to this style.

Having paired jeans with a sweater, belt and closed toe shoes, the model looks capable and competent.

Hair is neat and off the face.

Simple jewellery complements the look.



Wearing a jacket and a collared shirt, even with jeans will make an outfit look more formal.

To be taken seriously in the workplace, a woman must wear a jacket.

Low heeled shoes are more casual than high-heeled shoes.

Candidate looks confident and willing to get the job done.




Wear this when meeting friends. This outfit could send one of two messages: you don’t
respect yourself enough to dress up for the interview, or you’re not interested in getting a job. If you don’t respect yourself, the perception is you won’t respect your coworkers or the company who wants to hire you.

Headphones/cell phones/iPods should be turned off and put away for interviews. Better still, leave them at home.



A very casual look that is appropriate when you have the job.

It is far too casual for the interview and could be considered sloppy.

The facial expression is very serious and not at all welcoming.

Remember a smile is your best accessory.





This is a neat, well put together look for an entry-level job. To make a better impression, the candidate should wear a sports jacket.
Depending on the job, a suit might be appropriate. However, the clothing fits, is nicely pressed.

The colours are nicely coordinated, indicating a sense of personal pride. The shoes are well shined, indicating an attention to detail. The candidate would make a better first impression if he were to smile and stand straighter with his shoulders back. This would make him be perceived as confident no matter how nervous he might be.




Party Girl, Skater Girl and The Hulk. Would you hire these people? They are all inappropriately dressed for a job interview. The man looks sloppy, his jeans are baggy and dirty, his face and
body language look very threatening.

The woman on the left is dressed to party. The woman in the middle is dressed for spending time with friends in the mall. Her facial expression says she’s not interested and the hand in her pocket says, “I don’t care”.



A group of happy, confident employees.

They are neatly dressed and look as though they

would be taken seriously on the job.


Dressing for success on a budget

So what if you don’t have the right threads and you have a small or no budget for interview clothes? Borrow from friends or family. Shop at thrift stores or consignment boutiques; this will allow you to outfit yourself quite well for pennies. Female job hunters can also get appropriate work wear through the non-profit organization Dress for Success. Visit them at dressforsuccess.org.


You’ve heard it from the employers themselves. The way you show up dressed for the interview will play a big part in whether or not you will get the nod. Here are the wrong looks and the right looks for interviews and for work. Outfits are
courtesy The (Hudson’s) Bay store. Comments are by Anne Sowden, immediate past president of the Toronto chapter of the Association of Image Consultants
International. Go online to the Career Centre at DiversityCanada.com to see more great looks for snagging that job.

More suggestions for proper interview attire


Ready for yoga class or a night of clubbing?

That’s the message this body-hugging outfit sends

even though our model looks confident and approachable.

It is too casual for an interview, or even for just

dropping off your resume.



This is summer weekend wear.

No one will take you seriously if you dress like this for an interview or for work.

The more skin you show, the less professional you look.




A big no-no. Skirts for an interview or for work should be about knee length,

a flattering length for most women,

which doesn’t show too much leg.





The clothing and body language say it all — “I don’t want to work.

I just want to hang out.”

If you turn up dressed like this,

that’s what you will probably end up doing.




Jeans should not be worn to a job interview.

This outfit is too casual for even after you’ve got the job, except for IT, media or fashion companies, which will let you wear jeans as long as they fit, aren’t torn or dirty.

Oh, and leave the IPod at home.

Employers will expect your full attention.



Cropped pants are more casual than full length but can look very professional when paired with boots.

However, this look is more appropriate for after you’ve got the job.To impress during an interview,

you need to step things up a bit more.




This combination is just right for an
interview or for the workplace.

It is neat, looks professional and says, “I’m ready
to work.”





Here’s a great look for an interview or the workplace.

The pants fit well and there is no tummy showing.

A brightly coloured shirt will draw attention to your
face and to what you have to say,

and can give you energy if you need it.




This can take you from the interview to the workplace.

It gives the impression of power and authority.

One way to soften the look and show your personality would be to wear a
brighter patterned tie.

However, stay away from ties with cartoon designs
as they would only make you look silly.



This is the perfect outfit for the young professional going places;
it is fashionable, smart and very professional.

The jacket and pants are conservative

but the red turtleneck
adds interest and indicates creativity.

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