First Impressions: Interview Dress

September 26, 2017

As the LSU Career Fair approaches, it’s important to freshen up on key interview skills needed to impress recruiters and future employers. When it comes to preparing for a job interview, there are many factors that need to be addressed. Are you familiar enough with the company and how it works? Are you well-versed enough to answer interview questions? Are you prepared to talk about yourself and discuss salary? One of the most overlooked job preparation skills is how you actually present yourself in the physical meeting. Specifically, what you wear at that first impression with your potential employer tells them a lot about who you are.

It’s been said many times that you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have. It’s important to know the company culture and understand how employees dress on a daily basis in the workplace. When preparing an interview you first you need to identify the culture of your potential workplace; know your audience. Next, you’ll want to dress one step above normal workplace attire. It’s always important to dress in a clean, appropriate, and conservative manner. It doesn’t matter if you’re applying to work at a swanky Graphic Design start up, or an established corporate firm. This is the safest way to play it.

Some key things to think about:

  • Do my clothes fit appropriately?
  • Are they clean and pressed?
  • Will they distract the interviewer from what I’m saying?
  • Do they exude professionalism and justifiably represent the look that I’m striving for?
  • Follow these basic guidelines to help you out.

Base Dress:

  • Shirts: Wear a clean, pressed shirt or blouse. Use faint prints or lighter solid colors
  • Pants/Skirts: Wear pants that aren’t too tight, and reach the shoes at an appropriate length. Wear a skirt that fits well in length and waist.
  • Blazers/Jackets: Wear a blazer or jacket that coordinates with your pants/skirt.
  • Shoes: Shoes should be clean, sturdy and a heel height you can comfortably walk in. Shoe colors should coordinate and should reflect the atmosphere of the company.


  • Try to avoid too much detailing in design so the interviewer can focus on you and not what you’re wearing.
  • A tie in a solid or light print, that is tied correctly will compliment your suit combo nicely. Small and clean cuff links and/or tie clip will add to your suit.
  • A dressy watch is always acceptable.
  • Wedding ring and university ring are acceptable but try to avoid any other jewelry, taking out piercings, and being mindful of necklaces or chains.
  • Make sure to test your jewelry to make sure it doesn’t make distracting noises, and is appropriate with your outfit.
  • If you are wearing a skirt you can also wear stockings that are neutral with no runs in them.

General Appearance:

  • Facial Hair: Go with clean-shaven. If you have facial hair and refuse to part with it, make sure it’s trimmed neatly.
  • Go get a haircut a few days before your interview. Stick with a natural hair color and a hairstyle that is minimal and general to multiple cultures.
  • Make sure your fingernails are clean and trimmed without any/distracting color on them.
  • Avoid overwhelming fragrances.
  • If you choose to wear makeup, stick with a fresh natural look, avoiding bright eye shadows and liners.


The most important thing is that you feel comfortable and professional in your attire. If this is so, both your potential employer and you can focus on the more important aspects of the interview like what you have to offer as a potential employee.