Most of us are used to dressing for interviews, especially when the dress code is formal. We throw on our most complementing suit and we are good to go.
However, if you’ve recently been told the dress code for an interview is casual you might be a little stumped.
You might be tempted to wear your usual formal interview attire, to avoid dressing inappropriately. Don’t do this!
If you dress in formal attire for a casual interview, you will be overdressed. This can leave the impression that you are stiff and leave the interviewer thinking you wouldn’t fit in with the culture of the company.
Well, don’t panic! We are here to clear up any confusion as to what you should wear to a casual interview.
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What Is Casual Interview Attire?
Casual interview attire can be broken down into a few categories. You might see people specify business casual or smart casual.
Some companies might just say casual attire. This can be a bit confusing as what you might think is casual is something completely different from what the company wanted.
The one thing you don’t want to do is be dressed too casually for an interview or to be overly dressed.
So what is casual attire? Casual attire usually means to dress smart without having to wear a suit. The rules for what men and women can wear to casual interviews may differ slightly.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when dressing casually for an interview.
- Make sure that what you are wearing looks neat and tidy.
- Avoid wearing clothes that are too baggy or that are too tight.
- Avoid wearing anything revealing, this means no low necklines, sheer blouses, or heels that are too high.
- Make sure that tattoos and piercings are covered.
What Should Women Wear To A Casual Interview?
Dressing for a casual interview might seem a little tricky but here are some options you can wear to your interview.
- A blazer and a nice pair of pants are always a good option for a casual interview. Instead of wearing a suit, opt for a pair of pants that fit nicely but are not too formal.
- If you want to wear a skirt, then opt for a knee-length skirt with a casual blouse.
- When it comes to casual interview attire, you can also wear tailored knitwear like a nice sweater in place of a blouse.
- You could wear a smart dress to a casual interview, without a blazer.
- Some businesses allow people to wear jeans when it comes to casual interviews. If you are sure that the company you are interviewing for allows jeans, you could wear jeans, a blouse, and a nice blazer.
- Adding simple accessories to your outfit can make your outfit more casual. Avoid any jewelry that is too flashy and noisy.
- You could opt for flats if you are wearing pants. If you want to wear heels, they should be no higher than 3 inches.
- Makeup should always be light and natural unless the role you are applying for requires makeup.
Avoid wearing anything too bold in a casual interview, you don’t want your outfit to be a distraction.
What Should Men Wear To A Casual Interview?
Here are some ideas for what men could wear during a casual interview.
- Men could wear a button-down shirt with some chinos.
- A collared polo shirt and some tailored pants would be a good option for a casual interview.
- In terms of shoes, nice loafers are a good choice.
- Wear a belt to accessorize your outfit. Remember that if you choose to wear a belt it needs to match your shoes.
- If you know you can wear jeans in your interview then it is best to wear dark jeans with a button-down shirt that has a collar.
- Add a blazer for business casual interviews.
- If you know the company is very casual, then wearing khakis, chinos and open-neck button-down shirts is appropriate.
When choosing outfits for a casual interview, you can usually leave wearing a tie. The aim when wearing casual attire is to still look professional. This means making sure you are well-groomed.
Can You Wear Jeans To A Casual Interview?
At times wearing jeans to an interview is appropriate. This is only acceptable when you know the company allows for people to wear jeans when they are working. That being said, it is best to avoid wearing jeans when you can.
Instead of wearing jeans, you should try to wear nice pants. For women, this could be pants that are casual and have a muted print on it. For men, wearing chinos is a good alternative to wearing jeans.
When wearing casual clothes to an interview, you might be tempted to wear trendy casual clothing. It is best to stick with traditional casual interview clothes if you are not sure what the company’s policy is.
What You Should Avoid
Regardless of whether the interview has specified casual clothing, there are some items of clothes that you should avoid wearing.
- Open-toe sandals or flip-flops are never appropriate to wear to an interview, even if the dress is casual. These are shoes that do not look professional when wearing them.
- Sneakers or athletic shoes should not be worn to an interview and should be avoided at all costs.
- Mini-skirts or short dresses should be avoided. Instead, opt for a knee-length skirt.
- Strapless tops are another item of clothing that you should not wear for an interview.
When planning an outfit for a casual interview it is best to go with something that still looks professional. The basic interview outfit rules should still apply, for example not wearing sneakers.
When deciding what to wear to a casual interview, you should ask yourself whether your outfit looks professional, put-together, and tidy. Try to avoid wearing jeans where you can, unless your interviewer has stated otherwise.
Hopefully, we have cleared up any confusion you might have had when it comes to choosing a casual interview outfit.