The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday January 22nd

Dress Code

Dress Code 101: How to Dress for an Interview

Spring is here, and you know what that means: time to nail down that summer internship. If you’ve reached the interview stage already, the last thing you want to worry about the morning of is what you’re wearing, but it’s still important to make a good first impression. Interview wear is hard to nail down — you know you have to look polished and conservative, but you don’t want to look like you’re wearing your mother’s pantsuit. So here are some unprofessional, well-informed tips.

1. Plan it out
Don’t wait until the day of the interview to throw an outfit together. Plan it out by at least the night before. You need to make sure you look presentable and there are no holes, wrinkles or stains in whatever you’re wearing. Plus, it gives you more time to chill out pre-interview.

2. Neutrals are your best friend
The darker, the better. The focus should be on you, so keep it clean and classic with a lot of blacks, tans, browns, whites, greys and any other colors of the neutral rainbow. Make sure you use any colors smart and sparingly.

3. Keep it conservative
This is not a time to wear your vintage peplum dress or patterned harem pants. No crazy jewelry and make-up, pull your hair back, and guys, keep the facial hair trimmed. Essentially, you need to look like your mom always wanted you to in all those uncomfortable childhood photo opportunities.

4. Dress up for the part
Make sure you judge the environment you’re going into accordingly. The easiest option for interview wear is a suit, but this may come off as too straight-laced depending on where you’re interviewing. Make sure you have the basics: dressy shoes (nothing more than a 2-inch, closed toe heel for women), button up shirt, dress pants or a skirt and a blazer (add a tie if you’re a guy).

5. Look like yourself
This whole process is about marketing yourself, and you can’t do that if you look like an uncomfortable corporate robot. Add some interesting touches— if you’re a guy, you could wear some cool oxford shoes, and if you’re a girl, you could go for a more androgynous look. Adding a pop of color in a small place, like a tie or a shoe, is also a good way to go. Make sure you’re physically comfortable in what you’re in and that what you’re wearing represents you and you’ll naturally stand out.

Good luck!

For more interviewing tips, check out the career services website.

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