What to Wear to Interviews

Welcome to our first blog!

To kick off our site, we decided to talk about something that we get asked about all the time (and have often asked others about)- What to Wear to an Interview.

Books like “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, or our friends/family who like to utilize cliches like “you only have one chance at a first impression,” let us know that the way we appear as we meet people for the first time is influential. Historically, there has been a lot of discussion about whether there is a color to wear to make a certain statement about yourself during an interview. A Careerbuilder survey from 2013 asked 2099 hiring managers and human resources professionals what colors they would advise interviewees to wear. The most common responses were blue and black, as you may have expected. Orange was considered by most to be unprofessional, yikes! However, the fact that no more than 25% of the people surveyed gave us the impression that there is a high degree of variability in what any given interviewer/hiring manager might find professional.


We talked with a few of our colleagues, and found just that. Some people felt orange was acceptable (including LEAF1 and LEAF2, before doing this research!). Most everyone felt that black, dark gray, brown or navy as the primary suit color would be equally acceptable. While this still doesn’t give us a clear answer, what did become obvious is that a POOR choice in APPROPRIATENESS of clothing (ie something that showed a lot of skin, was too tight, didn’t allow for mobility, or wasn’t appropriate for the setting, etc) was more detrimental than any given choice in color. Those were the things that stood out in a bad way, when making a first impression. The best interview candidates were those who presented themselves and their skills with strong communication skills, and dressed appropriately for someone striving to obtain a position at the institution in which they were interviewing.

One thing LEAF 1 and LEAF 2 have asked ourselves often is, what happens if we can’t afford the fancy suits/bags/accessories we see on CEOs of Fortune 500 companies?! What if I’m fresh out of school, trying to make it on my own and this is one more thing I need to worry about? We feel strongly that while it is nice to dress in a way that makes you feel confident, if the clothes are used or not tailored to a “T”-it’s never a deal breaker (LEAF 2 just bought a seer sucker blazer and skirt for $10 at Goodwill)! As long as a person is neat and has put in effort to show that they are interested in the position, that’s all that matters. Here are some samples we came up with.




Regent blazer (black): J-crew  (now 10% off); Lace peplum top (ivory): J-crew (now 30% off); Regent pant in wool (black): J-crew


Top (ivory): Target (old); Pencil skirt (blue): H&M (similar)