The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Ask BB: What to Wear to an Interview When A Suit Isn't Appropriate

Here's a question from the forums posted by sarasosa: "I KNOW that for the majority of interviews a suit is the way to go, but there are situations when you will be inappropriately overdressed. (Yes, this is possible!) I am interviewing for a company where the atmosphere is casual for everyone right up to the CEO. I'm afraid a buttoned up suit will give off the wrong first impression. So how do you fit in and still look professional?"

I'm a staunch advocate of the interview suit, but as sarasosa points out, there are times when a suit just isn't appropriate and wearing one to an interview might even hurt your chances of getting the job. If you've done your homework about the company and you're certain that a suit isn't the way to go, here are three alternative outfit ideas that will help you land the job:

A pencil skirt and pretty blouse strikes the perfect chord for a casual work environment interview.

Bright colors show your personality while simple silhouettes show you're serious about the job.

Top any modest, simple dress with a blazer and fun flats for a pulled-together look that's still laid back.

What would you wear to a job interview when a suit isn't appropriate?

Really great choices BB! I think these are also perfect options for super hot days when a black suit would make you sweaty and look disheveled. better to keep it cool, crisp, and classy!
#1 Liz (Homepage) on 2010-07-06 13:28 (Reply)
Terrific choices and like Liz mentioned, great warm weather options.

I will never forget an interview I had a few years ago. I went in a demin dress. Granted, the interview was spur of the moment.
#2 TexNYQueen on 2010-07-06 15:37 (Reply)
Very nice choices, and I think the first was my favorite.

It definitely depends on the type of job and employer. I didn't get too dressed up when interviewing for a serving position at a steak house! lol
#3 K (Homepage) on 2010-07-06 23:42 (Reply)
yeah, i went for an interview once in dress pants and a blazer with a camisole underneath and was worried i might be too casual. but when i got there all the employees were running around in spaghetti straps and jeans or slacks. anyway i felt totally overdressed and like a fool.
#4 jane (Homepage) on 2010-07-07 04:16 (Reply)
These are great options! Would work for dinner with the in-laws too :-)
#5 J on 2010-07-08 07:01 (Reply)
I love option 1! It's very pretty and totally work appropriate for most places I think unless you are in a very serious industry hehe.
#6 MizzJ (Homepage) on 2010-07-10 15:34 (Reply)
Leave a comment
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.
Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.
E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.