job interview millennials

What To Wear To An Interview If You Are A Millennial

Why does it matter what you wear?  Really?  After all, Mark Zuckerberg turns up in a hoodie and jeans, and he’s on the Forbes list of richest people. WHY can’t you do that?


You are not being asked to speak to thousands, invest millions, or create a new startup — YET!

When you get there, you can wear hoodies too!  Maybe.

In the meantime, let’s get the answer to:  “What do I wear to an interview?”

First, it depends.  Where are you interviewing?  What kind of company?  I’ve broken it down into 4 categories.


First and foremost, take the time to investigate the company you are interviewing for.  You can check them out online, though often the photos are stock and not indicative of the style or dress of the employees.  If you have the names of any of the employees, you can check them out (appropriately) online and see if any of the photos are from work. Even better, perhaps you can call the company and ask what their policy on dress is.  A quick phone call to HR or the front desk person could give valuable insight.

WOMEN:   Comfort aside, now is the time to think about wearing a dress perhaps or a suit or at the very least a third-layer-piece like a blazer, shown here:

If you are wearing a dress, then a suit jacket is imperative.  You want to walk into the interview on the same (if not higher) playing field than your interviewer(s).  Too much skin, too much cleavage, too tight clothing can wait (forever in some corporate job fields).  This is an interview and you have a very short window of time to say “I mean business, I am serious about getting this job”. Err on the side of caution and wear a standard suit, but I do not recommend black.  Navies, maroons, medium to dark green in shades and hues that you love and that love you — meaning they complement your skin, hair and eyes. Black is a great color for your cocktail dress, but it’s heavy for an interview.  It sounds cliche, but it’s not.  The main focus should be on what you are saying, and not on your clothes. You want to wear styles that are authentic to you, and you can do that with color and accessories, by wearing basic styles and then layering with jewelry (not too much) that is part of your signature style — things you love like your lucky charm around your neck, or your rabbit’s foot in your pocket.

MEN: Wear a suit, trousers and a blazer, and quite possibly a tie. Really, if you are stepping into sales, a corporation, or an organization where you will be seen by the public or anything of the like, it’s important for the interviewer to see you as presentable to their clients.  Make sure your nails are clean and neat.  This does not necessitate a trip to the nail salon (unless you do that regularly), but clean, trimmed and clear polish for women and cut short for men is advised. Check your clothing for animal hair (try really good lighting for this and not your usual exit door to your house), your shoes for scuffs and fading, worn heels; details that matter to the interviewer who is looking to see if you pay attention to the all important bigger details in life.


Depending on your research (see above), you may need to follow some of the suggestions for dressing for Corporate.  If you know specifically that the company policy is “business casual” to “casual”, then I would consider trousers (these are pants that are not jeans) or a dark wash jean; a blouse (versus a t-shirt or crew-neck cotton shirt) for women and a button down shirt for men.  If you wear a blazer (of some sort — see below), you can always take it off as soon as you can assess the feel and appearance of the office and the interviewer. If the interviewer is wearing a t-shirt (crew-neck) and jeans with flip flops, then remove your jacket.

If they are wearing anything such as a button down shirt or blouse and blazer — keep yours on.  This is the interview, not the day to day job — yet!  You have more options here because tech jobs are generally a very casual environment.  Once you get hired, you will have many options of what to wear, but on this day think about close-toed shoes, simple pieces in color (not black) and accessories that match your personal style.  Once you can sit, stand and show them your technical skills in their environment, and you are comfortable — in your clothes, in your skin, in your body language — you are more likely to impress your audience, and have proved yourself. And, by dressing to meet the expectations of those you work for and with, you can create a more positive first (and lasting) impression about yourself AND your abilities.



Sometimes we take a job or get into a field only to find out that we are in the wrong job for our clothes.  This happens more when we finally figure out that a creative avenue is what we want to pursue.  In this genre of interviewing your personal style will be critiqued, so it’s uber important to show up with clothing and accessories that are internally and externally a part of you.

Unless you are interviewing for a legal job at a creative company or some type of marketing position, a typical suit is going to lose you the job. This is where a suit may be the wrong thing entirely and convey a stuffy, unimaginative presence. I would say a signature piece with character is a good choice and a conversational topic– something professional, appropriate, but unique, distinctive, not everyone has it– it shows the right kind of stylistic choice that helps the interviewer understand the taste level and interviewee’s eye for what is of quality in materials and design. Dare to be different, in a way that demonstrates you can find the treasure in aesthetics and craftsmanship.

Your creativity in choosing an outfit is first, followed by comfortability (can you set and stand and walk easily — no teetering on 5 inch heels down a long hallway), followed by you don’t have the job yet, so again, conserve some of the exploratory pieces for a slightly (ever so slightly) understated look.  A bit of unpredictability here is a good thing.


Yes it matters! Clean neat pants or jean with a button up shirt and steel-toe shoes, plus a belt would work.  If you know the company — through your research — has a specific uniform, it’s okay to mirror that in terms of colors and style choices. Just don’t wear the clothes you actually work in. Have a special interview outfit that does not go to the shop/garage/site/etc., unless you hear from a reliable source that’s what is preferred. And boots may be the right thing here, even if they are beaten up a little– those steel-toed boots may convey you know what you’re about and you’re ready, in a way that a more dressy shoe does not.

For women, simple trousers and a button up shirt works for you as well.  A dress or skirt would not be appropriate here, and once your research is complete, you will have a better idea of what to wear.  Chances are the atmosphere will be uniform or very casual, meaning that you can wear jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt or work shirt given to you by the company.


Know that you must be comfortable in your clothing.  I did not say casual — that is altogether different — but I did say comfortable. Comfort as in the clothing feels good on your skin, you can move easily, sit easily and be wearing nothing such as earrings, necklaces, cufflinks, belts or shoes that make a lot of noise.

For all interviews it’s good to show up as authentically as you can.  If you are a fashionista and often appear in pieces that allow you to stand out — do so for your interview, perhaps tamed a bit to conserve your ability to influence with your clothing.  For example:

In the business world, it is still taboo to appear with tattoos.  You will need to cover them; the same goes for brightly colored hair (at least let them get to know how colorful you are once you are hired).  We want to know you for your personality, but more so for what you can do for the company.  Let the interviewer hear YOU without being distracted by what you are wearing.  Let them sink into your words and not the open cleavage, ketchup stain on your tie, or threads hanging from your shirt.  Let them hire you!

Consider your bag. Not baggage, but a real life handbag or briefcase of some sort. Despite our digital world, the interviewer may, in fact, ask you for a piece of paper, and maybe even your resume that is printed on paper, or examples of your work.  Yes, Millennials, believe it. We know you love trees, we love that about you, but respect the medium that the interviewer asks for. Corporates may need a briefcase or polished, professional messenger bag or briefcase that looks like these:

Other Important Items to Remember

  • Refrain from wearing clothing that is soiled, dirty, stained, neglected.
  • Work to have some ease in the fabric so that the clothes are not pulling, stretching excessively or revealing body parts.
  • Sports and exercise wear is for the gym and, well, exercise. So unless you are interviewing at ESPN or your favorite water polo magazine, wear street clothes.
  • Avoid shirts, pants, hats or other jewelry with statements on them
  • Watch your body language, which is speaking long before you open your mouth. For powerful stances and before interview power postures, check out Amy Cuddy’s book.
  • Remember: Hair and makeup are accessories too.  Decide before the morning how you are going to wear your hair. As long as it’s not in your face or extremely distracting, wear it like you usually do.  Simple, controlled style works well for both hair and makeup.


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