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Finding the right outfit for the job interview: What goes down well


Clothes make the man: even the outfit you wear for an interview can be an important step on the career ladder. These tips will help you make a positive first impression.

Clothes make the man: even the outfit you wear for an interview can be an important step on the career ladder.

These tips will help you make a positive first impression.

Stuttgart - After countless letters of application, first e-mails and phone calls, you've finally made it: you're invited to an interview.

The nervousness increases with each passing day that the interview draws nearer.

You find out about the company, deal intensively with the advertised position and prepare yourself for possible questions from HR.

And then it comes to you: what should you wear to an interview?

As in so many situations in life, it is the first impression that counts.

After all, you don't just want to stick in the HR manager's memory with an unusual application, you also want to convince them personally and visually.


The right outfit for the interview can contribute to success.

© IMAGO/Bartek Szewczyk

There is at least a little bit of truth in the statement “Clothes make the man”.

Accordingly, the clothes you wear in an interview can decide whether you are suitable for the job and have a career – or not.

The choice is not that easy: rather casual, or do you prefer a blouse or a suit?

With these tips, you can't go wrong when choosing clothes for a job interview.

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What you should pay attention to when choosing the right outfit for the job interview

A positive first impression is by no means a guarantee that you will ultimately get the job, but it can have a major impact on it.

A certain attire for an interview also shows competence and professionalism.

And suggests that you make an effort and really want the job.

Depending on your job and position, you may well represent the company to the outside world.

Accordingly, you should think about which outfit you will wear before the interview.

Basically, you should adhere to the following points when applying for an outfit:

  • clean and ironed clothes

  • neutral and subtle colors

  • no patterns

  • neat appearance

  • simple accessories

Very important: The clothes can be well chosen, but if the appearance doesn't fit, even a good outfit doesn't help much.

Hair and beard should be well-groomed, fingernails and shoes should be clean, and clothes should be ironed.

If you then ask the right questions, you can score points with HR managers.

Dress code for men: Application outfit for men

Of course, the choice of clothes also depends on which job, which position and in which industry you are applying.

When it comes to choosing clothes for a job interview, men can hardly go wrong with a shirt.

However, it should ideally be monochromatic and in subtle colors.

The colors dark blue, grey, black and white are the best choices here.

Striking colors and patterns are too distracting.

Shirt and shirt collar should be carefully ironed.

Also important: Short sleeves are an absolute no-go for job interviews – even in midsummer.


You can't go wrong with a suit and shirt at an interview.



When choosing pants, the most important thing to consider is the fit.

It should be neither too long nor too short.

It sits perfectly when it reaches down to the shoe and forms a slight crease at the front.

Anyone who wears a jacket should also pay attention to the right size.

Many men prefer to buy their jackets one size larger for the sake of comfort.

Important: The length of the sleeves should be such that the shirt cuff is no more than two centimeters longer than the jacket sleeve.

Suit and Co. are not exactly cheap, but it is worth buying.

In certain jobs you have the wherewithal for this.

Annual salaries of more than 50,000 euros are possible in these five sectors in Germany.

Many also choose a plain T-shirt or a thin sweater under the jacket for an interview.

This is also possible if it is appropriate for the industry.

Checks, stripes and bright colors should be avoided here, as with shirts.

Also on prints or designs.

Application outfit tips for men:

  • Cloth trousers and a shirt always work

  • muted colors such as grey, black, anthracite, beige or white

  • If you have a tie: match the color of the rest of your outfit, no flashy colors or patterns

  • decent shoes

The shoes should also be decent and well-groomed.

You can't go wrong with leather shoes.

Ties are not a must for job interviews.

However, it also depends on the advertised position and industry.

The higher the job advertised, the more likely it is that a tie should be worn.

The same applies to ties: one color is better and more elegant, subtle patterns are fine here, but the colors must be reflected in the shirt or suit or jacket.

Another tip for gentlemen: a briefcase or document folder is a sign of care and organization.

The more organized you appear at the job interview, the better it goes down with HR managers, recruiters or future bosses.

Dress code for women: The right job application outfit for women

Women have a far greater choice than men when it comes to the right outfit for the job interview.

In addition to trousers and skirts, dresses are also fine.

Important for everyone: Never skimp on the fabric.

Dresses and skirts should never be too short and should end at least a hand’s breadth above the knee.

Outfits that are too daring look unprofessional.

Therefore, the neckline of the top or dress should also be appropriate.

Similar to the application outfits for men, the colors for the women should also be kept simple.

Soft colors and no patterns are best.


When it comes to the application outfit, women have more choice.

However, this can also result in more things going wrong.

© IMAGO/Bartek Szewczyk

When it comes to shoes, you don’t necessarily have to choose heels.

If you find it difficult to walk in high heels, you can also wear ballerinas or elegant lace-up or low shoes.

As with other items of clothing, the choice of shoes depends entirely on the respective industry and job.

If you want it to be a little more chic: the heels should not be higher than six centimeters.

Application outfit tips for women:

  • Classic colors such as grey, dark blue, black, anthracite, beige or brown

  • Skirts or dresses not too short

  • no deep neckline

  • Jewelery only in moderation and discreetly

  • subtle makeup

  • clean shoes that are not too high

For most women, the outfit also includes the right jewelry and accessories.

Here, too, restraint is the top priority.

A small necklace, subtle earrings or a watch are all you need.

They distract too much from the conversation.

Discreet parts should also be used here.

Plain colors are also the better choice for make-up or nail polish.

casual or business?

This is how you make the right choice for the application outfit

If you follow all these rules, you still have to decide whether you want to come to the conversation more casually or in a business look.

Ultimately, it depends a lot on the industry and the company you are applying for.

For creative industries, for example, casual outfits such as a shirt and jacket combined with jeans and sneakers are perfectly fine.

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Still unsure which outfit is the right one?

Here's a tip: It's easier to choose the right outfit if you find out in advance what the dress code in the company looks like and whether there is one.

You can ask the contact person directly, or you can find out more about the clothing habits of other employees via the company's website or its social media presence.

However, this becomes difficult in lonely jobs where you have almost no human contact.

When in doubt, it is better to go to the interview a little "overdressed".

This shows interest and effort in getting the job.

If you value having fun at work, these five professions are just the thing for you.

The most important thing at the end: When choosing the right application outfit, you should not leave your own comfort zone.

After all, such an interview is nerve-wracking enough.

Of course, in order to convince HR and Co. and to be able to concentrate fully on the conversation, you have to feel comfortable in your own skin.

As with the job itself, the motto is: listen to your own intuition and gut feeling.

List of rubrics: © IMAGO/Bartek Szewczyk

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-03-21

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