Career Guide: Can You Wear Jeans to an Interview?   

can you wear jeans to an interview

After working so hard to secure that job interview slot, it’s time to think about what to wear on that important day. Your dress code is very important when attending a job interview because it defines your personality as well as the kind of first impression you make when you walk into the interview room.

One of the common questions that people ask when preparing for a job interview is: Can you wear jeans to an interview? If you’re wondering the same, this article will give you all the answers you need.

Can You Wear Jeans to an Interview?


Apart from getting all the interview questions correct, there are many other nonverbal cues that make all the difference, including your handshake, eye contact, confidence, and wardrobe. You only have a few seconds to make the best impression. Your interview starts judging you the moment you walk through the door.

They’ll analyze you thoroughly before they even ask you to take a seat to determine your suitability for the job. Unfortunately, wearing a pair of jeans to a formal job interview doesn’t inspire confidence in the employer because it could be interpreted to mean that you don’t care much about getting the job. So, unless it’s clearly spelled out in the job description, drop that pair of jeans for something more formal and advanced.

If you’re not sure what to wear to the interview, you can ask the interviewer for clarification. Just give them a call a day or two before the interview to confirm the dress code. Alternatively, consult a professional career expert for advice on what to wear to the interview. They’re better placed to advise you on the best dress codes for different types of job interviews.

Sometimes the interviewer is courteous enough to let you know in their job description what they expect you to wear to the interview. This makes your work of choosing your attire easy. But in most cases, you have to figure it out yourself. In such instances, the best thing is to choose a formal dress code because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Are Jeans Unprofessional for an Interview?


Although formal, business attire is the standard dress code for job interviews, there are instances where jeans may be allowed.

For instance, if you’re interviewing for a casual job, you can wear business casual attire to the interview. However, don’t confuse business casual with casual wear because they’re two different attires.

Jeans aren’t generally unprofessional but they can make you appear too casual and unprofessional. Since you want to do your best to impress your employer and convince them to hire you, it’s always good to remain professional throughout the interviewing process. Even if the organization has a laid-back dress code, stay professional because you aren’t yet an employee.

If you must wear jeans to the interview, make sure they look presentable. Just because the company allows you to choose a laid-back dress code doesn’t give you the right to wear the tattered or ripped jeans that you normally wear to a “Rock and Roll” music concert. Such clothes will make you look like the indifferent type, which is not a good trait for a job seeker.

Also, make sure your jeans are thoroughly clean and matched with the right shirt or T-shirt. Don’t match them with your ratty old T-shirt or sweater. The idea here is to look as presentable and professional as possible.

Remember that the whole essence of going for a job interview is to prove to the employer that you’re the right person for the job.

So, wear clothes that are appropriate for the job. But it’s important to note that in this day and age professional attire doesn’t necessarily have to mean a suit and tie. It depends on the type of job you’re interviewing for. For example, if you want to become a laborer at a manufacturing plant, a pair of jeans could be part of the professional attire.

Apart from looking professional, you should also look the part. So, if you’re not interviewing for an executive-level position in the factory, a nice pair of jeans, a nice button-down shirt, and a jacket will do for you.

Many organizations are now moving away from the archaic mentality that a jobseeker must wear a suit and tie to an interview. After all, it’s not the attire that makes you more or less effective at your job.

Outfit Ideas for an Interview

Finding the right clothes to wear to a job interview can be a challenge because you have to pick something that will impress your interviewer, whom you probably haven’t met before.

That’s why you need to research widely on different interview dress code ideas. Here are some interview outfit ideas for men and women to help you make the right choice.

Interview Outfit Ideas for Men

1. A Button-Down Shirt with Dark Trousers


Image source: Pinterest

Your button-down shirt should have refined solid colors or prints and should be paired with dark or grey trousers. Add a corresponding tie to complete your professional look. For a casual job, choose a button-down shirt with bolder colors or prints. In a casual work environment, you don’t need a tie.

2. A Button-Down Shirt with a Sweater


Image source: Pinterest

If you’re looking for business casual attire, wear a button-down shirt with a sweater. The sweater can be either a cardigan or a pullover. For this look, go for neutral colors, such as black, brown, or grey.

3. Light-Colored Suit


Image source: Pinterest

A light-colored suit jacket with corresponding trousers will give you a professional look. However, the lighter colors make it somewhat casual. So, it’s the perfect outfit when you’re not sure what to wear to the interview.

4. Closed-Toed Shoes


Image source: Pinterest

Whether you’re interviewing for a casual or formal job, always wear closed-toe shoes to the interview.

Fortunately, there are several options to choose from, including Oxfords, loafers, and lace-up dress shoes. There are many colors to consider, including brown, black, dark tan, grey, etc.

5. Belts


Image source: Pinterest

Irrespective of the type of job you’re interviewing for, it’s always good to tuck in your shirt. To complete the outfit, you’ll need a corresponding belt. Choose a leather belt that matches the color of your shoes.

6. Socks


Image source: Pinterest

Although the interviewer may not ask you to lift your pants up to see the kind of socks you’re wearing, a nice pair of socks is an essential part of your interview outfit. Make sure your socks match the rest of your ensemble to give you a fully professional look.

Interview Outfit Ideas for Women

1. All-Black with a Statement Coat


Image source: Pinterest

An all-black outfit with a statement coat is a staple for many ladies, especially when they want to stand out from the crowd. However, don’t choose colors that are too loud. Instead, choose a simple color-pop statement coat.

You can even match the statement coat’s color with that of the company’s branding to make your image stick in your employer’s mind.

2. A Mini-Dress with Knee-High Boots


Image source: Pinterest

This outfit is an ideal choice when you want a fuss-free look that you can put together quickly. Match the mini-dress with knee-high boots to create a classic unfussy, clean yet stylish look.

3. A Stylish Look in Camel


Image source: Pinterest

If you want a simple yet sharp outfit, go for neutral color palettes, such as camel, cream, or beige. For instance, you can wear skinny-fit trousers, a V-neck knit, and a matching blazer.

4. A Jumper Dress with Riding Boots


Image source: Pinterest

You can still look fabulous on a cold day with this interview outfit. With a simple jumper dress, your winter woes are over. The color of your dress should match different skin tones and have a formal cut that qualifies it to be office wear. Pair it with a pair of classic flat-riding boots.

5. A Polished Suit

Polished Suit

Image source: Pinterest

A suit is perfect for both male and female jobseekers. It gives you a versatile look. Choose neutral colors like black or grey.

6. A Printed Dress

Printed Dress

Image source: Pinterest

Add a touch of your personality to your interview outfit without overshadowing its smart and professional look with a printed dress. Pair the dress with some white slingbacks and a reliable tote.

Tips for Dressing for Your Interview


Image source: Pinterest

As mentioned above, your interview outfit should help you to make the right first impression the moment you walk through the door. So, as you choose your dress code, keep in mind the fact that you’ll be judged on your appearance. Here are some tips to help you dress appropriately for the interview.

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Company’s Dress Code

The moment you receive a call or an email inviting you for an interview, one of the first things that you should learn about the company is its dress code.

If you know anyone who works at the company, ask them for ideas on what to wear to the interview. You can also reach out to the human resources department for advice.

2. Get a Power Outfit

In most modern companies, the official dress code is a suit and tie. So, make sure you invest in a nice “power outfit” for your interview.

3. Your Outfit Should Be Appropriate and Comfortable

Most people pay too much attention to their dresses and forget that even their shoes are part of the interview outfit. Your outfit won’t be complete without the right pair of shoes.

So, make sure that the clothes and shoes you wear to the interview are appropriate and comfortable. You won’t be able to concentrate on the interview if any element of your outfit is uncomfortable.

4. Try Out the Outfit In Advance

In most cases, you’ll end up buying new clothes and shoes for that special interview. So, it’s good to try them out in advance to make sure everything is appropriate and fits properly.

5. Choose the Right Accessories

Don’t over-accessorize when you’re going for a job interview. For men, a watch and a belt are enough. Women can wear earrings, necklaces, and rings, but they shouldn’t be too flashy or large.

6. Groom Yourself

You might need a haircut before you attend the interview. Also, trim your fingernails and wash them thoroughly. As a woman, do your hair and put on the right makeup. However, don’t overdo the makeup to avoid too much attention.

Dressing Mistakes to Avoid for Your Interview


Image source: Pinterest

They say that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. This shows the importance of choosing the right dress code for your job interview. When you are dressing for the interview, avoid these mistakes.

1. Dirty or Unkempt Nails

As you shake your employer’s hand, the first things they’ll notice about you are your fingernails. So, if the nails are dirty or unkempt, they’ll hurt your final result. As a man, your nails should be short, clean, and well-maintained. Women, on the other hand, should avoid overdoing their nails with wild and bizarre nail polish.

2. Inappropriate Clothes

Unless you’re interviewing for a fashion modeling job, avoid clothes that will make you look like you’re going to a fashion competition. Also, don’t dress like you are attending a music concert or a wild night out. Your dress code should match the job you’re applying for.

3. Shouting Colors

Wearing loud and shouting colors at a job interview can be annoying. They’ll make you look like a clown. Go for neutral and dense colors because they blend in well.

4. Extraneous Items

Only carry the most important items to your job interview. If necessary, carry your laptop, cellphone, and certificates. Things like food, drinks, headphones, and irrelevant books should be kept at home or in the car.

5. Flashy Jewelry

It’s okay to make a lasting impression on your employer, but flashy, dangling jewelry won’t cut it. So, keep that expensive bling at home.

6. Extremely Tight Clothes

Although those skinny jeans and tight dresses look good on you when you’re going out to party, they’re not suitable for a job interview. Some employers consider them inappropriate and unprofessional. They might also make you feel uncomfortable standing or sitting in front of your employer.

7. Excessive Perfume and Makeup

The type of cologne or makeup you wear says a lot about you. Smelling fresh is important because it shows good hygiene, but overdoing it might turn off your employer. Just because perfume smells nice to you doesn’t mean everybody else likes it.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.