A Complete Guide to What Colors To Wear to an Interview
Updated May 24, 2023
When you're preparing for an in-person or video interview, it's important to choose your outfit carefully, including the colors you wear. Colors have meaning and convey emotion and you want to ensure you're sending the right message to the interviewer. Learning about the meaning behind colors can help you decide which colors are most appropriate for your upcoming interview.
In this article, we discuss which colors are best for interviews, how to choose what colors to wear to an interview and tips for making your outfit choice.
What colors to wear to an interview
The best colors to wear to an interview are ones that are neutral such as black, navy, gray and brown. White is also an appropriate neutral color for a shirt or blouse. Depending on your preference, you can also add a pop of color to an interview outfit to introduce your own personality. For example, you may choose a tie in an accent color or pair a light-color shirt under a black blazer.
How to choose colors for an interview
Here are some steps you can take to choose the right colors to wear for an interview:
1. Consider the color
Here are the meanings associated with some of the colors you may be considering for your interview attire:
According to color psychology, color represents leadership, sophistication and exclusivity. Wearing it may also help you feel more confident. Because this is a high-powered color, it's best reserved for high-powered interviews, such as those for top jobs or managerial positions. If you're pursuing entry-level positions or jobs in more relaxed environments, limit how much black you wear. This may include using it as an accent color, such as a tie, or pairing a pair of black pants with a shirt in another color.
This color exudes confidence and trust. Blue communicates that you're a team player. Many hiring managers name this as one of the best colors that candidates can wear to an interview. The brighter shades attract attention, while darker shades are good for conservative professional jobs.
The color communicates that you're independent, logical or analytical. When you wear it with confidence, it tells the hiring manager that you're an individual capable of thinking on your own. Gray also provides a solid foundation for adding small amounts of color, such as a jewel-toned tie, shoes or bag.
Wearing white or beige is a safe color. It can indicate to the hiring manager that you have excellent organizational skills and attention to detail. A clean white shirt can also be an excellent base to pair with accents in other colors to show your personality, such as colorful socks or accessories.
This is an earthy color that communicates reliability, dependability and solidity. It can also evoke a sense of calm in the interviewer. While brown serves as another good neutral color option, it's important to note this color may suggest that you're old-fashioned. It may be better to choose a different color if you're seeking a job in an innovative, fast-paced environment.
This color conveys passion and power, and it's a great color choice if you're trying to persuade someone. Based on color theory, many people associate red with energy, excitement and courage, but some associate it with hostility and defiance. Using red as an accent color, such as a pocket square or a scarf, may be a good way to incorporate this color while making a good impression on the hiring manager.
Yellow is a bright color that suggests you have a fun personality and evokes optimism. It may also show creativity, making it an acceptable choice if you're pursuing a job in a creative field. It's important to pick an appropriate shade of yellow, and it may be better to avoid this color for more conservative or traditional jobs.
Green is another color choice that shows you're fun and may be good accent color to use for creative fields. It's crucial to choose the right shade of green, especially since brighter shades of green may convey immaturity and a lack of experience. Instead, consider choosing rich shades of dark green to use as a statement in your outfit choice.
Purple also demonstrates that you have a fun personality. It may also signal that you're unique or artistic. This makes purple a good option as an accent color when you're dressing for an interview for a career in the creative field.
While orange is a bright, friendly color, it largely has negative connotations in professional settings. Many people associate it with being unprofessional or overly confident. If you want to brighten up your outfit, accents of red or blue may be better color choices.
2. Consider the mix
As you're deciding what color to wear, it's also important to consider what the color combination might be when you select multiple clothing items. For example, a dark suit with a brightly colored shirt can look highly professional. Wearing muted gray clothing with plain shoes and a red jacket may also look professional. If you want to wear bright colors, try to wear mostly neutral items with just one brightly colored accent item.
3. Consider your audience
Do your research to find out what attire is appropriate for the office. In general, for positions in management consulting, finance, investment banking or government, the recommendation is to wear a dark-colored suit. If the company's dress code is business casual, you might mix pants or a skirt with a blazer to create a professional, polished look. If you're unsure what the dress attire might be, consider asking the hiring manager if the dress code is business formal or business casual to help guide your decision.
Tips to consider when picking colors
Here are some tips to you decide what colors to wear to an interview:
Choose solids over patterns
It's important to select an interview outfit that allows the interviewer to focus on and remember your qualifications more than the outfit you wore. By wearing solids, you ensure that you look professional and that your clothing isn't a distraction. If you prefer to wear a pattern, it's best to choose one that is small, such as a simple pinstriped suit. The general rule is that if a pattern looks solid from across the room, it's appropriate for an interview.
Use a neutral color as the dominant color
While small amounts of color, such as red, can convey authority and be appropriate for leadership positions, aim to limit the amount of color. Use neutral colors, such as navy, black, gray or brown, as the main color of your outfit. Include bright colors as accents only.
Consider your confidence
While color is an important consideration, think about which items in your wardrobe give you the greatest amount of courage and conviction. The same applies to any special jewelry or good luck charms that you may wear or put in your pocket. Select an outfit that you feel comfortable wearing and that aligns well with the type of interview you're attending.
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