Figuring out what to wear to an interview is tricky business. Looking your best is important for obvious reasons, but so is feeling good. Finding the balance between the two can often be tricky which is why we reached out to a handful of insanely successful women to pick their brains on the matter.
Each woman you'll hear from ahead has achieved success in the workplace in one way or another, whether that be working her way up or starting the company of her dreams. Here, you'll learn about the interview outfits these powerful ladies wore to land the job, what they look for in a standout interview outfit, and much more.
Go on to read all about interview attire from a handful of some of the most successful women in the industry.
"The ideal interview outfit should be comfortable, current, and memorable. It's crucial to feel like yourself in an interview, so make sure it's personal as well."
"For my interviews at Net-a-Porter, I opted for an Erdem print layered under a classic trench. The silhouette and style of both pieces were sophisticated and relatively classic. However, the print and combination of the two were unexpected and showed my style. My advice is to go for classics with a twist, being too formal shows no personality, and you need to be remembered (but for the right reasons). Polished accessories are a must, even if you feel it's appropriate to add a relaxed edge to your outfit, such as a tee under a blazer, the footwear and bag must be on point."
"Keep it simple. There's nothing worse than someone who looks like they are trying too hard. Wearing too much makeup or being too dressed up is not the move. I tend to go semi-monochromatic for important meetings or interviews. I don't like to wear one piece that makes too much of statement but rather a total look that's impactful, powerful, and clean. I recently wore our Novak pants in navy with our Lilou in ivory, and paired them with a navy blazer buttoned at the bottom so no midriff was exposed. I felt very confident, sophisticated, but most importantly it felt like me. It showed my personal style without being too loud."
"My best personal outfit experience as an interviewee was both positive and negative. I chose a long-sleeve, army-green silk Balenciaga dress that my best friend gave me—understated and perfectly chic, but far too feminine for my style. Against everyone's advice, I ditched their choice of heels for my signature biker boots and belted the dress with a large leather belt. It was more me. The positive was I got the job and the interviewer walked me out acknowledging my boots as 'already being in the uniform for this office environment.' Being comfortable and presenting who you really are is key to making you feel confident and giving insight into the real you. However, the other lesson learned was silk is always a bad idea in an interview scenario. When you are nervous, you heat up, and silk only makes it worse, so avoid it at all costs!
"I would stay away from anything too fussy which looks try-hard. This can often be distracting. Clean, crisp clothes that fit well and look like you have made an effort, without making a statement, is always the best start. You can never go wrong with a good white shirt, which you can personalize with subtle jewelry. If something is your signature piece and always makes you feel at ease, try incorporating that in the look too, if appropriate. A more fitted silhouette can often look more professional than something oversize."
"A statement top with an understated pair of great-fitting trousers."
"A smart trouser with a twist, played down with a simple shirt or top."
"I go for comfort and subtlety over too obvious a statement with shoes."
"A jumpsuit is a great option, as you instantly feel put-together and can layer over a jacket to show your personality a bit more. Go for a tailored look rather than body-con or too evening."
"It is always good to consider where you are interviewing when dressing for the interview. I have to say that I really appreciate it when people who interview at Clare V. come in wearing a CV bag, and I feel like they have the CV vibe with the rest of their outfit. This tells me that they understand the brand and could potentially be stellar team members."
"There are so many great outfits you could successfully wear to an interview. I think most importantly you have to be comfortable. It's also really important to consider the culture and vibe of the company to which you are applying. Once you've got that figured out, make sure you look put-together. Yes, I mean you need to break out the iron. If you were interviewing at Ban.do, I would say dressier than jeans and a T-shirt and less formal than a business suit. I, for one, have interviewed in both of those outfits to varying levels of success. When I interviewed with the couple who eventually bought Ban.do, I wanted to show that I had a strong aesthetic and personal style, so I wore a vintage floral dress, statement earrings, and cute but comfortable shoes—because I didn't want to fall down and break my neck."
"So many women feel pressure in the corporate world to eschew feminine looks for run-of-the-mill pencil skirts and other lifeless pieces. While we're lucky to have free license with our wardrobes as co-founders of Margaux, we encourage others to embrace color and focus on fit: Color exudes confidence, while tailored, well-fitting clothing will make you look (and most importantly, feel!) your best.
"When I was aiming for an interview at a management consulting firm, I wore a sharp black blazer over a subtly printed dress, finishing the look with a thin belt that cinched the blazer and gave it a feminine flair. I felt like I could nail any interview in that look—and it must have shown: I received an offer from the firm 15 minutes after I left the building!" — Sarah Pierson
"In my last interview (for a summer internship in growth equity), I gravitated toward clean lines and modern silhouettes in an effort to put together something that felt feminine and fresh. I chose a beautifully tailored light-gray dress and paired it with a smartly cropped blazer, a killer pair of black pumps, and my favorite (lucky) single-strap watch." — Alexa Buckley
"It's all about being comfortable and being yourself. You also have to keep the role in mind. If it's a fashion-centric job, it might make sense to flex your fashion muscle. If it's a more corporate field or medical, I would be a bit more formal. We are a small startup, so all of our employees have their own unique style. However, key tips that I think are universal—no stains, no wrinkles, nothing sheer. I remember we were closing a big deal with one of our key partners, and I had to meet with a few CEOs, so I opted for jeans, a good blazer, a heel, and I made sure my nails were done. It's about feeling the most confident. And that outfit is classic, easy, and feels formal enough for any meeting, but it's truly about what makes you feel confident."
"My first-ever interview was with Marc Jacobs when I was 23 years old for a junior designer position at Louis Vuitton. I remember wearing a marine turtleneck sweater, old jeans, and black Chloé knee-high flat boots. I immediately felt underdressed entering the LV studio. I thought that I had made a big mistake, but then I had a lovely, really casual interview with Marc where I showed him my sketchbooks, collages, etc., and I felt much better afterward. I think the thing that got me the job was my shoe size, which is a perfect sample size 37!
"For my second interview eight years later with Nathalie Marrec, the studio director at the time at Balenciaga, I looked much more professional wearing a vintage Valentino petrol silk shirt, high-waisted Chloé gray wool skirt, and high-heeled patent LV ankle boots.
"The perfect interview outfit really depends on the job. I would say to wear something that shows your personality and style at its best—don't pretend to be someone who you are not. Wear something that you would normally wear. Otherwise, you would need a whole new wardrobe if you get the job!"
"I feel like in this day and age, you really have to understand the company's culture and dress the part. I'd go with an A.L.C. blazer, Frame/Good American denim, and a Tony Bianco bootie."