DRESS FOR SUCCESS! What to Wear to an Interview

by Mary Olson-Menzel and Randall Chism

MVP’s President, Mary Olson-Menzel and Senior Executive Search Consultant, Randall Chism recently had the opportunity to sit down with well-known Fashion Expert, Shaye Strager, to discuss what to wear and what not to wear to an interview.

Whether the company is business attire, business casual or completely casual, the interviewee should always dress up for the interview. It’s important to create a positive first impression and always err on the conservative side in any interviewing situation.

“Confidence in how you’re dressed helps you make good decisions,” said Shaye. “For better or worse, what you wear and how you look will make an impression starting with that first handshake. Your interviewer will view you from head to toe before you even open your mouth.”

You should always do your research before going into an interview. You should know the company’s dress code and then dress up from that. What you show up in is a sign of respect for who you are meeting with.

“Wardrobe is all a part of your presentation to that company. How you look in a work environment reflects on your employer. Dress for the brand of the company you would be representing,” states Shaye.

MVP asked Shaye to provide some examples of appropriate business attire, and what the most important key points are when dressing up.

Outfit: You should dress for your body type. A pencil skirt is flattering to almost any body type. A pant suit can sometimes be unflattering and look boxy. A pencil skirt with a blouse and jacket looks sleek and professional. Having a pant suit or outfit that is too “matchy” can be boring. Also, it’s more fashionable to wear pieces that weren’t sold together.

Shoes: “Shoes are the anchor to your outfit”, says Shaye. Footwear is very important and should accent the rest of your outfit. Nothing is worse than not being able to focus on your interview questions because your feet hurt. A peep toe may be fine, but absolutely no open toed shoes. Heels are appropriate but the maximum height should be three inches. Platforms are popular now, but again, nothing over three inches.

Hair: It’s important for both men and women to NOT have hair in your face during an interview. It is very distracting if you have to keep brushing your hair out of your eyes or tucking it behind your ears. It’s drawing you away from being completely present for the interview. Hair should not be an issue. It should be attractive and flattering to your face shape.

Men: An overall rule for men is to have a jacket that fits you well. There is no excuse to not have a blazer, jacket or sports coat that doesn’t fit you. Whether you spend $60 or $1,000 you can always find a jacket and have it tailored to your body. It’s not how much you spend, but how it fits. A collared shirt with jacket and nice pants is completely acceptable. If you are going for a more casual look, you don’t need a tie. You can complete that casual look with a nice loafer shoe. Save the polished dress shoes for a suit. Always remember- NO pleats.


  • Make sure “fit trumps fashion”. It doesn’t matter if it’s from this season or not. It needs to fitappropriately and attractively.
  • Wear jackets. Jackets are important whether you’re male or female. It looks smart and clean.Don’ts:
  • Avoid ill fitted clothing. You don’t want to wear something that is too tight or too loose.
  • No open toed shoes, flip flops or high heels over three inches.Additional Tips:
  •  Jewelry should be minimal. Personal pieces are fine, but stay away from overtly fashionablepieces. Also, accessories that show religious preference should be avoided.
  • Bare legs are okay, but make sure you have optimal personal grooming and no ugly visiblebruises.Stay conservative, classic and clean and make sure you put your “best foot forward”!Shaye Strager is a respected stylist and on-air authority on fashion trends and has over 17 years’ experience in fine jewelry, fashion and accessories. For more information on Shaye Strager go to www.shayestrager.com.MVP Executive Search & Development is a full service recruitment and executive development firm. MVP specializes in a 360-degree approach to recruitment, leadership development and executive coaching.

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