Not sure what to wear for your big interview? That's understandable. In today's working world, you can find a million dress-code designations varying from hipster chic to professional casual to full on business formal. With that said, it's nearly impossible to be overdressed for an interview. The fact is, appearances do matter, and clothing plays a big part in that. You can go out and get a nice haircut, study up on the company and practice answering interview questions with a friend,  but if you show up in a dirty T-shirt and ripped jeans those efforts won't make a difference. Remember, it's always better to air on the side of conservatism. That is to say, focus on dressing professionally. Even if you know the company you are interviewing with has a business-casual dress code, wearing a suit won't hurt your chances. 

Of course, it's easy to point fingers at professionals that break the standard dress code. For example, the tech world is notorious for having executives that wear hoodies and jeans in the boardroom. Yes, it is true that many businesses are shifting toward a more relaxed style of attire, but how you are expected to dress day-to-day once you've gotten the job is irrelevant to how you dress for an interview. While high school and college settings encourage freedom of expression, an idea that is often emphasized through choices in apparel, there are simple rules when it comes to dressing for an interview. Essentially, employers will initially associate your ability to succeed professionally with your ability to look professional. Here are some tips for dressing appropriately for an interview:

For Women

  • Wear a conservative suit. 
  • Wear tan or light hosiery without runs.
  • Don't show off too much skin. This means you should be aware of the length and tightness of skirts. Make sure to avoid too much cleavage as well. A good basic rule is if it's something you would wear out on a Friday night, it's probably not appropriate interview attire.
  • Apply makeup conservatively. Too much makeup looks unprofessional. Also be conservative with perfume.
  • Do not bring a standard purse. Find a professional briefcase or portfolio to carry a couple copies of your resume, along with scrap paper and a pen to take notes.
  • Keep your hairstyles professional. 
  • Avoid super high heels. Wear conservative, well-kept shoes that aren't scuffed or worn down. 
  • Don't overdo it on the jewelry, especially piercings. 
  • Have a friend or family member approve your choice in dress before going to the interview. 

For Men

  • Wear a conservative, well-tailored suit.
  • Wear a white, long-sleeved shirt.
  • Get a haircut. Short hair provides a timeless professional appearance.
  • Shave before the interview. While facial hair is becoming more common in the workplace, it will likely turn off many employers, even if it is well groomed. Though some men are partial to mustaches and beards, it is best practice to be clean shaven when interviewing. If you simply refuse to let it go, make sure your facial hair is trimmed and groomed.
  • Wear a basic tie. Plain colored or simply patterned is advised. Stripped ties are an acceptable pattern option. 
  • Do not wear visible piercings or jewelry. 
  • Wear professional shoes and dark dress socks. 
  • Don't overdo the aftershave or cologne.
  • Bring a portfolio or briefcase with a couple copies of your up-to-date resume, as well as scrap paper and a pen for notes.

‚ÄčOf course, despite all of this advice, it's also important to research office culture. Learn about a company's dress code policy by researching its website. Be adaptable. If you show up to an interview in a suit, and the hiring manager is wearing a T-shirt and shorts, taking off your jacket might make you appear more relaxed while still exhibiting the fact that you came ready to go. Dress appropriately, prepare properly and demonstrate professionalism.