What To Never Wear To A Job Interview Or Work

We all know how important it is to make a good first impression at a job interview. Even if you're well-qualified for the position and have an exceptional, flawless résumé, what happens during the job interview can sometimes be the deal breaker. Whether it's your level of professionalism or punctuality, sometimes the job interview alone can be the reason you don't get the job or a second interview.

There are several things to consider throughout the interview process, but in many cases, the first thing an employer notices about a candidate is their attire. It can tip the scale one way or another. In fact, 87% of employers claimed they chose not to hire certain interviewees because they were not dressed properly for the interview, according to Chron. Forty-nine percent said it greatly influenced the final hiring decision.

Although not all industries call for dark business suits and high heels, there are still some things you should never wear to an interview in any industry. If you already landed the job, you might have a little more wiggle room with your attire, but on the other hand, there are some things that are "no-nos" for the interview and work.

Dirty or stained clothing

If you were to walk into a conference room with a spot on your blouse, that spot can easily become the focal point for the person interviewing you. It can be distracting and memorable long after your interview — but in a bad way. Be sure to examine your interview outfit thoroughly to ensure it's clean and free of stains. If you're already employed, you should still check your clothing for dirt or stains, especially if you'll be involved in an in-person meeting or interacting with the public.

Loud or multi-colored outfits

TopInterview recommends not wearing orange, red, or multi-colors to a job interview, as they tend to be associated with a lack of professionalism. And like dirty or stained clothing, loud colors can be off-putting. Wearing orange, red, or multi-colors is more acceptable to wear to work than to an interview unless your employer has a dress code that calls for corporate attire every day.


Most people who are familiar with an office work environment know that flip flops should never be worn to a job interview for an office position, but even if you applied for a job that allows employees to wear them, such as lifeguarding, you still shouldn't wear them to the interview. However, once you get the job, you might be able to wear flip-flops, including in some office and retail settings. And if the job is lifeguarding or something else related to swimming or the beach, you'll definitely be able to wear them.

Ripped jeans

Ripped jeans were once a symbol of anger and rebellion. Today, they're a fashion statement, but they can still send the wrong message if worn to a job interview. Etiquette expert Devoreaux Walton told Monster that ripped jeans fall in the category of inappropriate interview attire because it can lead the employer to conclude that you don't take the job seriously. Is it okay to wear ripped jeans to work? In some cases, yes, depending on where you work, but if you want to look professional, wear pants without holes.

A hat

People wear hats for different reasons. Some wear them to be fashionable. Others wear them to hide a bad hair day. Regardless of the reason, we discourage wearing one as a job interviewee because it can be distracting and seen as too eccentric. On the other hand, there are many places of business where wearing a hat as an employee would be completely acceptable. Hats are also part of the dress code in many places of employment, including restaurants and labor jobs.

Too much perfume

You've probably smelled a perfume or two that you hated at one time or another, but sometimes the fragrances you hate might be someone else's favorite, and vice versa. Plus, certain perfumes can cause headaches for some people. They can also pose an allergic reaction risk. You certainly don't want to cause a headache or allergic reaction for the person interviewing you, so either skip the fragrance entirely for the interview or spray only a small amount. The same rules should apply to work, especially if you work in close proximity to your coworkers.

Gaudy jewelry

Strings of pearls, gold necklaces, and diamond earrings might look nice when they're lying in a treasure chest, but piled on one person at a job interview? Not so much. Wearing excessive or gaudy jewelry can be off-putting, especially if the jewelry makes noise every time you move. If you choose to wear earrings, opt for studs or small earrings. Keep the finger, wrist, and neck jewelry at a minimum as well. You should also avoid wearing gaudy or excessive jewelry to work for the same reasons.

Athletic wear

Many exercise garments made for women include compression features, like leggings, so they fit snugly. Many are also made to fit comfortably to accommodate the various movements your body makes during exercise. Although there are various dark-colored leggings available — some of which don't include compression features, like yoga pants — you still shouldn't wear them to a job interview. This attire can imply that you lack professionalism.

Athletic wear should also not be worn to work unless you work in a fitness-related setting or place that has a super casual dress code.

Revealing clothing

While it's natural to want to show off the parts of your body that you're proud of every once in a while, a job interview isn't the place to do it. Avoid wearing any low-cut blouses, see-through fabrics, or short skirts. Such attire can not only divert the interviewer's attention to your body instead of your words and overall presence during the interview. The same rules should apply when you're selecting your outfit for work.