An interviewee wearing the right colours and facing a board of interviewers

Whether you are a teenager, man, or woman, “what colour should I wear to an interview?” could be the trickiest part to figure out ahead of your interview day. If you have an upcoming job interview and you haven’t given much thought to your interview attire, it’s time you do it.

Not sure why?

It’s because how you dress and carry yourself will create the first real impression on your interviewers. Even if you have a virtual interview scheduled, choosing your interview attire carefully could be decisive in how your hiring manager perceives you.  Choosing the right colours for your interview clothes can also help showcase your professionalism, confidence, and ability to fit into an organization’s setting.

Putting some thought into the colours of your interview clothing is crucial because colours convey emotions and have meanings, and you would surely like to ensure you are sending your interviewer the right message. It pays to learn a little bit about the meanings behind various colours to decide which coloured interview attire will be the most appropriate for your imminent interview.

If you have been pulling your hair and are still undecided on what colours you should wear to an interview, this colour guide below could be your saviour. Ready to take a few notes to ace your upcoming interview? Here we go!

Know the Colours

Do you seek answers to questions like these?

  • What colour suit should I wear to an interview?
  • What colour tie should I wear to an interview?

If you have answered in the affirmative, knowing what different colours say could help you decide. As mentioned above, different colours trigger different human responses. Even the same colour could stir up diverse emotions in people. Whether you are conscious of such emotions or not, they get triggered nonetheless.

Though you can’t always predict how a person will react to a specific colour, you can definitely decide what colours to wear based on what’s usually acceptable. We present below a list of the common colours that are regarded by most as safe choices for job interviews, along with a little insight into the emotions they can induce.

1.      Black

This is an overwhelmingly popular colour for interview suits and dresses. However, this colour is an extremely commanding one that brings forth a lot of authority, leadership, strength, and even drama. If you are interviewing for a conservative company’s top-level management positions like C-suite executive positions, black is a good choice for your interview clothes and shoes.

However, if your target employer has a more laid-back office environment, black could be somewhat overwhelming. In such cases, you could use black as an accent colour (say, in a tie or scarf), which will give you a sense of supremacy without being overpowering.

2.      Blue

Experts overwhelmingly vote for this colour as the best choice for your interview attire. Many believe blue, especially navy blue, is an excellent colour to pick for interview outfits. Since various shades of blues convey feelings of trust, calm, and confidence, which are great qualities to possess as a potential employee, choosing blue to play a prominent part in your interview clothes is a wise idea.

Darker shades of blue (navy, for instance) put forth your confidence and authority, thus making it a great choice. Since blue is also the favourite colour of many, chances are your interviewer too could be a fan of it, which will make your sailing smooth.

3.      White

Be it a white-coloured shirt or blouse, wearing white in your job interview is always a good choice. The colour indicates that you are organised, honest, and hardworking with the purest of intentions. It also conveys your simplicity and a flair for minute details. If you are looking for a sure-shot winner when it comes to choosing colours for your interview attire, wearing white is a safe bet.

White clothes have been found to be pretty effective in impressing hiring managers and are even easy on the eyes, which again works in your favour. You could accessorise your white-coloured interview clothes with colourful shoes, ties, scarves, etc. to add a pop of colour and personality. Don’t go overboard though! And if you tend to sweat or plan to use public transport for your commute to the interview location, light colours like white that show sweat and creases may not be that good a choice. 

4.      Gray

This is another neutral colour on the list that scores due to its excellent acceptance among interview outfits. It reminds of neutrality and sophistication. For your job interview, wearing a gray-coloured suit or dress will be a good choice. Wearing this colour makes you look analytical, powerful, and independent, but not as domineering as with black interview attire.

Hiring managers typically consider candidates wearing grays as individuals capable of thinking on their own. Gray also gives you the ideal basis for adding a bit of colour to your interview personality, say a jewel-toned bag, shoes, tie, or tie pin.

5.      Brown

This earthly and neutral colour evokes feelings of calm. Wearing interview clothes in brown can make you come off as someone who’s reliable and comforting, which makes this colour a good bet. However, there’s a catch.

If you are interviewing for a fast-paced industry that thrives on innovation and go-getters, wearing brown in your interview could indicate you are staid and passive, thus jeopardising your chances of bagging the job.

Colours You Should Avoid Wearing for Job Interviews

Interview clothes in red, orange, and those with multiple colours and patterns are best avoided. Though a pop of red in the form of a tie or scarf is acceptable, a red-coloured shirt or blouse isn’t. That’s because this bright and powerful colour stands for energy and passion, and could be pretty distracting for your interviewers.

Since orange is usually associated with someone who’s unprofessional, this colour too is best avoided, though for positions that require creativity, it could be a choice worth considering as orange is also associated with people who are more creative than their peers.

Bold, wacky, and colourful patterns could be fun to wear but they can be distracting too. As a result, wearing such interview attire make it hard for your interviewers to focus on your qualifications and skills, which could be detrimental to your career dreams.

When selecting clothes for your interview, it pays to choose solids over patterns and neutrals over bright colours. It will be wise to avoid multi-coloured clothes as well. You could wear clothes with small patterns, say thin pinstripes, but make sure they are small enough to appear as solid colours from across a room to help you create a favourable first impression.

Final Words

In a job interview, what truly matters are your skills and experience, and how you field the interviewer’s questions. Yet, in a highly competitive job market where employers need to decide between several qualified candidates, wearing the right outfit with the right colours could help you stand apart from the crowd and give you that tiny edge, which you can capitalise upon during the interview process.

Go ahead and plan your interview attire using the colour choices mentioned above to improve your chances of landing the job. You could, of course, thank us later!

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