Should You Wear Jeans To An Interview?

Whether it’s a company you’re dying to work for, a steppingstone job that you need to get by, or a prestigious grad school that’s been your dream since you were a kid, interviews are nerve-wracking. And deciding what to wear is only half of the worry. While you’ve got enough to think about, it’s common to wonder if your favorite jeans will suffice. But, the question has yet to be answered. Should you wear jeans to an interview?

In short, no. You shouldn’t wear jeans to an interview if you can help it. Believe it or not, your interviewer will be eyeing you and your ensemble. The outfit you choose for your interview could make or break the whole deal.

On the contrary, jeans might seem like a solid choice if the company you’re interviewing for maintains a casual—or even a smart-casual—dress code.

But, erring on the side of caution is always the safest bet when it comes to dressing for the job you want.

To help you avoid unnecessary outfit blunders, we’ll cover everything you need to know about interview-appropriate attire, including whether or not you should wear jeans to an interview.

Basic Dos And Don’ts Of Interview Attire

You got your foot in the door with your stellar work experience. Now it’s time that you present yourself in a way that adequately reflects your best qualities. But, you also have a short amount of time to make a good impression. That’s where your outfit comes into play.

They weren’t kidding when they said, “dress to impress.” Your attire makes a considerable difference in the way others perceive you. And in an interview setting, your portrayal of yourself is the top priority.

Regardless, the first rule of dressing for an interview is always dressing at least one stride ahead of the company’s general dress code. Despite that, there are a few essential low-key interview ensemble agreements that you should consider before finalizing your outfit.

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Dressing For Corporate Interviews

If you’re heading into an interview with more of a traditional company, such as a job in finance or banking, it’s an unspoken rule that you should dress in formal attire.

As long as you’re not in a tuxedo or prom dress, it’s tough to be too formal when trying to impress the corporate industry.

For men, opting for a solid black or navy suit and tie is your safest bet. Keep things neat and professional with your hair, accessories, and always limit the cologne.

The range of corporate attire is much broader for women, but it falls along the same lines. A pantsuit or suit skirt with a coordinating blouse is always a classic base to begin with. Avoid too much makeup and keep the accessories to a minimum.

In either case, keeping your ensemble as conservative and polished as possible is a cautious and necessary way to go about a professional, corporate interview.

Dressing For More Casual Interviews

For more creative and leisure industries, like an advertising firm or tech startup, a step down from formal is typically acceptable. But you definitely shouldn’t whip out your flip-flops or cargo pants.

Even if the company environment is super casual, you should try to keep your attire business-casual to avoid any risk.

Men and women can both leave their suits in the closet, but it’s best to keep things appropriate for the office. It’s generally smart to avoid jeans, sandals, t-shirts, sneakers, and, of course, anything you’d wear to the gym. Ensure that you keep things stylish yet still professional; casual does not mean sloppy.

Is It Okay To Wear Jeans To An Interview?

While it’s generally your best bet to keep things on the spectrum between formal and business casual, jeans aren’t typically considered the most appropriate for interviews.

But, more and more companies are growing lenient with their dress codes in today’s society. So, why wouldn’t jeans be considered okay? Regardless of the job at hand, you still want to put your best foot forward when you’re walking into an interview.

Interviews are the one chance you have to show the company what you are hoping to offer them. You could be the absolute best candidate out of all of the rest. But, showing up to your interview in jeans can promote the idea that maybe the job isn’t significant enough to you.

Instead, your outfit should enable your future employer to think, “Wow, this person really cared enough to look nice.” In the end, you’ll win a solid number of brownie points by making an effort with your attire.

Not to mention, if the job will have you dealing with essential clients and large corporations, the way you dress now is a reflection of how you’ll show up to important meetings later.

Remember that you’re up against several other candidates for an important role, so consider what others would wear.

A potential employee who interviews in a dress or a suit will make a much better impression than someone in jeans and a t-shirt. You’ll want to let your personality speak for itself before allowing your pants to steal the spotlight.

Can You Ever Wear Jeans To An Interview?

Jeans can be appropriate in particular scenarios, but it’s often dependent on the job you applied to. It’s never a good idea to wear jeans to a formal interview, including the medical, law, finance, or any other technical field.

But, if you expect your interviewer to be wearing a t-shirt and jeans when they meet with you, jeans might not affect your chances of getting a job offer.

Luckily, in the modern and technology-based world, researching and getting to know your future company’s work culture is as simple as ever. It can ultimately help you navigate the type of attire acceptable for an interview.

If you do feel confident that your jeans will be appropriate after learning more about the company, it’s still necessary that you keep them on the professional side.

Never wear ripped or holey jeans to an interview, and it might help you avoid light-wash jeans as well. Opt for a clean, dark wash pair that is well-fitted. Dodge the contrasting threads and, of course, do not wear any denim that is embellished.

Keep things as polished as possible by dressing your jeans up with a sophisticated shirt or blouse, and add a blazer to keep things business. Nice, clean dress shoes are also beneficial.

Regardless, even when you choose jeans, it’s best to ensure that you dress professionally while also staying in-tone with the company’s culture.

What To Wear To An Interview Instead Of Jeans

If you’re not completely positive that jeans will be suitable, there are plenty of alternative options that can help you feel confident in your interview ensemble.

Chinos

For a casual job position, but not casual enough to favor jeans, chinos are the perfect alternative.

For men, khaki chinos are well-paired with a classy button-down and a sweater layered on top. Toss in a blazer, a clean pair of wingtips, and some coordinating socks, and you’ll fit the bill. Some tailored black, grey, or navy chinos are also a fitting choice for a business-casual vibe when worn alongside a dress shirt and a coordinating tie.

Women’s chinos are the perfect sophisticated option when worn alongside a dressy blouse and some matching shoes.

Slacks

Slacks will provide you with plenty of formal energy and can dress up an outfit enough to fit any dress code.

Men can wear a pair of well-fitted dress slacks with a clean dress shirt and toss on a coordinating tie.

For women, dress slacks can effortlessly take the place of a dress or skirt. Pair them with a classy turtleneck sweater or a nicely pressed button-up and some classic heels.

Dress Or Skirt

While a dress is well suited for a formal interview, women can also wear one in a casual scenario and merely dress it down.

Rather than a suit dress or a pencil skirt, opting for a flowy wrap dress or a patterned pencil skirt can provide the perfect level of relaxed energy to coincide with laid-back company culture.

Bottom Line

To sum things up, try your best to avoid jeans when heading to an important interview.

It’s essential to dress formally when interviewing for a conventional, conservative company that maintains a professional day-to-day dress code.

And, to play the game safe in more casual industries, shoot for a business-casual ensemble that will highlight your stylish personality while allowing your work ethic to do all the talking.

Even though your outfit is a crucial aspect of presenting yourself, it’s not likely to be the determinant, especially if you’re a good fit for the job. So, wear something that you feel comfortable in and let your confidence shine.

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