As a teenager seeking employment, it's essential to dress appropriately for your job interview. Dressing professionally can help you make a positive first impression and can show prospective employers you're responsible. Learning more about what to wear can help you feel confident and prepared for your first interview. In this article, we explore why wearing the right outfit matters, explain what to wear to an interview as a teenager, and provide dressing tips to help you select an outfit for your next interview.
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Why is it important to wear a proper outfit for an interview?
Your outfit can help show employers you're prepared for an interview, which can reflect your professionalism and maturity. When you walk in looking professional, neat, and sharp, it can help you make a good first impression on the hiring manager, and it can show them how you could fit into their work environment. Dressing appropriately can also help you feel confident during the interview, which may help you succeed. When you feel confident, you can focus more on your interview answers and conversation.
What to wear to an interview as a teenager
As a teenager, you can choose from a variety of professional outfits for your first interview. Here are some popular choices for you to consider:
Button-down shirt with dark pants
A button-down shirt and dark pants is a popular outfit choice for many business settings. For your shirt, you may select a variety of different colours depending on the company and your personal style. If the company is more conservative or formal, consider selecting a neutral colour, such as white or black. You can also wear a soft or muted colour, such as a pale blue or olive green. For pants, you can wear dress slacks in a dark shade of black, navy, or grey.
You may wear this outfit for a work environment like an office, school, or formal organization. This outfit is also a good choice for other roles, such as those in retail, if you want to look more professional. You could pair this look with boots or dress shoes, depending on your personal style.
A mid-length dress
A dress is another popular outfit choice with a lot of different style options you can choose from. For business attire, dresses should be mid-length, which means around knee-length. Look for dresses in neutral or plain colours. You may also choose a dress with a subtle pattern. Depending on the season, you may pair a dress with a blazer, sweater, or tights. For shoes, you can wear loafers, low-heeled wedges, or flats.
A polo with pants or khakis
Depending on the season, a polo with dress pants or khakis can be another great choice. If you're applying for a summer job or a role in a warm area, you might choose this outfit. You can wear a polo in a variety of different colours, but it's best to choose muted colours to minimize distractions. You may also wear a simple pattern like stripes. To maintain a professional appearance, consider tucking your shirt into your pants and wearing a belt. For shoes, you can wear a pair of dress shoes or loafers.
Blouse or dress shirt paired with pants or skirt
You can also wear a blouse or dress shirt with pants or a skirt. For a blouse, try to select a soft colour or simple pattern, such as stripes. For pants, choose slacks or khakis. If you want to pair a blouse with a skirt, look for a mid-length skirt, at or right above the knee.
You can customize this look by adding a blazer, cardigan, and simple accessories, like a belt or necklace. When selecting accessories, try to compliment the outfit by selecting colours that match nicely. You can finish this look with a pair of plain flats or dress shoes.
Dress shirt and dark jeans
Depending on the job you're applying for, you may be able to wear a nice pair of jeans. This is a common choice in more casual industries that involve outdoor work, such as a recreation camp or landscaping company. When selecting jeans, choose a dark pair without rips, studs, or frays to help maintain a neat appearance. For a top, you can wear a dress, shirt, blouse, polo, or button-down.
You may decide to tuck your shirt in, but this is usually optional if you're wearing jeans. You can match this look with loafers, boots, or dress flats.
Dressing tips for teenagers going for an interview
Here are some tips to consider when dressing for an interview as a teenager:
Pay attention to detail
When preparing an outfit, consider the minor details and how they might appear to a prospective employer. Try to make sure your clothes are ironed, clean, and free of frays or rips. This can help you look professional and prepared. Consider polishing your shoes or checking for any markings. Depending on the employer, you may decide to cover your tattoos or piercings, although this is optional in some companies. Also, consider your hair, nails, and make-up. Try to keep your general appearance neat and professional.
Research the organization's dress code
When preparing, consider researching the organization's dress code. Companies may have different dressing policies, such as business casual or business formal. Some employers provide this information on their company website, or the hiring manager might tell you this information when scheduling your interview. You may also ask the manager or recruiter for more details.
You can also conduct your own research by reviewing the company's social media and web pages to find pictures of team members. This can help give you ideas about the dress code, but keep in mind what professionals wear on a typical workday might be different than an interview. For example, if a company has a casual dress code, employees might wear jeans and T-shirts, but it's best to dress more professionally during your interview because it is a more formal event than a typical day.
Select moderate choices
It's best to be on the conservative side when you're dressing for an interview. Try to blend in with others by choosing more neutral colours and choices. As you get to know your team members and employer, you might be able to add more pieces to show your individual style, but during an interview, it's usually best to select more moderate pieces.
Choose an outfit you feel confident and comfortable in
While it's important to look professional and neat, it's also essential that you feel confident in your outfit. Consider trying your outfit on ahead of time and practice wearing it for a while to ensure you can move comfortably in it. You may want to practice walking and sitting in the outfit so you feel prepared for your interview day.
Related: Interview Preparation Tips
FAQ about dressing for an interview as a teenager
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about dressing for an interview to help you find the best outfit for you:
What should I wear for shoes?
Teenagers can choose from a variety of shoes depending on their outfit choice, season, geographic location, and the role they're applying for. Popular choices include:
- Dress shoes
- Low-heeled shoes
- Closed-toe wedges
Typically, to create a professional look, it's best to avoid sneakers or open-toed options. If you decide to wear heels, try to choose a pair with a low heel under eight centimetres.
Should I wear a tie?
If you're interviewing in an office setting, it is appropriate to wear a tie with a collared shirt or button-down. If you decide to wear a tie, try to find a simple tie that compliments the shirt you select. For example, if you're wearing a white shirt with blue stripes and navy blue pants, then a dark blue solid tie would go well with it. When wearing a striped shirt, consider choosing a solid tie in one colour.
What can I wear for accessories?
Accessories can be a great way to bring some of your personal style into your interview outfit while maintaining your professionalism. When selecting accessories, try to select simple options. You might consider adding the following items, depending on your preferences:
- A simple watch
- Earrings, such as studs or small hoops
- A bracelet or necklace in a single colour
- A belt