Tip: the interview is about showing an employer how well you fit in. Once you have the job, you can show them how well you stand out.
No, seriously. It is. Some jobs may require you to be “artistic” and others may be looking for “out of the box” thinkers, but employers are all looking for you to fit the job description and ideal they’ve already created for themselves for who they plan to hire. For all jobs, this means dressing the part—and for most corporate jobs, this means nailing a variation on the interview outfit.
To this end, I submit the classic, neutral corporate interview outfit—ready for that first interview.
Now naturally some industries have a more prescribed uniform than others, but this number hits all the high points and reinforces the fact that you are no stranger to this part of the ritual of hiring. What makes it a can’t miss? Since it’s not a matchy-matchy suit, it looks less rehearsed (good for most industries, but not all) and you’ll be able to wear both the jacket and pants to work as separates once you land that job. Also, in the event you’re partway through your meeting and feeling way overdressed, you can slip off the jacket and dress things way down because—you’re wearing a tee (bonus points for comfort and, because you’re not wearing some fussy, sleeveless silk shell, you actually can take the jacket off!) The bag is large enough to hold a folder with copies of your resume without crushing it. And the understated watch, earrings, and shoes all quietly communicate that you pulled your look together in a calculated way.
Oh, and don’t forget to actually look at that watch—it’s not just for sending the subliminal message that you are a professional—it’s there to keep you on time!