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What colors to avoid for an interview?

What colors to avoid for an interview?

Choosing the right outfit for a job interview is crucial. While qualifications and experience are most important, your appearance and presentation can also influence the interviewer’s impression. What colors you wear to an interview sends a message, so you’ll want to avoid certain colors that may convey the wrong image. Let’s take a look at what interview colors to steer clear of and which ones to embrace.

Colors to Avoid for Interviews

Here are the top colors to avoid wearing to a job interview:

Bright Neon Colors

Steer clear of bright neon colors like fluorescent oranges, yellows, greens, and pinks. These loud colors are distracting and can make you appear unprofessional. Stick to traditional, muted tones that will keep the focus on your skills and qualifications. Neon colors come across as immature.


Purple is a color often associated with creativity. However, for an interview you’ll want to avoid purple clothing because it can give the impression you’re eccentric or unconventional. Stick to neutral colors instead.


Brown clothing, shoes or accessories can make you fade into the background. Since you want to stand out for the right reasons, avoid wearing all brown. It can give the impression you’re dull or lack imagination.


A bright red suit or dress is too bold for an interview and draws the wrong kind of attention. Red clothing can also signify aggression, which is obviously counterproductive.

Color Negative Perceptions
Neon colors Immature, distracting
Purple Eccentric, unconventional
Brown Dull, lacks imagination
Bright red Aggressive, bold

Light Pink

Avoid light pink clothing or accessories, as the color can imply femininity and come across as unprofessional. Stick to dark neutrals like navy, black, dark gray, etc. Light pink gives the impression you may be overly feminine for the job.


Bright orange clothes and accessories can be distracting and are too casual for interviews. Orange expresses extroversion and creativity, which are not the traits you want to emphasize in your appearance. Muted neutral colors are ideal.

Best Interview Colors

Now that we’ve covered colors to avoid, here are the best color choices to consider wearing to an interview:

Navy Blue

Navy blue is a classic, professional color that inspires trust and confidence. It also represents intelligence and responsibility, making it an ideal choice for an interview. Both men and women cannot go wrong wearing navy blue.


A gray suit is highly professional and gives off the impression you are trustworthy and reliable. Different shades of gray also work for interviews, as gray is practical neutral hue. Just avoid wearing all gray, which can appear dull.


A black suit, shoes or accessories is elegant and sophisticated. Black commands respect and exudes authority, making it an exceptional interview color. Just be sure the rest of your outfit has some contrast so you don’t look too somber.


A crisp white shirt or blouse projects professionalism and competence. White represents cleanliness and purity, commanding respect. Just avoid wearing all white, which can appear too stark.

Color Positive Perceptions
Navy blue Trustworthy, confident, intelligent
Gray Professional, reliable, practical
Black Authority, elegance, sophistication
White Professional, competence, cleanliness


Tan or beige are great neutral colors that demonstrate professionalism and seriousness. Tan represents practicality and flexibility as well, perfect for an interview. Just avoid wearing head to toe tan.

Tips for Men

Here are some additional tips for men on selecting interview attire:


Wear a two-piece matched suit in a dark neutral color like navy, black, charcoal gray, etc. Avoid loud patterns and anything too trendy. A conservative suit shows you are serious.


Stick to a long sleeve white or light blue shirt. Button down collars are professional. Avoid shirts with bright colors or bold patterns.


Choose a quality silk tie in a solid color or simple pattern. Make sure it complements your suit. The tie should fall to your belt line.


Wear clean, polished dress shoes that match your belt. Avoid casual shoes like sneakers or sandals. Loafers or oxfords are safe, professional choices.

Tips for Women

Here are some tips for women to ace their interview attire:


A two-piece matching pantsuit or skirt suit is ideal, in colors like navy, black, gray, etc. Skirts should fall just below the knee. Avoid loud patterns or fabrics.


Wear a conservative blouse or shell top in white, beige, light blue or gray. Avoid low cut tops or bold patterns. Silk blouses project professionalism.


Select closed toe pumps with a low or mid-size heel. Make sure shoes are in excellent condition – no scuffs or worn heels. Avoid sandals, platforms, or stilettos.

Jewelry & Makeup

Keep jewelry simple – stick to small earrings, a watch, and minimal accessories. Makeup should be natural and understated. Avoid bold lips, heavy eye makeup, or messy hair.

Examples of Professional Interview Outfits

Here are examples of polished interview attire:

– Navy suit, white button down shirt, gray tie, black Oxford shoes
– Charcoal gray suit, light blue shirt, navy tie, brown loafers
– Black suit, white shirt, red tie, black dress shoes

– Black pantsuit, silk cream blouse, black pumps
– Navy skirt suit, white shell top, tan heels
– Gray dress, beige blazer, nude heels


Avoiding distracting colors like neons, purple, brown and bright red will ensure you convey professionalism with your interview attire. Stick to timeless classics in navy, black, gray, white and tan for ideal results. Attention to detail matters, so make sure your outfit is pressed, shoes polished, and accessories minimal. With the right interview outfit, you’ll emphasize all the right professional qualities to make a great first impression. Confidence and qualifications are most critical, but dressing for success gives you an undeniable edge.