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What is the best color to wear at an interview?

What is the best color to wear at an interview?

Choosing the right outfit for a job interview can be a daunting task. While qualifications and experience are the most important factors, your appearance and presentation also play a role in making a good first impression. The colors you choose to wear to an interview say something about you to potential employers. The right color can convey confidence, professionalism, authority, and other qualities, while the wrong color may give off an unintended vibe. In this article, we will explore what color is best to wear to a job interview and why.

How Color Psychology Plays a Role

Color psychology suggests that different colors evoke different psychological and emotional responses. The colors you wear send subtle messages about your personality and how you want others to perceive you. Here are some of the common color associations in Western cultures:

Color Associations
Black Authority, power, sophistication
Blue Trust, intelligence, stability
Gray Maturity, conservative
White Cleanliness, purity, precision
Red Energy, passion, aggression
Green Natural, calm, growth
Orange Creativity, friendliness, enthusiasm
Yellow Optimism, clarity, happiness
Purple Royal, wisdom, mystery

Many of these color associations can work for or against you in an interview, depending on the impression you want to make. The colors you wear, even if subtly used, trigger these associations in the minds of interviewers whether consciously or subconsciously. Using this psychology to your advantage can help boost your chances of success.

The Best Interview Colors

Based on the typical impressions you want to convey at a job interview, the following colors are generally considered the best to wear:

Navy Blue

Navy blue is probably the most universally recommended color for any interview. Dark blue conveys authority, confidence, and professionalism. Studies show that people perceive blue as a trustworthy, dependable color. Navy blue also suggests loyalty and wisdom. Combined with a crisp white shirt or blouse, a navy blue suit or dress will always give you a polished, competent look. Both men and women can never go wrong with navy blue for an interview.


For a conservative industry or role, gray is an excellent color choice. Different shades of gray project maturity, dependability, and practicality. You’ll give off an impression of being seasoned and down-to-earth. Light grays bring a sense of sophistication and modernity. While gray may be seen as boring by some, it has a classic appeal suitable for formal business situations like interviews. Pair gray with neutral tones rather than bright colors.


A black outfit commands respect and authority. It signals that you are serious and professional. In moderation, black projects confidence and capability. But be careful wearing all black, which can come across as overly stark and intimidating. Temper it with softer neutral or blue accents. Black is popular for interviews in law, academia, and other serious fields. It’s not always suitable for creative positions.


A crisp white shirt or blouse conveys cleanliness, efficiency, and focus. It grabs attention paired under a dark suit. White represents a fresh start and clarity of purpose. Too much white, however, can seem sterile. Limit white to shirts and blouses to avoid looking overly clinical. Always keep white clothing pristine and avoid stains.


For most fields, tan or beige are go-to neutral options. These earthy tones signify dependability and warmth. Subtle variations of tan or beige come across as honest, capable, and down-to-earth. Pair with navy blue, gray, or other neutral tones for a smart yet relatable look. Avoid wearing beige head-to-toe or it may look bland.

Colors to Avoid

Some popular colors are best avoided for interviews:


While red conveys passion and excitement, it’s too bold and distracting for most interviews. Red may come across as aggressive and domineering, which tends to intimidate interviewers. Save this color for nights out instead of your next job interview.


Green symbolizes growth and nature. But most shades of green clash with workplace attire and environments. Darker greens like emerald may work for creative fields, but avoid lighter greens. Don’t wear green if interviewing in a medical setting where staff wear green scrubs.


While energetic and friendly, fierce shades of orange are too loud for conservative workplaces. Orange may also give a cheap, informal vibe. Muted peach or coral work for some industries, but avoid bright oranges and neon tones.


Yellow conveys optimism and pep, but can easily appear too youthful and inexperienced for an interview. Soft yellows and creams are versatile, but avoid bright solid yellow outfits.


Royal purple commands respect, but not for the job candidate. Stick to interview staples like navy and gray rather than trying to stand out in purple. Dark eggplant purple is better for creative positions if worn subtly. Bright purples are distracting.

More Interview Outfit Tips

Beyond color, keep these additional tips in mind when deciding what to wear:

– Formal suits in dark colors are always appropriate for interviews. Match suit jackets and pants/skirts.

– Clean, pressed shirts and blouses in white, blue, or subtle patterns are safe choices.

– Ties with simple patterns coordinate well with suits for men. Avoid loud prints and colors.

– Limit accessories like jewelry. Avoid noisy bangles and oversized items.

– Shoes should be formal leather styles in black or brown. Avoid casual sneakers or heels over 3 inches.

– Hairstyles and makeup should be neat, natural, and professional. Avoid radical styles.

– Minimize cologne or perfume. Skip scented products to avoid irritating allergies.

– Iron or steam clothing to remove wrinkles and look crisp. Check for spots, pills, and lint.

– Bring a portfolio, notebook, extra copies of your resume, pens, and other necessities.

Dress Code Research

To tailor your look, research the company dress code and typical attire ahead of your interview. Conservative banks and law firms expect suits. Casual software startups may prefer business casual outfits. If possible, discreetly observe what current employees wear to the office and aim for one level above that formality. When in doubt, it’s always better to err on the formal side for interviews. You can loosen up once you get the job.

Examples of Good Interview Outfits

Here are examples of ideal interview attire for men and women:

For Men:

– A dark navy or charcoal gray suit, white collared shirt, subtle tie, matching socks and dress shoes.

– A black or gray suit with a light blue or white shirt and coordinating tie.

– A tan or navy blazer over a white or light blue collared shirt, gray trousers, and brown dress shoes.

For Women:

– A navy blue, black, or gray skirt suit with a white, blue, or pink blouse and formal pumps.

– Dress slacks in black, gray, or tan combined with a blue blazer and crisp button-down.

– A sheath dress in navy blue, black, or tan with a blazer and classic heels.

– A gray pencil skirt with a white blouse and blue blazer.

The most important guideline is to choose pieces in solid, neutral colors that pair well together. Solids and minimal patterns are best for interview attire.


A job interview is no time to make a fashion statement. The safest approach is to wear formal business attire in dark neutral colors like navy, black, gray, and tan. Pay attention to color psychology and what vibe your outfit conveys. While you don’t need to wear boring clothes to impress, err on the conservative side. With the right interview outfit colors and standard professional pieces, you’ll feel polished, confident and ready to succeed.