What To Wear To A Job Interview In The Summer

By Chris Kolmar - Oct. 30, 2020

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Dressing for your job interview can sometimes be more complicated than you think.

Depending on the type of job and work environment, the clothes you choose can make or break an interview. But when it’s summertime and the weather is hot, it might be even more difficult to maintain a professional look while staying cool and comfortable.

Similarly, individuals who live in warmer clients may have this issue regardless of the season. If you find yourself in this situation, there are plenty of ways to coordinate your wardrobe so you can maintain your confidence, comfort, and a polished look for your job interview.

Below are some ideas for both men and women for what to wear to interviews in the summer.

What should you wear for a summer interview?

Depending on the company, hiring manager, or recruiter, you may get suggestions on how to dress for a specific interview. If you don’t receive any insight into what is appropriate to wear, it’s important to do some research first. You can come across companies that are very formal and traditional or companies that are more relaxed and casual in their work environment.

If your interview expectations do not include interview attire guidelines, there are still certain things you should pay attention to when selecting your outfit for your job interview.

  • Dress code and work environment. This is the most significant information you can get to aid with clothes selection. The dress code for offices can vary widely and depends on the type of job and industry in which you are applying. Take a look at the company website for any staff photos, travel to the office location and take a look at people going in and out of the building, or simply ask your recruiter or hiring manager if you’re not sure.

  • Length of interview. The length of your interview is significant because you want to make sure you are dressed comfortably and appropriately for whatever it is you might do during your time with the interviewer. This could be sitting in an office, or it could be going out for a meal, or include walking. You’ll want to understand this ahead of time, to ensure you dress for the occasion.

  • How you plan to travel to your interview. This might seem like an unnecessary step, but it’s important to think about when you’re dealing with heat. If you are walking to your interview, the heat could be a major concern in your appearance. You’ll want to prepare yourself for a touch-up when you reach your destination. If you can manage to drive yourself or get someone to drive you, you can ensure you maintain your polished appearance without needing to touch up before you enter the building.

  • Current business attire trends. It’s important to be mindful of current trends of business attire. Check out magazines or trendy websites to see what people are wearing as business casual attire, especially in the summer months. This will not only help you look fashionable, but could help inspire you if you’re still struggling with what to wear.

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What are the best fabrics to wear during the summer?

There are a variety of fabrics to choose from, but not all are created equal. Some fabrics breathe better than others, especially when it’s hot outside. Here are some fabrics to consider when choosing an outfit for your summer interview.

  • Linen. This lightweight fabric helps heat escape easily, without trapping it in the threads. It’s light and airy, helping to keep you cool even on the hottest days. It dries quickly, so it won’t pick up on any extra sweat.

  • Rayon. This fabric is made of small fibers that help it breathe. It’s light enough so that it won’t stick to you in the heat. You can find this kind of fabric often in athletic wear, so you know it prevents well against sweat.

  • Cotton. This is probably the most common option you can go with. Cotton is light and breathable and can help absorb sweat to keep you cool. This fabric is found in most stores and is easy to wash.

Summer outfit examples that make you look and feel professional

If you’re still uncertain of what to wear, below are a few examples for both men and women on what you can wear for a summer interview, while still looking professional.

For women:

  • Dress. A dress is a perfect option for a summer interview. Choose a dress you know fits and you have worn before. If you choose to purchase a new dress, be sure you try it on before your interview and allow enough time between your purchase and your interview to take care of any tailoring needs. Simple patterns as well as solid colors can work for a dress in the summer months.

  • Pencil skirt and blouse. An appropriately tailored skirt paired with a light blouse is a great option for an interview. The pencil skirt allows your legs to stay cool, while the blouse will allow your skin to breathe, while still looking professional.

  • Lightweight suit. Women’s suits can be made from both heavy and light materials. If you’re from a warmer climate or expect to be dressing professionally most weekdays in the summer, investing in a lightweight suit is a great idea. This outfit gives you both confidence and comfort in the summer months, especially for interviews.

  • Sleeveless blouse with slacks. A high neck sleeveless blouse paired with slacks is a great option for women. It gives a classic sophisticated look that you can pair with an open-toed heel. Having a sleeveless blouse is a great way to stay cool and confident.

  • Sundress. In a more casual environment, you can consider an appropriate sundress. Sundresses are often made from lighter material, including cotton, that you can find in a variety of colors. You can pair a skirt with a dressy flat or an open-toed heel to finish off the look.

  • Polo with slacks or skirt. A short-sleeved polo might be more your style. Pair a solid polo shirt with a pair of slacks or an appropriate skirt for a more polished look. You can wear a closed-toe shoe or a heel with this kind of outfit. Polo shirts are often made from light-weight material which will help your skin breathe on hot days.

  • Blouse and jeans. In a more casual environment, consider a lightweight blouse and tailored jeans. Light or dark wash works fine, but you may need to make some considerations depend on the blouse you choose. This type of outfit works in enhancing your confidence and giving you a

  • Blouse with maxi skirt. If you’re looking to ditch the pants, consider a maxi skirt. These long skirts can be worn in a more casual environment and paired with a blouse and a flat shoe or heel. You can find these in light fabrics that will help your skin breathe. Be sure to try these on first, however, as length can vary widely.

For men:

  • Lightweight oxford shirt with slacks. The oxford down dress shirt is a dress shirt but typically not as heavy. They usually come in solid colors and can be paired with both a more casual pant or a more formal pant. You can add a tie to this outfit, for a more formal look.

  • Lightweight button-up shirt with slacks. The classic button-up shirt with slacks is a similar choice, but button-up shirts usually come in a variety of patterns. Pick a simple pattern or a solid color for your interview. Similar to the oxford shirt, this can be paired with a tie for a more professional or formal look.

  • Lightweight suit. Men who live in warmer climates or intent to wear suits on a weekly basis for work should look into a lightweight suit for the summer months or type of common climate for their location. Lightweight suits are made from thinner material, while still maintaining quality so that you can feel confident and cool all at once.

  • Polo shirt with khakis. A polo shirt is a great choice for a more casual environment. Many polo shirts come with short sleeves which helps to keep you cool in warmer weather. Khakis can be paired with a polo for a more polished look in a more business casual environment.

  • Polo shirt with tailored jeans. Polo shirts can also be paired with jeans in a smart-casual environment. Be sure to choose your jeans carefully, however. You’ll want to make sure they’re tailored and hemmed to the proper length so that they give you a professional look.

  • Lightweight blazer. Blazers are a staple for any wardrobe, but you can find a lightweight blazer to pair over a lightweight shirt. Paired with a tie, this is the perfect outfit for a more formal environment, while still staying comfortable in hot weather.

  • Short sleeve button-up with slacks. You can find short-sleeved button-downs as is, or even find one in your own closet! Many shirts give you the option between long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirts by providing buttons on the upper arm area. You can carefully roll up your sleeves and button them to stay in place for a polished look for an interview.

What to avoid for summer interviews

It might be tempting to walk into an interview during the summer feeling more casual or wanting to wear less clothing. There are ways to do this comfortably and professionally, as outlined above. There are also common clothing items that you should always avoid, no matter the job or the work environment you are entering. These items include:

  1. Sandals or flip-flops. Instead of choosing a sandal or a flip-flop, which are both too casual for a job interview, opt for a close-toed shoe for men or an open-toed heel for women.

  2. Athletic wear. Yoga pants, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and tank tops are no-gos for interviews. You should leave this clothing in your closet for the gym and not wear them to an interview.

  3. Shorts. Any types of shorts are unacceptable for a job interview. This garment exudes casualty and may give off the impression that you are not serious about the job you’re applying for.

  4. Clothing that doesn’t fit. You should always try on your interview outfit before you step into your job interview. Make sure the items you have chosen are not too loose or baggy, or too tight or low-cut. Anything that shows your undergarments or your midriff should be left in the closet.

  5. Hats. It could be tempting to wear a hat due to the sun, but these are generally frowned upon in an office environment.

  6. Excessive accessories. Too much makeup, perfume, or too many jewelry items can be distracting to your interviewer and cause them to make a judgment about you before the interview even starts. Be sure to be mindful of these things when choosing your interview outfit.

  7. Dirty or wrinkled clothing. This one may seem obvious but it’s important that you check that your clothing is washed and ironed before you put it on. Showing up to an interview with wrinkled or stained clothing will give off a poor first impression.

Tips for choosing summer interview outfits

Dressing to impress during the summer doesn’t have to be a nightmare. You can easily keep a few items of clothing in your closet to make sure you have options for these types of situations. If you’re not sure what type of environment you’re walking into, remember that being more conservative is better than being too casual.

For the summer months, choose clothing that is lighter in color to help keep yourself cool. Black and darker colors will attract sunlight and cause you to sweat. Be sure that your summer items are appropriate and not too revealing or translucent. Check to make sure your outfit is in good condition and not too flash. And most importantly, be sure it fits correctly.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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