What Not To Wear To A Job Interview In Australia

Dress for success.


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Last updated: November 16th, 2023

what not to wear to an interview

Last updated: November 16th, 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You’ve got your dream job lined up – with an outstanding resume and references galore, you’re practically ready for that first promotion.

One small issue… you have to pass the interview. 

First impressions always count, so grab a pen and paper and jot down our must-have tips below on what not to wear to an interview. Ladies, men and everyone in between – take note. 

job interview statistic

1. Bright Colors.

When choosing clothes for a job interview, be mindful of colour! Neutrals like white, cream, black and grey convey professionalism and won’t distract your potential colleague. 

We’re all for expressing your personality through your fashion choices. However, when it comes to corporate interviews, keep it simple. 

You can incorporate colour in subtle ways: 

  • A colourful red accessory, like earrings.
  • Coloured nail polish (shorter nails always fair best).
  • A coloured scarf in winter.
  • A patterned/coloured handbag.

If you’re in a creative industry, well, then – the bolder, the better!

(Related: Questions To Ask In A Job Interview).

2. Flashy Accessories.

Accessorising can be a fantastic way to show your personality and enhance your outfit. Just be mindful of being too overdressed for the first ‘date’.

Some tips: 

  • Ladies, consider classy studs over big hoop earrings. 
  • Men, avoid pulling out your only luxury suit or going overboard with a flashy belt. 

(Related: How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Work Here?”).

3. Headphones.

Whilst listening to music can help calm your nerves or enhance your confidence, only use your headphones on your way to the interview and remove them once in the office or meeting space.

It seems like a given, but imagine trying to pack away a tangled cord whilst shaking the interviewer’s hand for the first time – not a great look.  

(Related: Video Interview Tips For Aussie Jobseekers).

4. Casual Clothing Items.

Before any interview, visit the company’s website to gauge the culture and style of clothing employees wear. 

Expert Tip.

Be wary that even the ‘coolest’ companies naturally judge candidates on a first mpression. That means no rocking up in gym gear to the first meeting. But hey, after that – get your Birkenstocks out!

Some standard items to steer clear of are: 

  • Denim and jeans (definitely no Canadian tuxedos).
  • Gym clothes – particularly straight after the gym.
  • Ripped jeans.
  • Slogan t-shirts.
  • Overly branded clothing.
  • Thongs or sandals.
  • Caps and beanies.

To create increase your chances of landing the job, choose interview attire that amplifies your professional abilities, credentials, and experience. 


You don’t need to buy a whole new outfit for your interview. Consider thrifting a blazer or dress pants from your local op-shop, where they are affordable and always in abundance. 

5. Heavy Cologne/Perfume.

Smelling good during any experience increases your self-confidence, but please – resist the urge to drench yourself in One Million.

Excess cologne can cause allergic reactions in some people, and you don’t want to find this out the hard way.

Choose something subtle and spray earlier in the day so the blend can settle into your skin. 

6. Bright Makeup.

Makeup can be a powerful tool to enhance confidence. However, leave the party makeup at home for your first interview. 

Unless your industry calls for it, try to avoid the following:

  • Dark and shiny eye makeup (glitter).
  • Bright, colourful lipstick.
  • Heavy, false lashes.
  • If using powder, try adding glowy setting spray at the end to give your skin a dewy finish. It’ll also help your makeup stay fresh!

You can explore more here

7. Clothes Or Shoes That Don’t Fit Well.

This is a given – anything that doesn’t fit you (too small or too large) will ensure you hold yourself in a way this uncomfortable and distracting.

Research suggests that your appearance affects how another person perceives you to be trustworthy!

You want to give the interviewer the impression that you put real effort and thought into looking presentable.

If you must – try multiple outfits and send photos to friends and family to help you refine.

8. Mini Skirt Or Mini Dress (Women) Or Overly Tight Shirts (Men).

In a professional environment, short dresses or skirts are too casual. When seated, your clothing can quickly leave you feeling exposed. 

For men, wearing the tightest of t-shirts may showcase your biceps – but leave these options for outside the office. 

Making a more formal first impression is crucial until you’re accustomed to the workplace’s dress code expectations.

9. Open-Toe Shoes Or Sneakers.

Open-toed footwear may be convenient during the warmer months, but they’re not the best option for an interview. Such footwear is often regarded as too casual for an interview, regardless of gender.

Instead, try:

  • Closed-toe dress footwear like Oxfords.
  • Elegant dress boots (polished).
  • A small heel.

Expert Tip.

Try your complete outfit a day or two before the interview to ensure you feel confident and look great!

Bottom Line About What Not To Wear To An Interview.

Ultimately, when you feel your best (and look your best) you perform best! Now that you know what NOT to wear to an interview, you can start curating your ultimate outfit.

Check out Pinterest for inspiration if you need it.

Remember – choose an outfit you feel confident and comfortable in so you can command the energy in the room and give yourself the best chance of impressing your future bosses.

Fashion has the extraordinary power to evoke emotion – so get your Beyonce on, just – minus the bedazzled leotard.


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