Appropriate Dress for Formal Interviews

Reminders for both Men and Women

  • Always err on the side of conservatism.
  • Do not wear fraternity or sorority rings and pins to an interview.
  • Do not wear an inexpensive watch to an interview. Choose a quality watch with a leather or metal band. The pen you carry should also be of good quality. The same applies to your wallet, portfolio, and briefcase.
  • In your portfolio or briefcase, always carry extra copies of your resume.
  • Don't tap your feet, cross you legs, yawn, stare at the interviewer, touch your hair or clothing, giggle or otherwise appear nervous or bored during the interview.
  • Do not chew gum or eat candy or mints while interviewing.
  • Carry only a briefcase or portfolio with extra copies of your resume.
  • If you have a coat, umbrella, backpack, etc., ask if you may leave them with the receptionist or ask if there is a designated area for storage.

Business Dress for Women

  • Suits in navy, gray, taupe, and black are good color choices. Other colors such as burgundy and dark green are also acceptable. Skirt lengths should not be above the knee.
  • Choose neutral-toned hosiery.
  • Shoes should be leather in a classic closed heel and toe pump style. Heels should be approximately three inches in height. Recommended colors: black, navy, taupe, and cordovan.
  • Handbags/briefcases/portfolios should be made of leather and of the same color choices as shoes. Do not carry a purse and an attache case. Choose one or the other, but not both.
  • Choose small, subtle jewelry in gold or silver. Simplicity is the key. Wear no more than one ring on each hand.
  • Always wear a blouse with your suit. White, as always, is appropriate. Other colors such as light blue, cream, and gray are also good choices.
  • Your make-up should be subtle and flattering to your complexion.
  • Your hair should be natural looking (no dark roots or unusual colors). Shoulder length or shorter is considered appropriate for business. If your hair is long, wear it up during an interview.
  • Your fragrance should be subtle, not overpowering.

Business Dress for Men

  • Suits in navy or gray in a classic, conservative style worn with a white shirt and a tie with a small pattern or stripe. Burgundy is always considered an appropriate tie color for an interview. Your tie should be "updated" in width and should touch the top of your belt buckle.
  • Wear well-shined black shoes in lace-up or slip-on style with black or navy over-the-calf socks.
  • Jewelry, other than a wedding band, should not be worn.
  • Cologne should be worn sparingly or not worn at all.



Office of Career & Professional Development • American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 122 Washington, DC 20016 • 202-274-4090 F: 202-274-4096