How To Dress The Part: Interview-Ready Looks On A Budget

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It’s the start of a new year, and for some, it can mean a wealth of opportunity and change.  More often than not it means vowing to stick to resolutions that, quite frankly, go nowhere like taking the leap to try out that new yoga studio down the street, practice the it skincare product, Gua Sha, and look for a new job. Even if you’re not trying to kick 2019 into high gear, you just might find yourself doing a few job interviews before you’re saying “Happy New Year!” once again.

There might just be one thing standing in the way of you and your dream job. Okay, maybe like three things: killing your initial interview, negotiating the optimal salary, and deciding what you’ll pack for lunch on day one. But before you go climbing that corporate ladder and declaring yourself CEO, you’ve got to dress the part.

First impressions are crucial to landing a job, and with that, comes picking out the right outfit to wow the hiring manager. If you’re dreading having to source an interview-ready look that’s on point and budget-friendly, look no further because we’ve got you covered.

Choosing the right outfit for an interview can be daunting, especially because there’s no shortage of dress code variations to choose from — business casual, business formal, or what? How do you know the right look to opt for? Speaking from experience, it’s always better to be overdressed and underdressed. Add in the fact that you may or may not be on a tight budget, and a job interview can make anyone’s anxiety spike — more than just in the “you’ve gotta prove you’re right for this job” way.

Truthfully, you likely already have a few elements in your wardrobe just waiting to be dressed up or down for a job interview. And if you don’t, we’re going to share some easy, no-hassle tips to help you tackle your outfit anxiety and look flawless when it’s go time!


For starters, look for articles of clothing that make you feel your best. Choose a staple piece, like the basic black turtleneck you love for a casual first date, and build your outfit from there. Never underestimate what a great pencil skirt or blazer can do to an otherwise casual outfit. Choose colors that bring out your best features. Maybe you have brown eyes, so go for earth tones, greens, and mauve accent colors, whcih can show you have personality and style. Take for example, the polished look above from Insta-icon Laura Beverlin, @laurabeverlin. This business formal outfit is fashion-forward and appropriate.


Not sure how formal to dress? Especially if a placement agency or recruiter referred you, it’s ay-okay to ask them about the culture and position of the company beforehand. When in doubt, go with a classic suit. This chic and sophisticated look by Jenny Wu of @goodbadandfab will have you interview-ready in no time. Plus, the matching pantsuit is making a comeback. Look online for budget-friendly options from select retailers nationwide like H&M, Zara, Mango, and Forever21.


Don’t be afraid to show off your style. Remember, they want to get to know who you are. If you dress entirely different in your interview from how you usually rock your wardrobe, you may be disappointed when it comes time to get ready in the morning. Try to be true to yourself. Heading to a business casual interview? It’s totally acceptable to wear a jumpsuit with a fitted blazer or jacket. Plus, you’ll be able to wear this look at work and to the post-work happy hour. Finish this ‘fit with a clutch, and you’ll be ready to say, “where do I sign?” Check out the above look put together by lifestyle blogger and chic-queen Zee Rojas.

Spice it up

Not afraid to be a little daring? Perhaps you know the culture at the company you’ll be interviewing with is casual, so go for a sophisticated meets relaxed approach. Style maven Rida Hayet, (@hayet.rida on Instagram) takes business casual to a new level, but it’s still totally work-appropriate. Try high-waisted pants paired with stripes for a classic and casual take. Add a nude pump or pop of color with jewel-toned heels, and you’ll be picking out your next desk plant before you know it.


The last — but probably most important — thing to remember is that the key to everything, job interviews included, is confidence. Nothing outfit looks better than a great attitude, smile, and passion for the work. Best of all, those three things are totally free. So, while you’re deciding between a pantsuit or pencil skirt, just remember, your best asset is you! Be yourself, and the rest is icing on the cake. Now go get ’em, rockstar.