We know the interview process can be a bit intimidating, but there’s good news, Ruchettes – getting your foot in the door is the hardest part! Now that you have that first round penciled in on your calendar, you can conquer the interview and land the job – all it takes is confidence and the right outfit to help you feel your best.

Before you plan your outfit, you should research the company you’ll be meeting with, taking note of their mission statement and online presence. These days, all companies have a web page, making it easy to track them through social media and get a feel for their particular voice. Sometimes a company will instruct you as to what kind of interview you’ll be having, but if you’re unsure, you can often judge the formality based on the company’s area of work and online presence. You’ll need this information to differentiate whether a “formal professional” or “business casual” look is required, and can style your outfit from there. For example, a financial institution may require professional business attire, while an artistic or fashion-related job might observe a more relaxed dress code.

Now, what exactly is the difference between formal professional and business casual?Formal professional attire consists of fabric that is thicker or of a higher quality than most of our comfortable, everyday clothing. When opting for a more formal look, think ramie, silk, and cotton, as well as neutral tones and modest necklines. Professional skirts and dresses should hit at the knee, and sleeveless tops and dresses are to be styled with a blazer or fitted jacket. If you’re interviewing with a prestigious company, it’s best to play it safe by following these professional guidelines!

However, most companies these days tend to adhere to a business casual standard, which is always something to be grateful for. The professional look is certainly chic, but the business casual dress code calls for versatile essentials that a gal can wear beyond the workplace. If you have previously held casual jobs or are a new graduate looking for employment, you may be able to style a business casual outfit with what you already have in your closet instead of hunting for two-piece suit sets to revamp your entire wardrobe.

The term “business casual” opens up the realm of professional options to include more colors, prints, and styles. While it’s best to continue the professional rule of a modest hemline, lighter fabrics and soft cardigans are staples in the business casual wardrobe. There is also more room to take artistic license; you can easily incorporate splashes of pretty prints into your look by means of a chiffon blouse or detailed skirt. And instead of opting for a classic black jacket, you can brighten up your ensemble with a pastel cardigan if you’d like! Think polished, poised, and pleasant when creating your business casual outfit, and allow a little personality to show through in the details.

Although the business casual dress code does provide more leniencies, style your outfits on the side of professionalism, especially for the initial interview outfit. In other words, it’s important not to overlook the word “business” in favor of “casual” when preparing your outfits until you’ve found your footing in a workplace and have a better idea as to what the company expects of its employees. It may seem like curating a business casual outfit requires far more effort than pairing jeans with a favorite top, but you’ll quickly realize that styling a cute dress with a blazer, or switching out your denim for a more professional fabric, is fairly hassle-free. There may be room for more creativity and relaxation once you settle into your new position, but even if there isn’t, dressing in a business casual style can quickly become second nature. You just need to make sure you have the right options in your wardrobe!

The Business Casual EssentialsCombine these must-have business casual pieces to create a variety of outfits perfect for interviews and the workplace alike! Once you create your first few outfits, you’ll see how many options you truly have to work with.

Good luck with your interview!We hope this guide has given you the inspiration to piece together the right business casual attire to fit your style. We’re confident you’ll dream up a classy ensemble in no time!