Figuring out what to wear when being interviewed for a job is half the battle of the interviewing process itself.  The first impression you make on the person conducting the job interview is extremely important, and that judgment is always based on your appearance. This is why it’s essential to come up with an outfit that will help you achieve a professional look, an image to be desired regardless of the company culture.

What is the proper way to dress for a job interview? There isn’t a straight answer to that, but there are enough tips and tricks to help you make a great first impression. In general, a person sporting a neat, authoritative attire is going to have much better prospects than a candidate dressed in jeans and a tee. Keep in mind you have a single chance to make a first impression, so do your best to send the right message. Show the interviewer you’re a serious, hard-working and dedicated candidate who has the ability to recognize the company’s requirements.

It’s always best to dress too conservative rather than too casually. Stick to professionally looking clothes in safe colors. For an inside tip, call the secretary or the receptionist working at the company you wish to work for and ask her to briefly tell you what the employees are wearing on the premises.

Another good idea would be to take into account the culture of the firm you are interviewing with, and plan your outfit accordingly. Why dress in a formal pantsuit you don’t feel comfortable in when the employees are all working in T-shirt and a jean combos? This is why wearing a suit is not always the best option. Dressing ultra-conservative will make you look out of place and will give a wrong vibe. Looking too stiff is not something you would want, and the same is true in the opposite case. An interviewer working for a company with formal dressing standards will not think highly of you if you show up dressed in sandals and a top with spaghetti straps. Keep a balance between too fancy or rigid and too casual. Your choice of outfit should be similar or slightly dressier than the regular work attire of the company you’re interviewing with.

When it comes to colors, go for the usual corporate hues like navy or black. Wear a skirt suit or a dress paired with a jacket to show a bit of femininity. Sport shoes with a comfortable medium to high heel and keep your jewelry to a minimum. Make sure your makeup is soft and your hairdo simple and neat. Go for a professional and elegant image that exudes confidence.

Avoid loud colors, sloppy clothing, baring too much skin or ultra-tight garments. Also, dress according to the season. A heavy tweed jacket in the middle of the summer would look plain odd. Check your outfit for wrinkles, scuffs, tears, holes or stains. An interview attire should be impeccable. Furthermore, leave your favorite handbag at home and accessorize your ensemble with a portfolio or an elegant briefcase.  And as far as seasonal trends are concerned, it’s best to let clothes make a statement some other time. Keep a low-profile if you’re a daring fashionista. You’re objective is to get the job, not score an A for being an envied trendsetter.