Interviewing? The Best and Worst Colors To Wear

woman sitting on steps in a blue pinstripe suit drinking coffee
Picture of Martha Magrina
Martha Magrina

Congratulations on securing a job interview! This is a big step and an exciting moment, especially after what was likely a detailed application process.

Do you want to accurately and authentically reflect who you are, and the qualities you bring to the table?

Studies show that what you choose to wear can reflect just that.

4 Winning Colors For Your Job Interview

woman sitting on steps in a blue pinstripe suit drinking coffee


In a study conducted by Career Builder where over 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals gave input, blue was the most recommended outfit color.

Why? Blue = Team Player (who doesn’t want that?). Blue also implies (according to Cornell University’s career center, that you are trustworthy, honest and credible.

Tip: Any shade will work, but steer clear of blindingly bright blue and muted blue.

Navy is always a safe bet.


Ranked second on the same study, black took second place.

Why? Black = Leadership (a power color). Black also implies strength, authority, leadership abilities, and timeliness.

Tip: Save for high powered interviews – senior leadership roles and managerial roles.

In this case, be sure to lightly accessorize with a scarf or jewelry in your ideal colors / metals. This will help break up the severity of the black.

*Steer clear from wearing black for interviews in customer service, retail, or anything entry level.


A great option for a neutral interview color.

Choose the most flattering gray for your face.

Why? Gray = logic and analytical

Tip: If you tend to get nervous and sweat during interviews, steer clear from gray blouses or button down’s because it will show sweat.

Gray pants or blazers are a go!

woman wearing white blouse tan pants


Crisp and pure.

If white is not a naturally flattering color for you, choose ivory or off white, or accessorize with your most flattering metal or other accessory color.

Why? White = Organized, detail oriented, and clean.

Tip: White is easy to match and accessorize with scarfs, jewelry or socks.

4 Colors Not To Wear During A Job Interview

Highlighting the best colors is equally important to highlighting the 4 worst colors.


Orange has been ranked as the #1 worst color to wear to an interview.

Why? Orange = Unprofessional and undependable.


While it can be perceived to be comforting and reliable, it does depend on the role you are pursuing.

Why? Brown = Boring, passive, and slow to change.


I am personally a big fan of prints and patterns, BUT not for an interview.

Try to keep prints and patterns minimal (two toned polka dots or stripes with a blazer can work if done well)

Why? Multi Colors = Distraction


Red is my absolute favorite color, but it’s important to think about the powerful message it sends to an interviewer. It is desirable to be seen, but not seen in a negative light.

Why? Red = dominance, rebellion

Tip: Red accents can work well, and not dominate your first impression.

As someone who coaches on authenticity, so much of the psychology is how you choose to wear a color vs wearing it or not wearing it. Make it a game. Make your majority of your outfit a color that delivers the message you want to send, and tie in your other favorite colors as accessories. This way, you’re clearly communicating your abilities AND your true self.

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