Business on the Top, Tired on the Bottom: How to Dress for Virtual Interviews

With every season comes a new set of fashion dilemmas. Summer brings the constant struggle of looking cute without melting, while winter brings about the balancing act of staying warm and trendy. However, the latest fashion struggle has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with virtual interviews. 

While in-person interview outfits require head-to-toe styling, virtual interviews allow for a little more leniency. Since most webcams will only show you from the waist up, it’s important to make sure that you look as professional as possible. You may be at home, but you should still put yourself together as if you were at an IRL interview.

Below, I’ve outlined my guide for dressing for your virtual interview, so you land your dream job in style.

Do be mindful of how necklines come across on camera

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Even though only your shoulders and up will be shown on camera, make sure everything looks as it should — meaning maybe you should avoid that strapless top (good advice from one of my professors). Your best bet will be anything with thick straps, sleeves, or even a mock neck. Because the interviewer cannot see your full outfit, err on the side of modesty to avoid any possible wardrobe malfunctions. 

Don't wing it

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Plan your outfit ahead of time and do a test run with your webcam to ensure everything looks good. What looks appropriate in your mirror may not translate well over Zoom. While you’re at it, be mindful of how your background looks too; try to find a space in your home with a simple backdrop. You can even push a chair against a plain wall if needed! A simple background eliminates any distractions and lets you shine. 

Do consider your industry

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Interview fashion is not one-size-fits-all. While you can never go wrong with a basic button-down, certain jobs allow for more or less creativity. If you are applying for a finance role, for example, you should play it safe with neutral tones and a structured blazer. However, if you are applying in a more creative field like fashion, you can have a little more fun with interesting jewelry. Just be sure to keep everything fairly simple to avoid distracting from you and your resume!

Don't forgo pants 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This tip may seem funny, but it’s true. We all saw the story of the reporter who didn’t wear pants and ended up showing more than he had intended. Even if you’re just in comfy black leggings, biker shorts, or sweats, make sure you have something on the bottom, just to be safe. Your safest bet is to wear a dress. Dresses are just as comfortable as your favorite shorts but look way more put-together. 

Do keep it professional

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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If you’re unsure of how dressed up you should be for this virtual interview, you’re always better off erring on the side of professionalism. It’s better to be a bit too dressed up than to be underdressed. If anything, being dressed up will make you look enthusiastic about the job, which is an important quality to many interviewers. 

Virtual interviews may seem intimidating, but they should be empowering. You have all of the time and resources of your home to make sure you present yourself exactly the way you'd like to. Use that to your advantage and you'll ace every interview.

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