Dress to Impress

How do I dress for an interview?

First impressions are lasting so it is very important that you dress for the occasion.


Men should consider these tips when dressing for a job interview:

  • In Sri Lanka, men are expected to wear long trousers with the shirt tucked in. Do not wear jeans.
  • The shirt should be a white long sleeved shirt or at least a pastel colour. Don’t wear short sleeved shirts.
  • Wear a sober tie. Please avoid loud shirts and flashy ties. They do not create a good impression.
  • Wear clean and polished closed shoes (no sandals) with socks.
  • Wear an understated leather belt.
  • Since the weather is generally hot, it is best to wear an undershirt or banyan.
  • Carry a handkerchief in your pocket to use in the event of sweating.
  • Use underarm deodorant to prevent perspiration seeping on to your shirt, and also to prevent any malodour.
  • Use a mildly fragrant aftershave cologne or body cologne. It should not be strong, because your idea of fragrance and that of the interviewer may different.
  • See that your finger nails are clipped, short and clean.
  • Visit the barber and get a haircut.
  • Be clean shaven. If you are sporting either a mustache or a beard, then have it neatly trimmed.
  • Wear a smart but not flashy wrist watch.
  • Do not wear excessive jewellery such as chains, bracelets and rings. One ring (if it is your wedding ring or engagement ring) will more than suffice.
  • Do not perch your spectacles or your sunglasses on your head.
  • Do not sport tattoos or piercings. Cover them up.


It is important that you carry a neat briefcase with your documents, and arrange it carefully before the interview so that you know where exactly each document is. Don’t start fidgeting with papers at the interview. Switch of your mobile phone and keep it out of sight.


Women should consider these tips when dressing for a job interview:

  • It is advisable for women of all ages to wear a formal saree which is sober in colour and print. Avoid loud colours and prints at all costs
  • Younger women can wear a pant suit or a dress. The hemline of the dress or skirt should be just below the knee. Blouses and dresses should have sleeves. Avoid wearing sleeveless blouses or jackets.
  • Don’t wear see-through or form fitting garments.
  • Cover up any tattoos or body piercings.
  • Wear simple and conservative jewellery.
  • Slippers are acceptable if you are wearing a saree. Closed sensible shoes with a mid heel are best with a pant suit or dress. They should be clean and polished if necessary.
  • Carry either a leather purse or briefcase.
  • Neat and manicured nails with a neutral nail polish is advisable.
  • Make-up must be minimal.
  • Neatly groomed hair, away from the face. If very long, a French knot is suitable.
  • Wear a conservative wristwatch.
  • Use a mildly fragrant perfume and deodorant.
  • Don’t perch your spectacles or sunglasses on your head.
  • Keep your mobile phone switched off and out of sight.
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