woman wearing a blazer, diamond patterned shirt, and slacks

You’ve finally landed that dream job interview. Hours, weeks and even months of work have come to this one moment when you have to make a stellar impression. All the details are coming together, but then you have a realization.

What are you supposed to wear?

Finding the perfect outfit can be crucial when looking for a job or making the best possible first impression. In a college world where wearing a Batman onesie to class is applauded, it can seem daunting to understand the rules of business casual wear. Not only that, but building a business appropriate wardrobe can seem boring, subjective and expensive.

woman wearing a blazer, diamond patterned shirt, and slacks
Blazer- Nordstrom Rack. Shirt- Target. Slacks- Express. Photo credit: Katelyn Fahrenbruck

What isn’t expensive is finding a few key pieces that can be added to your wardrobe to keep you ready for whatever may come your way. With a few basics in the closet, the options to personalize and keep it fun are nearly endless.

Every interview ready wardrobe should include a few nice shirts, slacks and a blazer. Ladies can add in skirts and dresses, guys can add vests and ties. Places like Nordstrom Rack, J. Crew Mercantile and Express will always have lots of options that won’t break the bank. Target, H&M, Ross and Wal-mart have simple shirts, cardigans and accessories that can be added in.

woman wearing a cardigan, green shirt, tan skirt, and black tights
Cardigan- Target. Shirt- Express. Skirt- J.Crew Mercantile. Tights- H&M. Photo credit: Katelyn Fahrenbruck

When shopping for staple items, keep a few things in mind. Shop for fit. Be willing to spend a little bit more money and time finding slacks and blazers, because they need to fit. Slacks shouldn’t fit like leggings, but rather should be comfortable to sit in without stress or creasing. Invest in a pair of slacks in a neutral color (black, gray, khaki or navy) and change it up with fun shirts, shoes and jewelry. Making a similar investment in a blazer (or sport coat, guys) will add a touch of formality to every outfit combination.

“You should be able to wear just a normal t-shirt bra with your blouses,” Colorado State University College of Business alum Molly Shutzenberger says.

woman wearing a blue blouse and black slacks
Shirt- Express. Slacks- Nordstrom Rack. Photo credit: Katelyn Fahrenbruck

Think about the details while you finish your outfits. Guys might consider adding fun socks, watches or pocket squares. Ladies have a wide variety of options with jewelry, shoes (just keep in mind you have to be comfortable in them all day) and other accessories.

“Nothing says ‘I deserve to be here’ like looking and feeling your best.” CSU student and current student teacher Abbie Hanawalt says.