You’ve done the work and landed an interview for a great job. You’ve been reading our blog, and know what you should wear to the interview. There’s just one problem: You’re broke. You need a cheap job interview outfit!

If you haven’t noticed, most of the outfits we put together for this blog cost around $80-100, with no single piece over $50, but if you’ve been out of work for any amount of time, that can seem like an insane amount of money. However, if you can scrape together $30, you can still put together a professional outfit that makes you look like a million dollars.

Where to Find a Cheap Job Interview Outfit

Online sites like Zulilly and even Groupon have inexpensive clothes too, but you can expect to wait two weeks for your clothes to arrive. Most of the time, you’ll have to plan ahead if you want to shop online.

If you need an interview outfit quickly, start by visiting local thrift stores. Not all thrift stores are created equally, so do a little research and find better neighborhoods that have thrift stores with good online reviews. One trick we use is to search for Barnes and Noble, and then look for thrift stores near there. Most of the time, Barnes and Noble is located in a nice part of town, so thrift stores near it should have nice clothing too.

Job Interview Clothing Trip Report: Goodwill

We made a quick stop at the Goodwill in Ocala, Florida today while waiting on Chipotle to finish our online order. The store is filled with clothes! The dress section had a lot of potential outfit pieces, but the best outfit we found was on a mannequin near the dressing room.

Cheap Job Interview Outfit from Goodwill

The employees put together this professional outfit with a skirt suit, undershirt and necklace for around $20.

Over in the shoe section, we found several pairs of black pumps that would easily pair with most any interview outfit, all for less than $7. One pair in the picture has an original price tag of $19.99, but the Goodwill price tag on the bottom of the shoe read $5.99.

Cheap job interview outfit shoes at Goodwill for $7

We found a cute pair of pinstripe dress pants on the end cap of the pants aisle. They were priced at less than $7.

The One Piece of Clothing You Must Buy

When you aren’t sure what to wear to an interview, a blazer is always a good choice. You can pair it with a dress, skirt and blouse, or even slacks and a blouse, and immediately, you look more professional. Likely, you have something in your closet you could wear to the interview if you paired it with a blazer. So, if you can only buy one thing for your interview, it should be a blazer.

The Ocala Goodwill has two large racks full of blazers in all sizes. When looking for blazers, we look for fit first. Avoid the boxy 80’s “Working Girl” blazers with stiff shoulder pads in favor of feminine princess seams and buttons in the right places. These were our favorites because of the flattering cuts and lengths. All were less than $8.

Cheap job interview outfit blazers at Goodwill for 7 dollars

If you find a blazer that fits in most places, but is a little baggy in other places, wear a belt over it.

Rules for Finding a Cheap Job Interview Outfit

The key to finding a job interview outfit quickly at a thrift store is to know what to look for and to remain open minded. Here are a few rules to keep you focused:

  • Try on everything. No exceptions.
  • Focus on the dress section first. You can get more outfit for your dollar by pairing a dress with a blazer.
  • If you can only afford one piece, buy a blazer.
  • Don’t forget to look at accessories. If you have something in your closet that will mostly work, you can add a scarf or necklace for a few dollars to polish the look.

Of course, everything you buy at a thrift store should be washed, dried, and ironed before you wear it to a job interview. No one likes ironing, but it’s an important step in making a good first impression.

What to Wear to a Teacher Job Interview - #whattowear #jobinterview #career #careeradvice #teacher

You’ve landed a teacher job interview at the school of your dreams. Congratulations! Now, what are you going to wear? Remember, the people interviewing you are looking at more than your shiny college degree and your resume. They want to know they can trust you with their students…and their students’ parents.

You have several outfit options that will work for this interview. The goal is dress in a way that shows you’re fun, but also serious. You have to find a balance between professional and approachable. You can’t just wear black and call it a day.

Impress the Principal with a Colorful, Long-Sleeved Dress

Color is important for any outfit for a teacher job interview. One outfit that could work for this interview is a dress in a jewel-tone color like dark green or dark blue. Long sleeves always look more professional than short sleeves, so if you can find a long-sleeved dress, go for it.

In this example, we are pairing a dark green dress with a fun pearl necklace. Nude pumps with a low heel are not only comfortable, but elongate the line of your leg and make you look taller and more elegant.

 

Notice that the neckline on this dress is conservative—it hides cleavage—but the shape of the dress shows off your figure in a flattering, feminine way. The hemline of this dress falls just below the knee. Look for dresses that flow at or just below knee level for the most flattering silhouette.


Be Memorable and Approachable in a Sleeveless Dress and Wrap Sweater

If you have a cute (but sleeveless) dress already in your closet, you can pair it with a wrap or ballet-style sweater for an approachable look.

In this outfit example, we found a navy blue dress with a feminine shape, and paired it with an off-white wrap sweater. Red shoes and dangly pearl earrings complete the look with a pop of color and a classic, polished accessory.

A Skirt and Blazer Raise You to the Top of the Class

If you like wearing separates, find a colorful blazer that fits you well, and pair it with a neutral-colored skirt and a lacy camisole.

If You Hate Dresses, Wear a Slacks and a Blazer

You don’t have to wear a dress to a teacher job interview. If you want to wear slacks, pair them with a blazer and a colorful camisole or blouse. Always wear a shoe with a bit of a heel. Flats make you look “flat” when you wear them with slacks.

  

This example outfit pairs grey slacks with a black, fitted blazer and a red camisole. Black pearls and a low-heeled Mary Jane pump polish off the look.

 

Rules for Teacher Interview Outfits

When you’re picking out your teacher interview outfit, follow these rules:

  • Feature color prominently either with a colorful dress or blazer.
  • Wear classic accessories like pearl necklaces and earrings.
  • Keep your necklines conservative.
  • Hemlines should fall at or just below your knee.
  • Fit is king. Make sure everything you wear fits you well. If it doesn’t, your dry cleaner has a tailor who can make alterations inexpensively (usually for less than $15).

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What to Wear to a Teacher Job Interview - #whattowear #jobinterview #career #careeradvice #teacher

The interview scheduler says the interview is going to be “casual.” She says they are looking forward to meeting you, and want to learn more about your work and goals. You’re pumped! Now you ask yourself the hard question: What am I going to wear? Can I wear jeans to a job interview?

Can I Wear Jeans to a “Casual” Interview?

Your first instinct may be that “casual” means you can wear jeans to the interview. You are wrong.

For a “casual” interview, the interviewer expects you to show up dressed professionally, but not in a full suit. For gentlemen, this means dress slacks and a long-sleeved shirt. You don’t need a jacket of any sort, but do wear an undershirt. In fact, always wear the undershirt. Wear a tie, but if you get to the office and no one else has on a tie, it’s ok to take it off in the Men’s room and stash it in your briefcase.

Casual Interview for Guys - Don't Wear Jeans to a Job Interview - #whattowear #mensfashion #career #jobinterview

For ladies, “casual” is a little trickier. You can never go wrong with a wrap dress and low heels or ballet flats. If you show your legs, wear hose or tights unless you have a killer tan. 

Casual Interview Outfit for Ladies - Don't Wear Jeans to a Job Interview #jobinterview #career #careeradvice #fashion

Dress slacks with a pretty blouse also works.  Keep your accessories classy. Stick to pearls or simple metals. Save the big bling for later. 

Very Casual Slacks outfit - Don't Wear Jeans to a Job Interview #career #careeradvice #jobinterview #fashion

Can I Wear Jeans to an Interview at a Café?

You see everything at a café, from Armani suits to PJ bottoms. The world’s population drags themselves in all states of dress to pray at the caffeine altar. However, you have an impression to make, and that impression can’t be “I just rolled out of bed and came to this meeting.”

If meeting at a café for an interview, follow the rules of professional dress unless you know the interviewer personally and have an idea of what he or she may be wearing. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. So, gents wear the tie, and ladies bring on the heels. No jeans allowed.

Can I Wear Jeans to a Last-Minute Interview?

Mr. Grey’s secretary says he absolutely must see you today! Certainly your jeans are fine, since it’s last minute and all? Nope. Don’t even think about it.

Even when an interview is last minute, you must look professional. If you don’t have time to go home, stop by TJ Maxx or Ross and grab a low-cost outfit. For less than $50, you can look appropriate.

Can I Wear Jeans to a Low-Paying Job Interview?

We all take on low-paying jobs to make ends meet while looking for the “dream” job or paying our college tuition. There’s honor in all work. If you show up to a low-paying job interview in jeans, you are showing the interviewer you aren’t taking the job seriously.

For McJobs, follow the rules of casual interview attire. Closed-toed shoes are a must for these interviews. Skip the strappy sandals.

Can I Wear Jeans to an Internship Interview?

Finding a good internship is tough. When you do finally land an interview, you have to show your potential employer that you’re ready to adult. You are ready to follow the conventions of the employed world by looking the part of a paid employee. No, this is the last place you want to wear jeans!

No matter where you are interviewing for an internship, dress professionally.

Is There Ever a Time I Can Wear Jeans to a Job Interview?

Believe it or not, there are two times when it’s appropriate to wear jeans to a job interview. First, if the interviewer specifically tells you to wear jeans. This is common on construction sites and even in the film industry. But, even in these industries, don’t assume jeans are OK. If not specifically told to wear jeans, follow the “casual” rules.

The other time it’s ok to wear jeans to a job interview is it’s a virtual interview. Still wear a dress shirt or blouse and a blazer. You want to look professional, but no one can see your jeans anyway.

And, for the love of all that is sacred, never dream of wearing jeans with holes or rips in front of your employer!

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Can I Wear Jeans to a Job Interview? No. You can't. #whattowear #jobinterview #career #careeradvice