What to Wear to a Job Interview in the Summer

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Staying cool during a job interview is a challenge at any time of the year, but the summer months and warm weather locations can be especially tricky.

Depending on what interview attire is best suited to the job you're trying to land, there are several strategies to help you stay looking and feeling cool and confident despite how hot it is outside.

What to Wear for an Interview When the Weather Is Warm 

What you need to wear to your interview isn't going to change based on the weather. As much as you might like to wear khaki shorts, a polo shirt, and sandals to your interview, business casual doesn't include shorts or sandals, unless you are interviewing for a summer job at a resort or on the beach. Even then, dressing it up a little can only help.

Summer Business Interview Attire

If your interview requires business attire, the strategy is similar. Be sure to invest in a lightweight suit or two.

Business Interview Attire for Women

For women, that means a skirt, slacks, or a dress. A lightweight suit with a dress is going to be your coolest choice, although it doesn't offer as much flexibility if you are doing multiple interviews with the same company.

A jacket, with slacks or a skirt, offers you the opportunity to wear a silk shell, which looks professional and will keep you comfortable. Shells come in many shapes and colors, allowing you to change your look for different interviews without having to invest in numerous suits. If the dress code is business, hosiery is a necessary part of the package, as are closed-toe pumps.

Business Interview Attire for Men

Men will need to look for lightweight suits in classic, conservative colors or patterns. Shirts also come in lighter weight cotton appropriate for the mid-summer heat.

Changing the tie and shirt will give you a different look for second and third interviews. Lightweight cotton socks in a dark color will help keep you cool in your dress shoes.

Summer Business Casual Interview Attire

If business casual is appropriate, try to stick with lightweight natural or breathable fibers. Look for options that won't show sweat.

Business Casual for Women

Women can wear a conservative dress, unlined slacks, or a skirt with a blouse or shell under an unlined jacket or light sweater, hosiery, and closed-toe shoes.

In a casual work environment, women may be able to get away without hosiery with a modest pair of conservative sandals or closed-toe heels or flats.

Business Casual for Men

Men will want to look for lightweight khakis or slacks, an absorbent cotton undershirt, and a lightweight button-down shirt.

A light wool jacket and tie can be put on at the last minute. As always, dark socks and dress shoes are essential. Also remember to wear a belt. 

Keeping Cool Getting to the Interview

No matter what type of job you are interviewing for during the summer, you'll want to follow a few guidelines. If you have long hair, wear it up so that it doesn't rest on your neck, which could make you feel hotter. Make sure to apply deodorant or antiperspirant. 

Most importantly, allow yourself plenty of time to arrive punctually. Hurrying in the heat will make you look, and feel, frazzled. If you can drive, do so. You'll be able to sit in your air-conditioned car with your jacket hanging, lint and wrinkle-free, on a hanger until minutes before your meeting.

If you cannot drive yourself, shoot for a cab or Uber, Lyft, or other ride-sharing option, if possible, for a hopefully speedy and air-conditioned ride.

If you take public transportation or walk, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time. There is nothing that will tatter your turnout quicker than rushing through city streets trying to make connections in order to make it to your interview on time.

Well-planned transportation to your interview will give you the time to compose yourself, review questions you may be asked, questions you would like to ask, and any other notes, rather than rushing and feeling stressed about your arrival time.

Bring a bottle of water with you, so you don't get overheated, and give yourself some extra time so you can freshen up in the restroom before the interview. Running cool water on your hands and wrists, and dabbing some on the back of your neck, can help you cool down quickly. Consider bringing a handkerchief, bandana, or moist wipes to help yourself cool down when you arrive at your destination. 

Interview Etiquette All Year Round

During the summer, as well as other times of the year, there are a few things to remember.

  • Women need to make sure that their skirts are of conservative length when sitting as well as standing, and their blouses are not cut too low.
  • Be sure you don't overdo it with your makeup, and stay away from heavy fragrances.
  • Make sure your shoes shine, and your clothes are pressed.
  • Your portfolio or briefcase (which should contain your resume, notepad, working pen, and breath mints) must be clean as well.
  • Do not chew gum, wear sunglasses or hats, or have your headphones around your neck when you show up to an interview. 
  • Make sure to put your phone on silent (not vibrate) during an interview and keep it stowed during the interview. 

Regardless of the weather, take the time to pay careful attention to all the details of your interview outfit. This is your best opportunity to make that all-important great first impression.