Casual Interview Outfits | How to Dress for Success 

You only get one chance to make a first impression on potential employers. The trick is to find a balance between looking like you are dressing for the prom and being overly casual.

Finding casual interview outfits can be challenging, but it doesn’t necessarily have to break your budget. Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona can help you get gently used interview-appropriate outfits at a price you can afford. What should you look for, though?

What Not to Wear to a Job Interview

A good start is acknowledging the things you shouldn’t buy for a job interview. For example, jeans are comfortable casual wear and readily available at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona. Buy them to wear around the house but not for a job interview.

You also don’t want to overdress. You would not purchase a cocktail dress or a tux for the interview either. Save those nice clothes for special occasions.

Finally, make sure what you do buy fits well. Loose-fitting clothing looks sloppy. Clothes that are too tight will make you look nervous or uncomfortable and may be too revealing.

Keep it modern. In other words, choose clothes for 2022 and not 1950. This is more of a guideline than a rule, though. It should be okay if you enjoy vintage clothing and can find something that fits well and looks the part. Vintage or retro isn’t the same as dated, especially in business wear.

Male Clothing Choices for a Job Interview

Both men and women need just a few basic pieces to look their best when applying for a new job.

Handsome bearded man in a jacket and shirt on a gray background.

Jacket and Pants

Unless you know that the company dresses in formal business wear, you don’t need a fancy suit. Instead, look for something that is more business casual. It doesn’t have to be a matched suit set this way.

Start with a light-colored blazer and pants that coordinate with it. Next, you might choose a tan or khaki color to avoid looking too formal with black or grey. Navy is also a good color choice. You can match it with a variety of coordinating pieces.

If you are having problems finding a light-colored blazer when shopping at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, go with a dark one with coordinating light-colored pants.

smiling man wearing casual sweater

The Sweater Look

If you feel like a jacket is too much, then look for a nice sweater that you can wear over a button-down shirt. Choose something in a neutral color to give you more options when matching other pieces, such as brown, black, or navy. They will look sharp with almost any colored shirt and tie.

man standing with his arms crossed wearing button down shirt and khakis

Button-Down Shirt

A nice button-down shirt is next on your must-have list. The color will depend on what else you are wearing. Choose something with a collar, though. You can choose anything from the classic white dress shirt to something bolder and more stylish. Even a nice patterned shirt is a practical choice; avoid slogans or something too bright.

Pro-tip: Buy more than one button-down shirt at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona. You will want a spare just in case something happens. Also, pick them in multiple colors so you can mix and match them as needed.

man wearing dress shirt with tie


Yes, you need a tie. It doesn’t have to be boring but avoid novelty ties or something too flashy. Preferably, you would get one that you tie yourself. If you think you won’t be able to pull off tying it, though, a clip-on is a better choice.

You might also want to pick up two or more ties. This gives you choices and a spare if you need to change for some reason.

Female Clothing Choices for a Job Interview

Ladies have several options for casual interview outfits from Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona.

young woman smiling in bright colored blazer jacket

Business Suit

Women can go the same path as men and opt for a blazer, matching blouse, pants, or a skirt. For example, you might choose a khaki jacket, a pink button-down blouse, and a black pencil skirt. A navy skirt or pants is a must-have clothing item for women because you can mix and match them for casual or more formal occasions.

woman standing in business casual black dress

Black Dress

A lovely black dress is another classic choice for women. You can jazz it up with a piece of vintage jewelry from Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona for the perfect look. If the dress is sleeveless, look for a jacket or sweater to wear over it.

You will also want tights or hose to wear under it. For instance, pair the dress with nice textured tights for a modern but professional look. Look for a subtle pattern, though, and a solid color. The goal is to add texture and interest, not make the outfit flashy.

Businesswoman waiting for job interview in black pant suit

Black Dress Pants

If you want to skip the tights, consider black dress pants and a patterned, matching sweater. Choose something geometric for a sharp look. Stay away from anything that has a slogan or brand name on it.

A print cardigan goes well with dress pants, too. Don’t pick anything too bold. Look for a subtle pattern or a two-tone print. You can put a nice colored top under the sweater that ties the outfit together.

woman smiling in an office room wearing long dress

A Tasteful Dress

There is nothing wrong with a nice dress in a color other than black, too. Look for something that fits you well and is in a muted color, such as turquoise or deep red. It can have a pattern but stay away from anything too busy. A simple stripe or modern geometric is perfect.

What About Shoes?

While shopping at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona for casual interview outfits, check out the shoe section. Ideally, you will wear a nice pair of business shoes or pumps for women. Stay away from casual sneakers or high heels. You want to be comfortable and look professional at the same time.

Make sure your shoes fit you well and that you can walk in them. You don’t want to go into the interview hobbling because your feet hurt or tripping over loose-fitting shoes.

Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona has a variety of clothes for people of all sizes and for every occasion. Gently used clothing isn’t just good for your budget. It also helps cut back on garbage in landfills. Find out more about what Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona has to offer by visiting our website today.

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.

*Daily deals are valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott, and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details. Dollar Day pricing adjustment goes into effect on Jan. 5, 2023.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center.