What to wear when traveling for an interview

What is the best way to dress for a business casual interview when you have to travel 1500 miles to get there? Reader black sheath dressJ asks….

I have two interviews coming up next month, and I have to travel several states away for each one. I was told the dress is business casual so I know I don’t need a suit. I want to show I take the job seriously and dress appropriately but I’m not sure how to do that when I have to take two flights to get there! To make things more complicated, I have to go straight from the airport to one of the interviews. What should I wear?

Great question! Interviews are stressful enough, but traveling for an interview is on a whole different level!

My first inclination would be to wear a suit, so it’s a good thing they told you the dress code. That being said, you should still follow the same guidelines for business casual interview-wear as you do for suits: dress so that the focus is on you and your abilities, not your outfit (paraphrased from Corporette). This means simple and conservative with no distracting details, in the highest quality you can afford.

My suggestions:

Separates. Wearing separates of a different fabric and color or pattern is a great way to look professional without wearing a suit. It also allows you to bring in (small) doses of personality, for example a black sheath dress (pictured) with a colored blazer.

More neutral, less pattern. Just like with suits, the base color of your outfit should be primarily made up of a neutral that is flattering to you—black, brown, navy, gray, or taupe, for example. My favorite neutral is navy, so an example would be navy slacks with a green blouse and a ponte blazer.

Travel friendly. Fabrics good for travel require no ironing, have some stretch, and look good pulled straight from the suitcase. I really like a high quality ponte or jersey knit, as well as pieces made from suiting material that has a bit of Lycra. Luckily, these are very common fabrics for business casual!

Here’s what I would recommend for the interview right after your flight. Don’t wear your interview outfit on the plane—wear something comfortable that you can easily change out of in a restroom. It would be ideal to carry your interview outfit in a hanging bag, but folded carefully in a rollerboard would do in a pinch. Change and touch up your makeup at the airport once you land. This would be a good time to invest in a day pass to an airline lounge—they are typically around $50 and many of them have rooms with showers that you can use to get ready in.

Good luck!!

Readers, have you ever had to travel for an interview? What would you suggest to Reader J?

Be sure to check out my page with products I recommend for travel!

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