Question: "I have been asked to come in for an interview with a
company that has a very casual work environment. What should I wear to make the best possible impression, and should I worry about being overdressed?"
Answer: First of all, congratulations! You now have the opportunity to make a great first impression on your potential employer. Workplace attire has undergone significant changes in the last few years, and more and more workplaces are relaxing their dress codes for their employees. With this said, you must keep in mind that you are a candidate, and even the most casual of dress codes do not apply to you just yet. A good rule of thumb for dressing for an interview is to dress one or two steps above the company's enforced dress code.
Before you mentally assemble your interview outfit, double check to make sure that the interviewer or the hiring manager did not give instructions on what you are expected to wear. Forgetting - if not ignoring - instructions on what to wear to the interview can raise issues on your ability to take direction.
If you did receive instructions on what to wear and the interviewer says to come in jeans, do so. However, make sure to wear your best and most basic pair. Avoid jeans that are embellished with beading, embroidery and tears or styled faded spots. As trendy as these may be, they are not appropriate for job interviews.
If you have not been given any instructions on what to wear, business casual is your best bet. For men, collared shirts and pressed khakis (such as Dockers) are standard, while dress pants or a tailored skirt matched with a collared blouse would be a good choice for ladies. Some candidates who wish to put their best feet forward feel they can only effectively do this if they are wearing business attire. This works for many companies, even if their dress code is more on the casual side. If you realize at the interview that you dressed too formally, be honest and tell the interviewer up front you are aware you are overdressed for the work environment, but chose to dress up for the interview out of respect. When approached in this manner, most employers would understand.
Good luck with your interview!