Q&A: Should you wear a black suit for an interview?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The colour of suit you choose to wear to an interview sends a message that says a lot about you. It can influence the impression the human resource representative or the recruiter conducting the interview has of you. If you're preparing for an upcoming interview, it's important to learn about the significance of different colours for interview attire, including whether it's suitable to wear a black suit. In this article, we discuss the suitability of a black suit for an interview and answer several other questions about the most ideal colours to wear to an interview and why.

Read more: What to wear to an interview

Should you wear a black suit for an interview?

You can wear a black suit to an interview because the colour black represents leadership, exclusivity and sophistication. It also communicates professionalism, power and authority. Many companies and brands recognise it as a safe pick for an interview, especially for conservative positions and high-powered positions such as supervisory positions. You can combine it with other friendly and subtle colours, like grey and white.

It's important to consider other factors when choosing to wear the colour black for an interview. Some people consider black a colour of authority, so it may not be the best fit when you're applying for entry-level positions like an assistant, retail or customer service.

What colours to wear to corporate business interviews

When attending an interview in corporate organisations that have strict business dress codes, like law firms and finance and investment banks, always choose colours that convey your professionalism and ability to fit into the position you're interviewing for. Go for colours that express your confidence and allow your interviewer to concentrate on your skills rather than on your style. Dark-coloured suits such as black, grey, navy, brown, charcoal, or suits with discreet patterns like thin pinstripes and a white shirt are a safe choice for these kinds of interviews.

It's also important to choose neutral colours over bright ones when attending business interviews that have a stricter dress code. You can still touch up your attire by incorporating modest and eye-catching colours that compliment your look. You can wear a grey suit with a colourful button-down shirt, or you can wear a grey suit with a white button-down shirt and a tie with simple stripes to make you look stylish and sophisticated. You can also use colour in accessories such as cuff links or jewellery. Always confirm that your outfit looks clean, wrinkle-free and fits well.

What colours to wear for a casual business interview

If you're attending an interview for a creative job position such as fashion, advertising, journalism or any other casual interview, wearing a suit is not really necessary. You can wear suit pieces separately by picking a neutral colour like brown or white and mix your skirts, trousers or blazers to create a professional or polished look. The most important thing is that you dress neatly and suitably for the interview. You do this by avoiding putting on caps, shorts, hats or any clothing material with graphics on it.

In situations where you're interviewing for a senior position and you still want to look professional, even in your casual workplace, you can wear a suit that has a less traditional style. You can choose colours like purple or royal blue and accessorise to show your creative prowess. For non-profit organisations, you can wear softer colours like pale blue to convey a bit of your personality. You can also still wear black because it's a good interview colour overall. It's professional and very easy to style.

Related: How to succeed in an informal interview

What colours to wear to a video interview?

Colours have a subtle influence on people, even on screen. The colour(s) you choose to wear to a video interview can have a great impact on how your interviewer perceives you as a candidate. Choose neutral colours like black, grey, white or brown. Even green and purple can work when perfectly blended. Bright colours like red, orange and yellow may be too light or too bright, making the patterns seem too busy on the video screen. This can pose a distraction to your interviewers and hinder them from focusing on your responses.

Another thing to consider while preparing for a video interview are the colours in your background. These colours can also affect mood and impact perception, not just the colours of the clothing. If you have a light-coloured or white background behind you and you want to appear more three-dimensional, you can choose to wear a darker colour to help you stand out.

Read more: How to succeed in a virtual interview

What is the significance of different colours in an interview?

Different colours might convey different messages. How you present yourself and the choice of colour you decide to wear to your interview signifies your respect for that role. Here are the different meanings of colours:

Black

People associate black with leadership, and it's a very classy and commanding colour for interviews. It's an excellent choice for conservative work environments. It communicates power, sophistication, glamour, authority, exclusivity and even drama. Try to complement this colour choice within your outfit properly, so that people do not see it as unapproachable.

Blue

This is one of the best colours to wear for an interview. It exudes confidence and knowledge, whether you're wearing a brighter or a darker shade. Blue colours portray trust and inspire confidence. It communicates to your interviewer that you're a team player. It's also associated with wisdom, trust, peace, security, integrity, stability and business.

Grey

This is a great neutral colour. It signifies that you're logical or analytical in your reasoning. Wearing a grey suit to an interview will communicate that you're capable and self-sufficient in your thinking. It evokes neutrality, sophistication, independence and youthful strength. Grey can also exude power, though it doesn't come across as strongly as wearing a black suit for interview.

White

Making white part of your attire for an interview is a wise choice. White communicates cleanliness, honesty and simplicity. It also portrays a sophisticated, detail-oriented, organised and self-confident candidate. This colour choice may convey that you are confident in winning the position you're vying for.

Brown and red

These are two pleasant colours you can wear for an interview, but they may send mixed messages to the interviewer. The colour brown signifies dependability, warmth and safety, while also being old-fashioned. The colour red communicates passion, strength, energy and power, but also aggressiveness.

Orange, green, yellow and purple

These are not necessarily ideal choices of colour for a job interview, as they may appear unprofessional or overly confident. People associate orange colours with flamboyant, youthful and loud. The colour green signifies health, wealth, nature and calm. The colour yellow exudes energy, abundance, cheerfulness and caution while the colour purple communicates royalty, mystery, luxury, creativity and wisdom.

What are the most ideal colours to wear for an interview?

Neutral colours like black, brown, blue, grey and white are the best colours overall to wear for an interview. Below are some reasons these colours are great options for your interview:

  • Black: This colour is flattering and can make you feel more confident. You can wear it for any interview, especially for powerful positions because of its significance.

  • Blue: Navy blue is also one of the flattering colours that can make you feel great and boost your morale. It blends with different colours because it's closer to black, so when you're interviewing for a creative position, this is a great colour choice.

  • Brown: The colour brown is a rich and calm colour to wear for an interview. It can easily blend with most colours. Be mindful of how you match it so it doesn't appear old-fashioned.

  • Grey: If you're looking for a colour that can give you a powerful look and also create a soft image of yourself, you can choose grey. It's a calm, neutral and flattering colour.

  • White: White is a safe colour that can match perfectly with any powerful colour you might opt to wear to your interview. It works well as a supplement to your suit rather than from head to toe.

Related: How to sell yourself in an interview

What are some less ideal colours to wear for an interview?

Below are some of the worst colours to wear for an interview:

  • Orange: This is one colour to avoid for your interview. It may convey unprofessionalism and could shock an employer.

  • Red: Wearing red to an interview is a risky choice to make. It conveys both positive and negative messages. Be mindful to incorporate this colour in a way that comes across positively as an accent.

  • Multi-colours: Too many patterns or multiple colours may be distracting. You want your interviewer to focus on your answers rather than your fashion sense.

Related: What not to wear to an interview (and what to wear instead)


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