Knowing how to dress for a job interview can be challenging in any kind of weather. But figuring out what to wear when the you dress for hot weather job interviews can be particularly daunting. You want to look professional, but you don’t want to melt in a dark, heavy suit.
Luckily, there are strategies that can help you stay cool, or at least more comfortable, during hot weather interviews.
Know the Workplace Culture
First, know the company. Many factors influence the dress code, including geography, industry or workplace culture. Certain industries, such as finance, law, and government lean toward a more conservative dress code. More creative industries, such as advertising, entertainment, and technology are often a bit more flexible.
In general, it’s best to err on the side of overdressing. Dressing professionally, even if it seems as if the workplace is a little more casual, sends the message that you’re serious about the job and conscientious about your appearance.
In more conservative industries:
For conservative or traditional workplaces, men wear suits, ties, and closed toe shoes, even in hot weather. But you can swap heavy woolen suits for unlined, lightweight materials that breathe well and hold their shape. For men, this includes suits made of linen and wool blends.
For women, natural fibers like cotton or silk blended with artificial materials like polyester or Lycra work well. Women also have the advantage of opting for dresses and skirts over pants. While anything with spaghetti straps or slinky fabric should be avoided, it’s acceptable for women to wear sleeveless dresses paired with a blazer as long as they don’t show too much skin. Hemlines should also be kept at or below the knee. Fortunately, it’s becoming acceptable for women to go without pantyhose in most workplaces these days. But if you’re at all worried, it’s better to wear them and be safe than sorry.
In creative industries:
For more relaxed office cultures and creative industries, man and women both have some leeway, which gives you the option to dress a little more comfortably. This isn’t to say that anything goes. There’s a level of propriety in any workplace. Clothes that make too bold a statement or reveal too much skin are always a no-no. And cleanliness is always a requirement in every workplace. Clothes should never be wrinkled, stained or shabby.
Chances are, the offices where you’ll be interviewing will be air-conditioned, so your primary concern will be to stay cool in before your arrival.
Even though you may be wearing a jacket or cardigan to the interview, there’s no need to put it on until you get to your destination. In the best-case scenario, you would drive to your interview in an air-conditioned car with your jacket neatly hanging in the back seat. But if this isn’t an option, and you’re taking the bus or train, try to drape your coat over your arm to avoid wrinkling it on your way there.
- Bring a cold bottle of water to stay hydrated during the trip and keep a handkerchief handy to dab away perspiration.
- Give yourself plenty of time to arrive comfortably and early to an interview. Rushing only raises your temperature and exacerbates your discomfort.
- Make sure you have time before the interview to refresh in the washroom, cool down and collect your thoughts in the reception area.
If you’re going to nail an interview, looking great is only part of the equation; you’ve got to feel great too.