The Power of Color: Choosing a Suit for Your Interview

There are few decisions as nerve-wracking as picking out the best suit color for a job interview. You want to dress for success without breaking the bank, and you’ll need to make a great impression, too. You want to look suave and sophisticated, but you also want to come across as approachable and personable. 

Luckily, you have our team of expert tailors to help! Today, Oliver Wicks will power up your style game with all the tips, tricks, and know-how you need to pick the perfect interview ensemble every time, effortlessly.

Suit Colors and Mood

Colors affect our emotions, whether we realize it or not. Think for a moment about how a red or yellow kitchen could seem homely and inviting, but a bright bedroom would be too energetic and lead to restless nights. 

While the colors we choose to wear can be more subtle than the paint on a wall, the same principles apply. Whether it’s fair or not, first impressions carry a powerful statement all of their own, and people can and do judge your style choices as a measure of your personality and professionality, too. 

Would you entirely trust an undertaker wearing a bright pink suit? While it’s no real statement on his skills or ability to do the job compassionately and well, you’d still be left with the initial impression that this so-called industry pro can’t ‘read a room’ and treat his clients with care at a difficult time. There’s a true art in knowing when to express yourself through color, and when to tone it down to match the mood of the occasion. 

Nowhere is this more important than a job interview! A job interview isn’t just about your skills, but about how well you will work in a team, fit the organization’s ideals, and act as an ‘avatar’ for the business in your dealings with clients and the public. How you conduct yourself—from your wardrobe choices to your overall attitude—will play a huge part in whether you make that critical first impression the right way.

With this in mind, let’s look at the sartorial statement that some suit colors make. Of course, these are just guidelines! We advise you to also spend a little time before your interview researching the company and their go-to dress code, too.

While you should always dress ‘up’ for an interview, rather than exactly match what you would wear to the office daily, building your interview ensemble around the basic look of the positions you’re interviewing for is a smart start. 

While typical job-centric dress advice is ‘dress for the job you want’, you should handle this with caution in an interview. Dressing like middle management for an entry-level interview, for example, could make them discount you as overqualified and expecting too much. So, balance these aspects with care.

  • Black: Black is sophisticated and exclusive, but also austere and powerful. While this might work for a top managerial position, it would be too ‘cold’ for customer-facing roles, and wearing it to entry-level position interviews may make you seem too much like a try-hard (or the venue staff). It’s better for funerals and weddings than job interviews. 
  • Blue: Navy, in particular, is one of the best color suits for an interview. It’s sophisticated and elegant without the austerity of black. You’ll seem more approachable and like a team player, while still hinting at independence and the ability to think on your feet. While a different shade of blue can still work, we’d advise keeping it darker for this scenario.
  • Gray: Like navy, gray is one of the best suit colors for an interview. It is seen as logical and analytical, but also smart and put-together.
  • Brown: Brown is reliable and dependable, but also a little dated in men’s fashion. It could make you look too old-fashioned for some cutting-edge fields, and may be too ‘old’ a choice for many positions, no matter your real age.

As a very vibrant color, red makes you look passionate and powerful, but only in small doses. It’s best left for a tie or accessories if you’re interviewing for ‘go-getter’ type positions. Fun colors are fantastic for fashionability, but not for an interview—they will come across as inappropriate and unprofessional. Stick to the classic men’s neutrals for this one!

What Type of Suit Do You Pick for an Interview?

There are two more tips to remember here. The formality of your suit should reflect the formality of the position applied for. Some cutting-edge tech and creative fields will expect to see someone break the mold a little, while it could shoot you in the foot at more traditional companies/positions. 

Likewise, the darker the suit, the more formal, so you mostly want to err on the dark side here. Lighter colors may be ok for more relaxed interviews, even with a slight patterning, but handle this with care. And when in doubt, dress up, not down.

Let’s revisit the pattern question here. Pinstripe suits remain the ultimate power suit for high-status executive roles. So, if you’re being headhunted by a top competitor for a spot on the board, it could be the power move you need to ace that first impression! However, for most situations, a plain navy or charcoal suit will be the best color suit for job interviews. Patterns can read a little cocky or overconfident otherwise.

In general, you will be best served with a classic two-piece business suit in a solid neutral for any interview. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you wearing bold pinstripes once the job is yours! Three-pieces risk looking dated or flamboyant. And, needless to say, this isn’t the place for a tux!

What is the Best Color for an Interview?

So, what is the best color suit for an interview? Hands down, navy and charcoal/mid-gray win the day. They’re friendly and welcoming enough to make you seem an approachable team player, but neutral and sophisticated enough to show that you can stand on your own feet and get the job done. Choosing either will show that you can read the mood of a room and dress appropriately when called on, even in less formal workplaces. You simply can’t go wrong with one of these two!

Charcoal Pick & Pick suit by Oliver Wicks

Again, we do advise taking some time to ‘scope out’ your potential new workplace. What’s best in the workplace varies a lot from industry to industry. While we’d still advise a smart basic neutral, like charcoal or navy, for any interview, to show you understand the formality and offer respect, a very trendy or arty/tech role might need you to show some personality in smaller aspects of your dress, while a very staid and traditional company will need a mood to match.

In general, build your job interview look around solid neutrals, with a splash or two of color in small places if it seems appropriate.

Colors and Suits to Avoid for an Interview

While you will occasionally see black suits recommended for job interviews, the expert Oliver Wicks team has spent many years dedicated to the art of dressing well for men. And hands down, black tends to read as either austere and somber or utilitarian and workaday. It’s also a go-to color for many happy events, like weddings. None of those are the moods you want to take into a job interview, so it’s best avoided if at all possible. The same goes for browns of all shades, with the possible exception of university roles (‘old’, ‘staid’, ‘dull’) and bright colors (‘unprofessional’, ‘irreverent’, ‘inappropriate’).

Patterns, as we’ve mentioned, can be tricky indeed. They either come across as very powerful or all too festive. Unless you are very confident that your pattern will be read the right way, leave it for a day in the office.

The number one suit to avoid for your interview? One that fits badly. If you have a beautifully tailored mid-gray suit that fits like a glove, don’t rush out and buy a poorly fitted navy one for your interview! Small details—like the fit—will speak very loudly indeed in the interview room, and the last thing you want is to look sloppy and unkempt. 

Not sure how to fit yourself for a suit? Remember the Oliver Wicks slogan—the fit that suits you. We’ve prepared a handy video guide that will have you measured perfectly for a suit in minutes. You can access this—and tons of other style tips and tricks—as bonus content with an account on our website, no purchase needed! So, be sure to sign up today, and you’ll always have the confidence of knowing you look great in your suit, especially if it’s an Oliver Wicks custom!

How to Match the Suit Color to Your Personal Style and Ambition

Does a job interview always mean dressing dully? In a way, yes. Remember, this is your vetting ‘pass’ to get a foot in the door, so it’s not the best place to go wild and experiment unless you have supreme confidence that your interviewer is looking for that vibe. Remember these basics

  • Solids over patterns
  • Neutrals over brights
  • Classics over trends
  • Fit over everything else

When in doubt, play it safe. However, you can use small and subtle additions—especially your tie choice—to show some ambition and personality. Even something as small as a vibrant pocket square or textured suit lining could be enough to make an extra statement in your favor.

In general, bold color choices speak of ambition, especially in the red and rust family. Something unexpected could be enough to make you stand out in the right way when it’s well-balanced. You don’t really want to fade into the background in a job interview. 

Remember you will be one of many candidates—forgettable is not the aim here! But if you’re a naturally shy or low-key person, don’t be afraid to choose solid and time-tested combinations (like our blue and navy tie) to look sophisticated without commanding the floor.

Sky blue striped navy silk tie by Oliver Wicks


What color suit is best for an interview? Now you know! With this handy guide to help, we hope you feel fully empowered to make the right choice for your new job role. Remember, the helpful Oliver Wicks team is only an email away, so, if you need, feel free to reach out to us at to help you find the perfect suit to ace your interview. Good luck!