Trying to dress ‘professionally’ for an interview while still remaining true to yourself can be a difficult balance. But, you actually have a world of options for gender-neutral interview attire. It’s no longer the 1900s; self-expression has come a long way, and it’s naturally bled over into the workplace. So what should your interview outfit be as a non-binary or androgynous individual? In this article, we’ve gathered a bunch of tips on what to wear and what to avoid. So, if you’re in need of some inspiration for gender-neutral interview attire, take a read.
What to wear to interviews when you don’t conform to gender norms
No matter how you identify, you should dress how you feel comfortable and confident. Anyone is free to wear a suit, dress, and anything in between. The important thing to remember is that while your outfit should be interview-appropriate, you still want to show off who you are to employers. But how do you know if your androgynous interview attire is suitable? Here’s our advice:
Research the company
First up, you’ll need to get a feel for the company you’re interviewing with. The simplest way is to just ask the interviewer what the company dress code is. Or, look at their website, Instagram, or LinkedIn. You’ll get a feel for if their dress code is casual, business casual, or formal.
Are you finding examples that don’t include any gender-neutral interview attire? That doesn’t mean that you have to conform and wear a dress and heels if you were assigned female at birth, for example. An interview-appropriate neutral alternative would be a simple shirt and pants combo with closed shoes. An over-shirt or blazer can also add some polish.
Gender-neutral style and fit
Gender-neutral interview attire often follows the same ‘rules’ as gender-specific outfits. In short: your clothes should fit well, be clean, and be in good condition. Check out what to wear to an interview for the full list of guidelines. Now, for the formality of your non-binary interview outfit:
With casual dress codes, it may seem like anything goes, but avoid items that are either too tight, transparent, or short. A good way to figure out if it’s appropriate is to ask yourself if you’d wear that to a club or to the beach. If it’s a yes, change.
This is a bit harder to define. Stick in the middle: avoid casual options like shorts or t-shirts and formal outfits like suits. Cardigans, summer dresses, and button-up shirts are more suitable androgynous interview attire.
Think executive. You’ll want to stick to a button-up shirt or blouse with business pants, with or without a blazer, or a pantsuit.
Gender-neutral interview accessories
It’s best to wear minimal or subtle accessories in interviews. Hats and beanies are a no-go (besides religious coverings). Jewellery and makeup add a nice pop and can complement your outfit; just make sure not to overdo it. Rings and necklaces are some great gender-neutral options, but avoid statement or sparkly pieces. Instead, wear simple yet elegant designs. Worried about your nail polish? Don’t! As long as it’s fairly low-key and neat, it’s fine androgynous interview attire.
These are broad tips, and can vary quite a bit based on your employer's level of ‘professionalism’. Accessories and makeup are common tools of self-expression, so above all else, never sacrifice your individuality. There’s always a way to make that statement necklace or bold lip work as appropriate gender-neutral interview attire - be yourself. Important note: if a job requires you to dress in a way that makes you uncomfortable, it’s not something you’d want anyway. There’ll be another vacancy out there that accepts you for who you are.
Gender-neutral interview attire: TLDR
When planning an interview outfit as a non-binary or gender-nonconforming individual, wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Whether that’s feminine, masculine, or somewhere in between. Our top tips are:
- Get a feel for the company dress code, either by asking directly or researching yourself;
- Wear clean, good-condition clothes that fit well;
- Wear minimal and/or subtle jewellery;
- Always be yourself.
There you have it. The ‘rules’ really aren’t that tough. Just keep in mind the tips above and the formality of the company you’re interviewing for. If you need some more masculine or feminine inspiration, we have articles dedicated to them too. Check out our feminine interview outfit and masculine interview outfit tips. Otherwise, get out there and impress with your androgynous and gender-neutral interview attire.
FAQs about gender-neutral interview attire
What is professional clothing for non-binary individuals?
Do I have to wear masculine or feminine interview attire as a gender-nonconforming person?
You have many choices, depending on how you want to present yourself. Gender-neutral professional clothing generally falls in the middle of the masculine-feminine spectrum, being button-up shirts, jumpers, and vests. If a dress or suit is more your style though, go for it.
No! Firstly, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against individuals for how they identify. Secondly, you should feel comfortable expressing yourself at your (potential) workplace, so wear gender-neutral interview attire that makes you feel confident.
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