When teaching, you’re going to want to dress casually and be comfortable. After all, you’ll be on your feet most of the day – in the classroom and out on duty. Save the casual business attire for your time in the classroom.

To interview for a teaching position, you’ll need to dress up in more traditional and formal clothing. That means wearing the kind of clothing you would wear to a Meet the Teacher Night or to a college or school meeting if you were receiving an award.

Here’s how to dress for success, literally.

Formal Business Attire

Consider wearing a suit for your interview. It’s the first clothing choice for both men and women. Most suits tend to be navy or black, but don’t despair that their understated look is boring. Add a touch of color with a bright blouse, scarf or tie.

Don’t have a suit? Most colleges and universities now have a “Clothing Bank” in which they lend you a suit for your first interview. Another option is to borrow one from a friend or neighbor.

If you don’t have a suit, try pairing coordinating colors with a blazer or sports jacket. A solid colored dress works well with a cardigan. At the minimum, though, men should wear a button down shirt and women should cover their shoulders and cleavage.


Wear your dress shoes, but make sure you can walk in them. Closed-toe shoes are the most appropriate choice for women, and that way you’ll never have to worry about chipped or faded nail polish.

Clean and shine your shoes for a polished look.


Choose a colorful neck tie or scarf and you won’t need many accessories. One fun necklace is okay, but leave the rest of the bling at home. For the interview, wear smaller earrings and limit the number of rings and bracelets you wear. The one go to accessory is a watch. A watch on the wrist shows that you care about time and appearance.

Perfumes, Colognes and Deodorants

A splash of your favorite perfume or cologne may invigorate you, but it can also overwhelm the interviewing committee, especially if they are hyper-sensitive to fragrances. Even deodorants and hair products can trigger the interviewer’s allergies, so it’s better to go light on the fragrances.

Do your homework ahead of time, visit the district’s website and look for the employee handbook. You’ll find a dress code for teachers. Following this guide will have you looking like the right fit for the school you interview with.


WAFA HOZIEN, PH.D. has served in numerous roles for over 20 years in PK12 education. Presently she teaches graduate students in the Educational Leadership Department at Central Michigan University. She researches on issues affecting educational equity, practices and opportunity, including curriculum and assessment with a focus on minority student experiences in public schools. Dr. Hozien can be reached at: Hozie1w@cmich.edu.