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Are Khakis Appropriate for an Interview?

by Mercedes Valladares, studioD

As the saying goes, dress for the job you want. Fortunately, for many positions khakis are an appropriate and fashionable choice for interview attire. As you research the company for your interview preparation, delve a bit deeper, gathering office dress code information by reviewing online office photographs or watching employees exit the building. Be creative styling your khaki bottoms and look for tailored pieces for a polished look.

Khaki Silhouette Selection

Starting with the right pair of khakis will help you style the rest of your outfit. Tailored khakis in the proper size will flatter your figure and cotton stretch blends will contour your shape. Look for fitted pants with side seam pockets and a zippered front -- nylon or coil zippers flatten the fly. Avoid wearing inappropriate khakis, such as ultra-skinny, low-rise bottoms with tears. Though on-trend, this silhouette will appear too informal. Avoid wearing slouchy, over-sized khakis, snug bottoms that hug the hips or stretch open pockets as well as cargo styles that have a utility or outdoor connotation.

Know the Industry

Since the interview is the only time you have to convey your talents, avoid distracting ensembles that can detract from your work experience. Pair your khaki pants with a button-down, dress shirt or collared blouse for your interview. If you choose to wear an on-trend metallic blouse for a fashion or other creative industry interview, make sure it is a button-down style with tailored cuffs. You can also layer a khaki shirt-dress to camouflage snug, stretch khaki bottoms and accentuate your waist with a metallic belt. In the fall, belt a long length, buttoned cardigan or tunic sweater to add definition.

Jackets and Blazers

Though a khaki outfit is more relaxed than a business suit, it is important to stay professional. Select a structured jacket or blazer with lapels and set-in sleeves in a solid color. Whether hip level or long length, choose a vibrant color -- turquoise, green or burnt orange -- to accentuate the khaki ensemble. Since khaki is a neutral color that falls within the beige and brown color family, you can also choose pieces within the same color hues. Pair a brown blazer with gold-toned buttons, layered over a tucked in cream-colored mandarin-collared blouse and side-zipped khaki pant for a casual corporate interview.


Though wearing high-heeled sandals or wedges appear elegant and on-trend, it can also convey a message of not taking the opportunity seriously. Try on your khakis with high-heeled, closed-toe shoes, like pumps with a 3-inch heel to ensure the pants are an appropriate length. You can also choose to wear well-kept ballet shoes in a gold metallic to accentuate your look for a fashion or creative-related interview.

About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.

Photo Credits

  • Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images