Bright colors should generally be avoided, as should jewelry or other accessories. A bit of flair may be acceptable in some industries like fashion or other creative industries, but revealing clothing, very-high heels, and bold-patterned ties, etc. tend to detract. The same goes for make-up. I’ve needed to coach some women to apply makeup more sparingly, at risk of offending their personal fashion sensibilities, but it is simply to avoid risking misjudgment by the interviewer. The goal of the interview being to demonstrate a sense of maturity and professionalism, a first impression that suggests anything less can result poorly for the candidate.
As a rule, dress more conservatively than usual, avoid flamboyant colors and patterns, easily-noticeable brands, notebooks or pens that have children’s anime characters, and be sure that whatever you’ve had for lunch that day does not appear in your teeth or on your shirt. Small things can leave big impressions!
It’s also worth mentioning an experience with a candidate, regarding generational-cultural expectations. A female candidate interviewed with an elderly female European manager. The manager commented afterwards to me that she felt the candidate should not have worn a pant suit to an interview, but a skirt. This indeed was looked upon unfavorably, and a second interview was not offered. What seemed like acceptable dress to our modern Japan business culture, in this case at least, may not come across as professional to those of other cultures and/or generations. Your recruiter ought to be able to provide some insight in this regard; don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
To end, here is an article on business dress, where you can compare your thoughts on appropriate clothing within your company. Do you agree or disagree with any of the points? Tell us!