DRESSING FOR A JOB INTERVIEW
Having a job interview can be stressful enough, without worrying about getting your outfit just right. If ever there was a moment to care about your grooming and appearance, it's certainly an interview, but it doesn't need to be over-complicated. Although the saying holds true that it's better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, you don't want to end up feeling out of place in the wrong interview attire. It's time to demystify dressing for an interview and get that sleek, smart and hireable look down to a T. Of course, it all depends on the type of interview.
LinkThere’s a good chance you’re now well-practised at dressing for video calls and Zoom meetings, but video interviews require a little step up in formality. You're looking to impress, after all. We’d advise against tracksuit bottoms and slippers on the bottom half, just in case you do end up on your feet – and because smart, matching trousers get you in the right headspace. Because you don't get that initial 'walk up, handshake and hello' moment, it's also harder to make a big first impression over a video call. So you might want to reconsider a plain, understated shirt and think instead of bold, solid colours, a more eye-catching tie or perhaps a jacket that brings texture. Zoom or no Zoom, what you wear on the top half still depends on the role and the industry, so take your sartorial cues from that.
Do: Create a whole outfit to get yourself in the interview mindset.
Spend time on hair and facial hair grooming, as your face is front and centre.
Don't: Underdo it – you want to make as much of an impression as you can via a small screen.
Forget to 'dress' your background appropriately too. You can keep it totally blank, or have a few things visible as long as it's not cluttered (your bed should be made, and art and books should be appropriate). Otherwise, opt for a subtle faux background – no novelty backgrounds, please.
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Sharp tailoring for a sharp brain. A dark-coloured suit , a tie, and a dress shirt are classic interview attire, especially in more-traditional firms with strict hierarchies – think, the banking sector, large corporate businesses and managerial roles. Most interviews will be in a formal setting, and if you are unsure it is always better to be overdressed. Your suit should fit you well and be navy blue or charcoal grey . If it's chilly, you could add a cashmere jumper in a complementary colour as a layer (but never a cardigan). For job interview outfits stick to neutral colours for your shirt and accessories – a white shirt will always look right and a novelty tie will always look wrong. From the moment you enter the working environment, you're on display, so although it's good to be weather appropriate, try to opt for a smarter coat – a wool or pea coat will work well. If it's raining cats and dogs outside, a gentleman's umbrella is infinitely preferable to wet hair or a hooded, outdoorsy waterproof (unless you're interviewing for an outdoor-focused company). On the other hand, if it's warm, you want to avoid wearing pieces that will be uncomfortable and sweaty. We recommend a lightweight, breathable material with good crease resistance (i.e. not linen), like our non-iron Henley weave shirts or designs featuring the Tyrwhitt Cool technology for maximum breathability.
Do: Think about creasing (sorry linen, you're temporarily demoted). Our Travel Suit , for example, is made for the man on the move, so it's lightweight and ultra crease-resistant. Choose sharp dress shoes – Oxfords , brogues or smart, lace-up boots work well.
Don't: Forget about your outerwear and accessories, including your coat, scarf and, if necessary, brolly. Worry if you feel over-dressed compared to others in the office or premises. Today, you're here to stand out and impress that hiring manager!
SUITS ARE A MUST
SMART CASUAL INTERVIEW
This is where people start to get confused about job interview clothes. The key thing to remember is that you are still better off erring on the side of safety (you can take a look at The Definitive Guide to Smart Casual here) and that means no jeans, and no t-shirts. Chinos or wool trousers and polished shoes should cover your bottom half; a shirt is still required on top, although you may lose the tie. Finally, a blazer or jacket will give your job interview outfit a professional finish and you should feel free to add a colourful socks to pull your look together.
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Many industries these days stress the 'casual' nature of the interview, especially for creative businesses and roles. But there's casual and there's casual. Job interview casual is a little different to pub-wear and loungewear. We know a shirt might not scream ‘casual’, but there is little else conventional about this outfit. By choosing different patterns, weaves or fabrics – a striped shirt, or chambray button-down, perhaps a knitted Merino blazer – all the elements are immediately dressed down yet still appropriate for a job interview outfit, because you look smart, stylish and put-together. If it's warm, you could opt for top button undone, sleeves effortlessly and elegantly rolled up, or perhaps a linen shirt (although beware the creases). If you've gone for a jacket, you could show off a splash of personality with a pocket square . In winter, perhaps your shirt collar will peek over your smart knit and bring a pop of pattern to the look. For shoes, depending on the industry and setting, you may be able to move to a sleek, leather trainer (although sparkling clean of course), or perhaps smart leather or suede loafers .
Do: Opt for separates rather than a whole suit. Feel free to bring bright colours or patterns into play.
Don't: Mistake business casual for real-life casual (no flip-flops, no shorts, no more than one button undone). Be too laid-back with your grooming and finishing touches. Your hair and beard should be smart and in shape.