So, you've edited your CV, polished up on your small talk and done some digging on the company you're applying for. You're almost ready to go to your job interview. The one thing missing? Your outfit.
Dressing for success is key to making a good first impression, but even the most style-savvy among us may struggle when it comes to picking the perfect interview ensemble. From statement dresses and sharp suits all the way down to footwear, our guide will uncover the looks which will take you from the interview room to the board room. We'll discuss tailoring your style according to whether you're applying for a corporate or creative role, leaving you feeling confident that you'll look the part.
- Research the company's profile and background beforehand.
- Check if anyone in your network has connections to the company.
- Reflect on your most relevant attributes and why they make you the perfect candidate for the role.
Our men's style guide covers much more than just suits... but they're the most crucial thing to get right.
Suits, shirts and trousers
Unless you're attending a super-casual getting-to-know-you interview over a cup of coffee, you're almost certainly going to want to smarten up with a trip to the suits and tailoring department. As long as your suit is clean and well-fitted, you'll seem at home in the work environment – so once you've checked that box you can be optimistic about your chances.
To take your wardrobe up a notch, think about the style and colour of your suit. Navy, black and grey are classic business attire, ideal for setting a tone of conservative charisma. If you feel it's important to make a more unique impression in your interview, try layering a grey suit with a bright shirt and tie. Or, throw on a patterned blue and white shirt under your blue suit.
It's hard to go wrong with a suit. What's trickier is dressing to meet a start-up or creative company which values individuality – how do you show your own style in an appropriate way? Casual doesn't mean you can come in with a slogan T-shirt and bedhead hair. Instead, go for a smart but relaxed look: match a sweater with a button-down shirt, finishing with a fitted blazer. Choose your favourite pair of chinos or even dark jeans for an ensemble that's comfortable and coordinated.
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Men's accessories offer the chance to make a statement out of a formal outfit. A strategically placed pocket square or pair of cuff links might help you stand out in your interviewer's memory. Add flair to your formal attire with a quality watch – show off your personality by opting for either a classic or contemporary design.
When picking the style of your tie it's best to keep it clean. Busy patterns can be distracting, and cartoons are certainly a no-no. Navy, emerald green or warm ochre will add striking colour. Opt for a preppy stripe to diversify the traditional styling of your formal look.
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Last but not least, your shoes. Bad footwear is the cardinal sin of corporate dressing, so go for a safe option. A pair of round-toe leather shoes is the epitome of professionalism. Black or brown lace-ups can be worn with just about any colour suit (yes, even navy). Just make sure you match your socks to your trousers or accessories rather than to your shoes.
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Our women's workwear guide will help you secure your dream job with confidence-boosting attire.
Shirts, statement pieces and more
Women have a little more flexibility than men when it comes to corporate dressing, but there's a lot to be said for good tailoring. Fitted trousers, colourblock blouses and collared shirts are must-haves for anyone with several interviews lined up. They're easy to mix and match, and you'll get endless wear out of them when you do land a job.
You can be professional while letting your own personality shine through. Leave a lasting impression on your interviewer with a smart A-line dress or jumpsuit in a vibrant colour. Wear it with a blazer to put a spring in your step and make for a lasting addition to your work wardrobe. Have fun with prints, and feel free to stray away from neutrals.
Creative roles and casual interviews give you more opportunity to show off your own style. A floral summer dress and cardigan is a relaxed look which makes you seem approachable. You can also wear a smart skirt, but dress it down with a tucked-in plain T-shirt or blouse for an arty ensemble.
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A few women's accessories will help make you memorable to your interviewer. If you've gone bold with your clothes then opt for simple jewellery, and vice versa. An understated white blouse and black trousers can be transformed with a chunky necklace and earrings. For corporate roles, you may want to limit yourself to a pair of studs and an elegant bracelet.
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The ultimate rule of interview dressing is to always wear your shoes in before the big day. That way you can be sure you won't be distracted by them rubbing against your skin.
If you love heels, by all means pick out a new pair that will fill you with confidence. If you prefer to keep things grounded, modest ballerinas or court shoes in a neutral tone are all you need. Your outfit and your skills will speak for themselves.
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