What should you wear to an interview?

Going to a job interview can be nerve-wracking, from trying to make the right first impression to make sure you say the right things, there’s a lot going through your mind at any given point.

Which is why it’s important that you choose something to wear that gives you best possible head start. The right clothes can help make that initial first impression much easier to get right, put you at ease and ultimately help the whole interview process run a lot more smoothly.

Choosing the right look

You need to make sure that in your interview you not only look presentable but that you’re also comfortable.

Being uncomfortable can really hinder your confidence in an interview situation. It makes you more easily distracted and can prevent you from truly focussing on getting your point across and giving the best account of yourself to your potential new employer.

You should choose an outfit that keeps you cool and comfy but also relevant to the interview. If you’re a white-collar professional, suit every time. The number of times I have interviewed candidates and they don’t dress relative to their role!! If you’re a tradesman, get yourself some new workwear! We know you’ve worked hard, get dirty and have worn the knees out installing floors or battered boots. It doesn’t give you an excuse to look shabby and sites like SimonJersey.com are a great choice if you need a stylish but affordable option.

The key should be to pick something you look and feel confident in but is made of fabrics that aren’t going to be heavy and uncomfortable. Look for materials such as linen or polyester blends as opposed to thick woollen fabrics to help regulate temperature, especially in a meeting room when the heating is on or during a hot summer’s day.

Suiting choices

The simplest way to create a professional look is through a suit. Finding the right suit can help you feel more confident going into an interview and ensure you look your absolute best, which goes a long way to creating the right first impression.

A suit may not be the right cut for you, so it’s important that you plan ahead of your interview to find the right shape and potentially even give yourself enough time for any alterations you might need to be made to ensure your suit fits properly. Think long term as well. Is this a throwaway choice for the interview or an investment into your future?

Having your suit altered will likely have a cost associated with it, so make sure you budget accordingly when putting your suit together.

The wrong right accessories

Your suit should be the starting point, you can then add a touch of your own personal flair with different accessories and accent colours.

The key here isn’t to choose anything too gaudy or jarring. When it comes to accessories like ties or pocket squares opt for simple patterns and colours that pop against your suit without being too glaring. Remember the important point is that you feel comfortable and confident in whatever you wear.

If you’re a fan of the double cuff, go for some interesting cufflinks but again tone it back a bit. No one wants to see naked women cufflinks, sports teams or anything that can highlight a future issue. Understated but stylish goes a long way and those pair of cufflinks that your partner/child bought you, may be the conversation you really need.

Don’t neglect your choice of footwear either, shoes can really help complete your outfit. Make sure they are clean and free from any scuffs, scratches or damage.

Alternatives to suits

In some situations, you might not necessarily need to wear a suit. Trousers, shirt and tie are almost necessities for an interview. However, there are alternatives to wearing a suit jacket which might help you to feel more comfortable.

A thin jumper or woollen top over the top of the shirt can create a more relaxed, yet still professional look but again it’s relative to the role. 

If you’re unsure, visit the workplace the day before and have a look when people are on their lunch break. Suit if you’re not sure after this.

You might also be told prior to your interview that you don’t need to turn up in a suit and to simply wear something more relaxed and comfortable. While this sounds like a great idea it makes sense to make sure you still look presentable, smart jeans, shoes and a shirt are a great choice for a more relaxed look which still creates a good first impression. Add the suit jacket if you still feel a bit under dressed and then it’s smart consultant look 🙂

Whatever outfit you decide to attend your interview in you should feel confident wearing. This can help you feel more relaxed and put you in the right mindset to wow your prospective employer.