INTERVIEWS can be extremely nerve-wracking affairs, especially if you’re in the running for your dream job, so doing everything you can to boost your confidence is a good idea – and that includes your outfit.
“A job interview begins with first impressions, and your clothes and grooming are a key part of this,” says Amber Butchart, a fashion historian and expert who has appeared on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee.
Butchart is working with careers app Debut on its ‘Dress to Impress for £10’ campaign, which is currently running and involves more than 650 charity shops.
Representing 42 different charities, each shop will curate a selection of workwear staples priced at £5 each in order to help jobseekers find affordable interview clothing.
“Overall, it’s really important to wear something you feel comfortable, confident and smart in,” Butchart says.
“Your clothes can affect your body language and the way you project yourself to future employers, so it’s of utmost importance that you feel like the best version of yourself.”
Follow the fashion expert’s advice and you can achieve just that. Here, she shares her top tips for sartorial success…
:: Research the dress policy of the company
“This will not only allow you to turn up to the interview properly attired, but will show you’ve taken time and consideration before you’ve even arrived.”
:: Don’t be afraid to wear colour
“…but not too much. A shock of colour can help to make you stand out and make a bold statement, but avoid clashing prints or colours unless your interview is working in the arts or creative industries. (While I am a huge fan of clashing colours and prints, I’m aware not everyone shares my passion!)”
:: A suit isn’t essential
“Smart separates can be better than an ill-fitting or poorly-made suit, so don’t be beholden to the idea that a suit is an essential.
“However, a well-fitting suit in a contemporary cut is always a winner, so don’t be put off by worries that you might look too formal.
:: If in doubt, dress up
“Remember that the interview is how you’re selling yourself, so it’s not unusual to dress slightly more formally than you would for the position itself.
“Avoid jeans and T-shirts unless you are really sure that the company has a relaxed attitude to dress, or actively encourages casual dressing (for example, the tech industry). Even in these cases, it might not be appropriate for an interview.”
:: Choose your shoes carefully
“Shoes are important, but there’s no need to spend a fortune to look appropriate. Avoid open-toed shoes (flip flops are absolutely out), but white, low-rise sneakers (think Adidas Stan Smiths) have become something of a fashion classic in recent years, and can add a fresh, contemporary element to your professional look.
“Don’t feel you have to wear high heels to an interview, but if they make you feel confident, wear them with pride!”
:: Be presentable
“The details matter: make sure your socks match and your clothes aren’t creased as otherwise this could reflect poorly on your organisational skills.
“Everyone should avoid clothing that is too tight or too baggy or too sheer. You want to feel comfortable, presentable and professional.”
Keep it simple with smart separates and timeless tailoring. Here are six outfit ideas from the high street:
:: Wallis Rust Striped Shirt, £35; Black Belted Gold Ring Tapered Trousers, £35
:: Lipsy Wrap Collar Blouse, £25, Next
:: Simply Be Statement Trophy Blazer, £45
:: Dorothy Perkins Multi-Coloured Button Check Print Pencil Skirt, £28
:: Dune Arve Cream Pointed Mid Block Heel Court Shoes, £80
:: Wallis Red Stud Detail Polo Neck Jumper, £26