TAILOR YOUR LOOK TO YOUR INDUSTRY, SAYS FASHION BLOGGER
Let’s be honest — interviews are all about judgement. Just as you’re sizing up an employer, they’re scoping you out too. And as much as we wish to be judged on our talent, intelligence heart and soul, what you wear matters. Sorry. Your interviewer will be looking for little hints about your personality and professionalism from what you’ve chosen to put on today. So whatever industry you’re going for, make sure your look is one that’s working for you.
The good news? Get it right and your outfit will actually give you confidence on the day. Joy Venner, who writes on behalf of ASOS, shows you how…
ACCOUNTING, LAW AND FINANCE
What’s the look? Polished perfection. In more conservative industries your clothing should reflect the precision and professionalism you’ll need to show in your work. That means no badly coordinated clothing — and anything creased, frayed or crumpled is a big no-no. Think formal, simple and elegant.
For her: Charcoal grey is big this spring. “Ladies should look for a pencil skirt or slim leg trousers in that colour, worn with a half-tone heel and a cream or emerald angle-sleeved shirt,” says Joy. “Splashes of colour such as a tie or earrings are acceptable but your best bet is to stick with neutral colours.”
For him: Sorry boys, this isn’t the moment to make a statement. “Men working in accounting, law and finance should select a slim fit black, navy or grey suit with a neutral coloured tie. It is best to avoid anything loud or attention-seeking.” Save it for Saturday night.
What’s the look? Modern confidence. This industry is all about selling — and in a sales interview you’re selling yourself. Sales is becoming more casual, but for an interview a suit is still the norm.
For her: “Women will stand out sporting the latest formal trend,” says Joy “Try black skater dress with a double skirt and some black heels with a burgundy or nude blazer in a relaxed fit.”
For him: “Men should go for a charcoal or black slim fit double button suit which can be interchanged with different shirts and wing cap shoes in black leather.”
MEDIA, ADVERTISING AND PR
What’s the look? Chic, not crazy. Yes, creativity is part of the job — and yes, you want to be yourself. Showing personality is good — just don’t overdo it. You don’t want your look to overshadow what you’re saying. — and you’ll need to look smart enough to meet clients or senior colleagues. In media, advertising and PR there is no strict dress code, but if your mum would call any of what you’re wearing “wacky”, you may want to reconsider. Nobody wants to hire Bozo the clown.
For her: “Skinny trousers in cotton twill, red or petrol tones with an poker-dot or boxy striped blouse and Cuban heels or smart leather brogues show style and confidence,” says Joy.
For him: “Slim fit checked trousers with a classic boat shoe or a slim fit suit in black and white Herringbone portray both professionalism and a creative flair.”
FASHION AND ART
What’s the look? Knowing cool. More than in any other industry, your interviewer will scrutinise every inch of your outfit, so make sure your look is up to the task and you’re at least one of the labels you predict they’ll like. Again, restraint is the buzzword here — this isn’t fancy dress. It’s more important to show that you understand clothes, how to put an outfit together and what works well for your colouring and body-type. Avoid “everywhere” trends too. Your look should be so next season, not this season. If you don’t know what that means, buy a copy of Vogue.
For her: “A print, skater skirt in forest green or navy with opaque tights combined with a long sleeved cream shirt with a lace collar and Cuban heels is right in season,” says Joy “combined with a chic metal plate purse or coordinating handbag you’ll show you know what’s current”.
For him: “Men will look dapper in an Oxford shirt — light blue, grey, pink and brown are in this season combined with dark tapered trousers and brown leather brogues.”
GOVERNMENT AND CHARITY
What’s the look? Modern discretion. Government and charity employees are not known for being fashion-forward, but it never hurts to look smart and presentable. Be conservative — not only with your dress code but your accessories, hair and grooming.
For her: “A navy shirt with discreet button detail combined with a navy pencil skirt and T-bar court shoes provides a safe choice with touches of this season’s style,” says Joy. “Or, for a more feminine look try a textured skater dress in navy, black or oatmeal with a waist belt. Team with gradient pointed high heels and a cropped soft blazer for a snappy, modern look.”
For him: “Men should opt for a fitted suit in black polywood with a crisp white shirt and neutral tie or a grey straight leg suit with a white shirt.” If you yearn for a flash of personality, try a subtle jazzy sock.
HR AND MEDICAL
What’s the look? Gentle authority. Your aim is to convey an air of authority and self-assurance, but without seeming harsh or intimidating. Avoid loud patterns and colours — instead pick items that look professional and controlled.
For her: “A long line shirt with contrast collar combined with high waisted trousers and Mary Jane high heels works for women,” says Joy.
For him: “Slim fit trousers in black, black brogue leather shoes and a white smart shirt with double cuff combined with a dark slim line tie shows you mean business.”
What’s the look? Clean and comfortable. If you’re going to be inspiring the next generation, you’ll need to look the part. Think clean, sharp and professional — but make sure you’re comfortable too.
For her: “For obvious reasons, don’t go too foxy. A cream peplum blouse with a crochet trim, a black pencil skirt and court shoe is modern but not too fussy. Alternatively, try a navy tulip dress with ruched waist band, opaque tights with a leather loafer or flat ballet shoe.
For him: “Slim fit dark trousers in navy or black with a white Oxford Chambray shirt and black or silver patterned slim tie and Derby leather shoe creates a modern, crisp style.”
*WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE INTERVIEW OUTFIT?
Do you have any tips for what to wear – and what not to wear – to impress an employer? Has anyone ever remarked on your clothing during an interview? If you got the job, do you think what you were wearing played any part in your success?