dressing to impress

You’ve found a role, submitted a cracking resume and response, now all that stands in your way is the interview. First impressions count, so what do you wear?

There are no hard and fast rules about what you should wear for an interview. This will depend on, amongst other things, the work environment of your potential employer. However, as a rule you should err on the conservative side when choosing an outfit for your interview. Even when the employer invites you in ‘for a casual chat’ or the dress code for the employer is casual, it is better to be overdressed rather than underdressed.

Remember three key words: classic, coordinated and classy.

Men

  • If possible wear a dark coloured suit, collared shirt and tie. If you don’t own a suit, wear business pants with a shirt and tie.
  • Coordinate the colour of your shirt, tie and suit. Ask for help if you’re not sure if they work together.
  • Take care with your tie. Make sure it’s straight, tied well and that it ends at your belt buckle. Definitely no novelty ties.
  • Make sure the sleeves, shoulders and collar of your shirt and jacket fit you well.
  • Take a good look at your shirt. If it’s looking a little tired now may be the time to buy a new one. And don’t forget to iron it.
  • Check the length of your pants. When you are standing the bottom of the hem should sit midway between the top of your shoe and the sole. Visit a good tailor.
  • Wear business shoes. Keep them conservative and make sure they are clean and polished.

Women

  • A pants suit with nice blouse is always safe. Alternatively, a skirt and jacket or corporate-style dress may also be appropriate.
  • Be careful with hem lines – you need to feel comfortable when sitting down, so make sure your hem line is not too short.
  • Avoid singlets and spaghetti straps unless under a jacket.
  • Team the outfit with a structured handbag. It will look more professional than a slouchy handbag.
  • Keep your shoes conservative and make sure you can walk in them. Make sure they are clean.

When choosing an outfit for your interview you don’t need to leave your personal style behind. However you do want to project a polished, professional and competent image. Dress your best. Business attire is always safe. Keep it classic, coordinated and classy.

For more on looking your best for an interview also read our article Grooming for a good first impression.