For young men, knowing exactly what to wear for interviews or work placements can be a tricky issue. For years, we’ve been told that a standard suit is the way to go – but as time, trends and even workplaces have changed, so too has the interview attire.
Nowadays, it’s all about matching confidence with convention while still putting some of your own personality across. Essentially, you need to stay professional but still exude charisma. You want to be the guy they can’t forget, without standing out for the wrong reasons.
Luckily, putting together a stellar interview outfit doesn’t take much effort. Follow these steps to nail the right look for the right role:
Prepare in advance
The first question to ask is what style of workplace are you applying for? If it’s a traditional business, you’ll need traditional, smart business clothing. If it’s a more relaxed company, you can experiment with bolder styles – but it’s almost never acceptable to attend an interview in casual clothing such as jeans and trainers.
If you spend time researching the company online, you’ll get an idea of the dress style. Whether that’s through LinkedIn profile pictures or group office shots, getting a general feel towards how the people at the business dress will see you in good stead.
Unfortunately, appearances are judged. An unkempt beard will probably count against you unless you’re heading to an interview at a particularly forward thinking start-up. Keep any facial hair trimmed short. Your hair should also be tamed – whether that means cutting it short or just tidying your look up.
Even after researching company culture, ultimately most interviewees should opt for a suit. Navy and grey are good choices, but ensure they fit properly. You should opt for a fit that’s snug around the chest and arms but allows plenty of freedom of movement. Nothing’s worse than being stuck in an interview room in a stuffy, restrictive suit while trying to show enthusiasm for a role.
Building from this is the need to feel comfortable in your own skin. If you don’t particularly like navy, don’t wear it. Feel free to show elements of your own style too – perhaps by wearing a less traditional design such as a herringbone jacket.
Upcycle: Often, you can put together an interview outfit from clothing you’ll have used for other events. Don’t worry about pairing different coloured trousers with a suit jacket – as long as it’s a classic combo like black trousers and a grey jacket you’ll be well suited for interviews in less traditional workplaces. Doing this means you can often just buy a suit jacket, rather than an entire suit, to keep costs down.
Shirts should be kept classic. Think oxford styles in white or blue – but you can also opt for a herringbone or striped shirt to make your suit stand out. Your shirt should follow the same rules as your suit in that it needs to fit well and should not be overly embellished.
Finish the look with a tie. Don’t go overboard here – just pick a classic colour such as burgundy, navy blue or green but ensure it doesn’t conflict with your suit. Avoid the novelty tie you received as a Christmas present.
Finishing touches – the shoes
When it comes to shoes, you’ve got a real chance to stand out whatever style you follow. For more traditional gents who don’t want to rock the boat, classic Oxford style black shoes will go with either colour suit we’ve mentioned – although brown leather is advisable when paired with navy. Shoes should look neat and well-polished. Socks should be basic and not distract or catch attention.
However, for more fashion-forward gents, a pair of brogues or loafers worn sockless can be appropriate. Again, you’ll need to decide if the job you’re interviewing for is casual enough to tolerate loafers.
As a final note, the most important part of dressing up for interviews is feeling confident. You’ll always have nerves ahead of such a key event in your life, but dressing well helps ease some of that worry and ensures you’re well presented to your potential employers.
All images provided by Noose & Monkey.