How to Dress for an Interview

If you’re reading this you are already off to a good start. Thinking about what to wear to your next interview is the first step to getting it right. Now, we all know that landing your next job is has a lot to do with your skills and how well you sell yourself but it doesn’t hurt to look the part.

Firstly, do an audit of what you have in your wardrobe. If the jewel in your crown is an early 90s tweed skirt suit you may want to consider an update. If corporate is your thing stores like Cue, Country Road and Oxford all sell suiting that is classic while still being fashion forward and reasonably priced. If you are interviewing for a creative environment, these are still a good starting point for basics but you will have more leeway to express your personal style.

Before we get into industry specifics, let’s cover basics. Make sure your shoes are clean and well maintained; your clothes are free from stains and you aren’t drowning in Brut or any other fragrance. Keep your hair and any makeup fresh and simple.

During an interview you want to focus on your ability, not your body. Stick to flattering cuts and lessen skin exposure. This goes for guys too. I once interviewed a man whose shirt was clinging to his chest for dear life. I spent the entire time fearing for the moment where he would be sitting across from me topless. When he stood up the chair was soaked with sweat so clearly he was worried too.

Based on the research you have done for your interview, you should have an understanding of the expected dress code. For corporates, a suit or variation of a suit is normally mandatory. You can still express your personality through the colours and cuts you select but err on the side of caution, at least for your first interview.

Interviews at creative companies have the most potential for disaster. In no particular order I’ve witnessed white hotpants, a strapless sequin dress and rubber thongs, not to mention a myriad of Hello Kitty hairclips and other interesting accessories. The best advice here is to think about what you would wear to work on a daily basis and make it a touch dressier. For example, if it’s a jeans and sneaker environment for the guys, try some dressier jeans with a button down shirt.

Remember, your outfit alone won’t nab you a job, but it will help you along the way. Research your industry, choose your outfit accordingly and please, save the white hot pants for the Christmas Party.

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