We all know the saying: “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Never is this more true than in a job interview.
Whether you’re a recent grad looking to make your mark on the world, or a seasoned professional in search of the next opportunity, what you wear to an interview is as important as your presentation itself.
How should you dress for a job interview? What is the key to ensuring you project a polished, confident image?
Keep it simple.
- It is NEVER appropriate to dress down for an interview. Wear a suit. Choose a classic navy or a mid to charcoal grey. Never wear black. The fabric should be as plain as possible, with no obvious patterns or stripes. If you own one of these already, good. Make sure the suit is clean, pressed and fits well. If you don’t own a suit, buy one.
- Wear a proper dress shirt, preferably with a classic mid-spread collar. Choose a crisp, plain white or pale blue. Either will provide a clean palette for a tie. Steer clear of other colours and patterned fabrics. Opt for button cuffs, as French cuffs can be seen as overly formal and pretentious.
- Select a tie in a subtle colour like navy, burgundy or a rich shade of purple. Stick with simple patterns; stripes or neats, nothing too bold or bright.
- Use a pocket square. The right choice is white – cotton or linen – straight folded and cleanly inserted into the breast pocket of the suit jacket with a quarter to a half inch exposed, for a crisp finishing touch that won’t distract from the rest of your ensemble.
- Wear a dark dress sock that matches the colour of the suit.
- Proper dress shoes are a must. Lace up only. Simple, plain or cap toe oxfords are best, in black, a rich tan or brown. Make sure they’re in good condition; clean and well polished.
- Choose a belt that matches the colour of your suit and has a simple buckle.
- Keep jewellery to a minimum and simple. A watch is fine, if you wear one, but avoid digital and sports watches and anything over-sized and/or embellished. A wedding ring is always acceptable, but forego bracelets, piercings and any other pieces that will detract from a polished, professional image.
I’ve attempted to be as simple, clear and direct as possible with these tips. If you are uncertain about how to dress for a job interview or need guidance with your wardrobe preparation, it’s always a good idea to seek the expertise of an experienced clothing professional. A simple online search will reveal retailers in your area. I strongly suggest visiting smaller, independent shops since they are, in most cases, more likely to offer sound advice and a comfortable more personalized experience that will have you looking good and feeling confident.
A guest blog
By: Bill Townsend
Bill Townsend is an accomplished men’s wear professional with 30 years experience working with some of Ontario’s premiere independent men’s wear retailers. As a tailored clothing and made to measure specialist, Bill has been a consultant to top level executives, television, film and music industry celebrities, professional sports personalities and Fortune 500 companies.
He is a trusted advisor with an expansive knowledge of the men’s wear industry, it’s people and it’s brands.