Everyone has to experience a job interview. Well maybe not if you’re a huge celebrity or were born into royalty. But for the rest of us, here are some tips on what to wear to an interview.
Whether you’re applying for a job role in a big, fancy skyscraper or interested in perfecting your coffee-making skills at your local cafe, dressing your best at the interview is an absolute must.
We know you shouldn’t judge people based on their appearance, but the truth of the matter is that employers do. You’ll be representing their company and the way you look has a direct impact on their brand. So if you are struggling for ideas gents, keep on reading and we’ll help you out.
Interview Attire for Men
As a general rule of thumb, you should be dressing smarter than you usually would for work. Meeting a recruiter while exceeding their expectations of smartness is a sure-fire way to impress them, instantly giving you a one-up over your competitors.
Your clothes can tell employers a lot about you. Dressing for a job interview well and appropriately emits a professional vibe, pointing to a competent, hardworking person who thoroughly thought about what to wear. It won’t do you any harm to make an effort.
Wearing a suit tells the employer you are serious and professional and shows that you care about your appearance, which in turn says you will care about the standard of your work.
– Ray Peck, Godfather Tailoring
Before you go to your interview, research in depth the type of workplace you’ll be entering. Get a feel of the tone from the organisation’s website and communications with you. This will ensure that you look like you fit into the workplace which is crucial in the eyes of the employer.
Alternatively, there’s nothing wrong with asking what you’re expected to wear. At the end of the day, at least it shows you care.
Job Interview Dress Code for Men
Suits have never gone out of style and there’s no sign of it happening anytime soon. But your entire image could come crumbling down if you wear an ill-fitting suit.A suit that isn’t right for your body shape can make you look disproportionate, bigger than you actually are and generally uncomfortable. Getting the cut of that suit absolutely bang on will ooze confidence and professionalism which is perfect for that job interview first impression.
For some general tips of getting that fit just right, check out our short tutorial:
But what’s so great about suits? Ed Lemont, Founder and Editor of The Discerning Man thinks suits can make a man feel more confident which is helpful boost when entering an interview.
Class and sophistication will never go out of fashion and this statement could not be truer when it comes to suiting.
– Ed Lemont, The Discerning Man
Every man has a different body type. Whether you’re short, tall, built or lean you deserve to wear a suit just like anyone else. The best way to find a suit that’s perfect for you is to get yourself measured by a professional tailor and they’ll do all the leg-work for you.
As men, we could wear a multitude of outfits however, nothing will ever look as good on a man as a classic, well-tailored, black suit will. I think for this very reason, this is why suits are so timeless – not to mention the heritage of suit brands such as Chester Barrie, Richard James and Anderson and Sheppard, which date back as far as the early 1900s.
– Ed Lemont, The Discerning Man
Ray Peck from Godfather Tailoring believes that there’s nothing worse than an ill fitting suit. A badly fitting suit can tell an employer a lot about your judgement – and it’s nothing positive. A suit that fits the body well makes you look meticulous and that you have high standards which is ideal when in a business meeting
However, tailoring can be expensive and sometimes isn’t necessary.
Tailoring is a word which many people have jumped on in recent years. We tend to encourage people to simply wear a suit that fits. Our suits are cut to flatter – a sharper silhouette to maximise every bit of your outline. Get measured properly and then try on a couple of sizes just to make sure you’re comfortable. Our waistbands on the trousers are adjustable to ensure your tuxedo feels like a second skin.
– Austen Pickles, Johnny Tuxedo
Now, which colour and style suit is best for your new potential workplace? If you’re entering a very corporate business where the standard of dress is high, opt for a black, navy of grey suit. These three colours are the most common colours that suits come in and the style is recognisable worldwide. They’re safe and conservative and you’ll look at home amongst your future colleagues.
For a more creative organisation like an advertising agency, colour and unique style is more acceptable. Beiges, maroons, mustards and baby blues work gorgeously on a slim fit blazer and trousers, giving you a standout style as well as presenting as polished.
But what if the weather is boiling hot and wearing a jacket would be too uncomfortable? You can still achieve a super smart look without the blazer part of the suit as long as your trousers, shirt and tie are thought-through.
Interview Dress Shoes
A smart shoe is a staple item in a man’s collection and there’s no better opportunity to pull out those stompers than your job interview.
Men’s fashion blogger Sam Squire thinks what you put on your feet is the most important item to consider when rocking up for an interview.
Honestly as an interviewer I always look at shoes. I like to see a nice, smart and clean pair of shoes. I wouldn’t say you need to be able to see your face in them but scruffy trainers with tatty laces would give completely the wrong impression.
– Sam Squire, blogger
But with so many types of shoe on the market, and only so many being acceptable to wear with a pristine suit, which should you choose?
Sam recommends a style of shoe that can go with any outfit, whether it be a suit or something more casual. He suggests a smart, casual brogue even if you aren’t wearing a suit. Brogues can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion and look great either way.
As for the colour of the shoe? This handy diagram will help you match the tone of your suit to the shade of your shoes:
In short, get yourself a pair of black interview shoes as the colour will go with most outfits in a simple plain-toe Oxford or brogue.
Interview Bag for Men
Accessories are important to outfits. They add that little extra touch that shows you care about what you look like. Accessories can also be very practical, like bags.
If you’re looking for a spacious bag if you have a lot of every-day things to carry, a rucksack would be your best bet. There’s a common stigma around rucksacks being casual and scruffy, but this may play to your advantage in an interview.
A practical rucksack shows an employer that you’re always prepared and carry your work with you. As long as you stick to neutral colours and with a simple design you can’t go wrong. Neutral colours like whites, blacks and browns will look great with any colour blazer or shirt.
A messenger bag can also achieve a professional look as an addition to a suit or shirt and tie combination. These over-the-shoulder bags are great at looking effortless and stylish while offering plenty of space for important documents and, of course, your lunch.
Best Shirt and Tie Combinations for a Job Interview
Whether you’re wearing a blazer with your interview outfit or not, matching your shirt with your tie is incredibly important to your overall look. What do you expecting with a long piece of fabric running down the centre of your body? It catches the eye so it’s important to consider.
In general, a white shirt with a darker, patternless tie will be the most effective look. It’s clean, fresh and smart while keeping it simple. There’s no need to turn heads with the colour of your shirt so stick with the basics.
A smart slim fitting white shirt and a grey tie is my current favourite combination, you don’t want to go for anything to loud or ‘clashy’. You want to be memorable for the right reasons. Stick to the classics but always try to add a modern twist!
– Sam Squire, blogger
Casual Interview Attire
Suits aren’t always the only option when it comes to picking out the right outfit for your interview. A lot of organisations nowadays are very relaxed about what their employees wear. However, at an interview, you still need to look smart even if you’re not in a blazer and shirt.
Luckily, you still have many options if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a suit.
Wear something that reflects you, so don’t hedge away from something dapper if you think it underlines your personality. Just make sure it’s appropriate. An interview for a bank will require something quite formal, with a tie, but a trendy fashion store might want a smart blazer with a pocket square, open neck shirt and skinny jeans.
– Austen Pickles, Johnny Tuxedo
If it’s the winter or the weather is feeling colder than usual, a long sleeve turtleneck in a dark colour like grey or black will look casual and trendy while remaining smart and polished. Alternatively, pick out a white shirt and pair it with a knit jumper or cardigan and a dark tie to create a smart casual ensemble that’s comfortable, warm and looks great.
For the summer, you’ll want something a bit more cooler. Ed from The Discerning Man suggests a plain, well-cut, slim fit T-shirt or polo shirt with a neutral chino or dark jeans. Footwear-wise, he recommends avoiding trainers, rather opting for a deck shoe or desert boot.
Your Quick Guide To Interview Dressing
- Suits are a safe options to look smart
- Stay with neutral colours like blacks, white, navies and greys
- Bold colours can work well with suits if the workplace is more creative
- You can’t go wrong with a classic brogue or Oxford shoe in black or brown
- There’s nothing wrong with a simple rucksack
- Turtlenecks and patterned jumpers are acceptable in the winter
- As for a shirt and tie? Keep it simple
On That Note
If you keep all of this in mind when picking out your lucky outfit for your job interview, you’ll be dressed to impress. Even if you’re not going for an interview, these tips work well for every day at the office. If you are going for an interview, good luck! Dress smart, look confident and they’ll love you.