Monday's What To Wear To Work: Perfect interview style

If you're on the look-out for a job, cash is probably tight, and the last thing you need is someone to tell you that you need to spend money on an outfit to get it right. After all, it should be about your abilities, not what you wear, right? Wrong...  What you wear to your interviews will tell a lot to your prospective employers, and not just about your fashion sense. It's a about professionalism, motivation, knowing what is business appropriate and what not.

In my opinion, you should invest in one good well-tailored suit, and sadly it's impossible for this to come in a synthetic material or from a super-cheap range: if you want tailoring to work, it takes super light wool, and a  cut that you can't get from Crymark... sorry. Hobbs, Jigsaw, J.Crew are all good places to find middle of the range suits, and remember, if you interview ten times with the same suit, it's a well-worth investment! And this outfit will get plenty of wear if you have to join formal meetings, I for one have a few super formal suits that I reserve for these times.

Choose a light shell top with at least a little bit of silk, again it falls better, doesn't make a strange noise when you move, and well it looks a bit more expensive. Same goes for accessories: natural leather is a cut above anything else, a nice business-size classic shape bag is essential to carry your papers (a few copies your CV will come in handy if they forgot to print it), and some closed toe shoes are a good classical staple. You will have plenty of time once you're hired to discover the dress code is a bit more relaxed and wear your fabulous cage sandals... just not on the first interview please.

Shopping list:
- Cigarette trousers in micro ivory and black check, Hobbs
- Matching round collar jacket, Hobbs
- Silver silk mix shell top, Boden
- Crystal necklace, J.Crew 
- Black saffiano leather bag, Atterley Road
- Classic black patent pumps, Nine West

PS: Remember, unless you're interviewing for some special (ahem) clubs, it's probably better to keep your mini-skirt at home for this one. You don't want to send the wrong message from the onset do you?


Anonymous said...

I think this is perfect for the banking life, however, I am seeing a number of requests in my office to move away from the pencil skirt and shirt combo (Tier 1 IT firm) recently, we got told by a rather large multinational client (and several others)that every time we turned up they thought the auditors had arrived. Apparently selling cutting edge technology now requires you to wear jeans and a shirt; I head up Marketing Services for these guys and I live in skinny jeans ankle boots and quirky NW3 jackets, I would probably interview somewhere else in this happily, I think what you wear is now dependent on industry to an extent - but I agree mini skirts are a no no!

LittleS said...

I agree, a lot of industries are moving away from the strict business dress code. However, I'd advise generally keeping it slightly more formal than anyone's usual, at least for that first encounter, you never know... and maybe accessorize in a slightly funkier way, to stay on the safe side?

LPN said...

Thank you for this post, I'm planning to return to work after a maternity career break and reading your blog is great inspiration for work- and interview-wear.

Could you please do a outfit post for summer weddings, especially when invited with children? Four-year old twins and a toddler require a whole different kind of outfit planning;-).

Thank you!

LittleS said...

Hi LPN, thanks for your kind comment, I am so happy to hear that people find my posts inspiring, it makes it all worthwhile.
I will do my usual wedding outfit series shortly, and will definitely incorporate your request!

Belinda (the workwear edit) said...

I love this post - I think its spot on. I agree with wearing formal, conservative, quality workwear for interviews, with more interesting shoes and/or bag if you so wish.

I actually tried that Hobbs Ellen suit on - its lovely, although I would need it altered to fit me properly. I think we need to expect to do that with suits.