Ok, we're going to level with you straight away; wearing the right interview outfit will not guarantee you the job of your dreams; what you say and do in the interview itself will ultimately determine your fate. BUT, (the big kind,) first impressions in job interviews are key. As you walk into a room, portfolio under your outstretched arm, ready to shake hands with your future boss, they will instantly form an impression that will last the interview and beyond. Your interviewer will base this opinion, whether positive or negative, based on your appearance and demeanour as soon as they meet you.
Whether or not you're applying for a job that will require formal dress, you should always choose something formal for the interview. This doesn't mean it's a suit every time, but just because you've seen people going in and out the offices in jeans and trainers doesn't mean you shouldn't dress your best for your visit.
Dressing for that all important interview is never simple, but there are a few rules that can make it a whole lot easier. Allow us to share them with you.
What to wear to a job interview: The rules
Don't choose anything that you haven't worn before. While it might be tempting to buy a new outfit for the occasion, you don't want a major wardrobe mishap, like a split seam or an 'I-so-didn't-realise-this-was-see-through' moment on your big day. If you can't resist buying something new for your job interview, buy in advance and road test the outfit a few days before. If you're prone to sweat marks or blushing, choose a dark colour.
Confidence is key
If you own a smart dress or suit that you always get compliments in, don't be afraid to reach for your old favourite. You'll feel confident in the knowledge that you look good, meaning you can focus on what you came to the job interview to sell… yourself.
Black = boring
If black is your comfort blanket when it comes to clothes, don't shy away from it, but add a splash of colour or a print to stop you blending in with other candidates. A printed silk blouse under a classic black jacket is a great interview outfit. Just avoid wearing a black dress under a black jacket teamed with black shoes. It would take a whole lot of smiling to brighten that look.
Speaking of smiling, there really is no better accessory. Always, always start your interview with a big smile as you greet your interviewer, no matter how nervous you feel. It will make them instantly warm to you and start things off on a good note. Smile and nod at your interviewer as they are talking to you as well, you'll keep the energy of the interview positive.
Shoes. They matter
When your interviewer glances up and down at you as you arrive, their gaze will finish on your shoes. Make sure they are clean. Never ever choose heels that you have trouble walking in - you don't know how far you'll have to walk through the building to the meeting room. A closed-toe mid-heel is the safest option, and while it's best to avoid fluoro-brights, a print or pastel style can add a brighter touch to your outfit.
What to wear to a job interview: Ask the experts
ASOS STYLIST, GAMZE GUL
"Job interviews are scary enough as it is! When it comes to dressing for them, make sure you feel comfortable in what you wear. If you feel great in your interview attire, you're more likely to be yourself and nail that interview.
"There are no rules, so if you have a signature colour then go for it, if you prefer patterned pieces then don't be shy! I'm a perfectionist so I would try my clothes on a million times and pay extra attention to those everyday details we sometimes over look. I ensure my shoes are clean and that there are no smudges on my clothing.
"While I love to accessorise my looks with statement jewellery, I tend to avoid anything that might encourage nervous fidgeting! Go for that ring but maybe leave your bracelet at home."
THE OUTNET FASHION DIRECTOR, EVE THOMAS
"Dressing for a job interview can be daunting. The key is to strike the right balance between looking professional and staying true to your own personal sense of style. Above all, make sure that you are comfortable in what you are wearing.
"A shirt dress is a great option. It looks smart and on-trend as it nods to the seventies vibe without 'screaming' fashion. Add a sharply tailored jacket and heels for a sleek finish that will make you feel instantly pulled together and will ensure you enter the room with a spring in your step."
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR AT GERARD DAREL, HÉLOÏSE BRION
"No jeans. Unless it is for a creative job: advertising, fashion…but they must be THE perfect jeans and worn with a crisp white button-down men's shirt or crew cut cashmere sweater and ballerinas, moccasins or heels (but no more than 10 cm- you have to be comfortable and walk naturally.)
"No more than three colors - including your handbag - you don't want to look like a Christmas tree! For jewelry: choose earrings or necklace… but not both at once!"