A job hunt is certainly one of those few life events, when ‘dressing to impress’ takes on a very real and literal meaning! Channeling our inner confidence without overdoing it, putting our best foot forward and giving ourselves a canvas to allow our talents to shine through are absolutes when it comes to creating great first impressions with potential employers.
The interview attire you choose is your greatest support in making an instantly good impression – which oftentimes ends up determining how the interview goes & its eventual result. In the context of how to dress up for an interview female choices and spectrums of clothing are vast enough to confuse & warrant a deep-dive into the work closet.
We’re here to lay down some ground rules & ensure that your interview outfit is primed for success! Here are some key aspects to remember on how to dress up for an interview –
- Dress in what looks professional, but also keeps you comfortable. Comfort is the cornerstone of looking and feeling confident. It is much easier to be self-assured when you aren’t worried about your appearance or feeling any kind of discomfort in the clothes you adorn.
- Choosing the right outfit for a particular interview, does depend a lot on the kind of job you are aiming for and the work culture of the company you wish to join. Research, research, research! Knowing where you are going, understanding the persuasions of your interviewer and general rules of presentability for the company you are interviewing with, will help you make the most appropriate pick. Making an informed choice will give you an aura of belonging & fitting-in, even before you have uttered a word.
- Keep it polished & well groomed! While so many of us pay attention to the actual clothes in the outfit, we sometimes forget the finer points of our appearance. Showing up well-groomed is just as vital. Did you know that most people notice your nails first when you extend for a hand-shake? Keeping your clothes pressed, and your nails, hair, visible grooming areas neat, is undeniably important!
- Don’t over think – and when in doubt, keep things sleek & simple. Minimalism in the best mantra if you are confused. Go for one impressive item and make that the star of your outfit while you keep the rest crisp as well as complimentary.
Remember: Your interview attire is the icing on the cake! Your talents, experience, resume and education brought you here, and your interview look is how you are expressing it all non-verbally from the get go.
Now that we have some clarity and have laid down essential rules, lets dig deeper into 7 ways to effortlessly style pieces of clothing when preparing for an interview:
1. STAY IMPECCABLE IN MINIMALIST WORK DRESSES
A sleek work dress is a thing of beauty. Never needing much else, choose a minimalist and effortless work dress to go with your fast-paced ambition!
The choices for silhouettes are endless – from suave fitted numbers to chic fit-and-flare pieces, wearing a minimal work dress is at once a convenience and an option that is guaranteed to charm your potential employer.
Always lending the wearer a sophisticated profile, these work dresses are usually monotone, preferably in neutral colours such as black, white, charcoal, beige, etc – giving a very pronounced and neat look overall.
Keep the dress the star of your outfit & the styling around it simple and classy. Edit, edit & then edit some more! Go for one statement accessory (preferably a small ring and/or ear-studs) and wear a simple pair of heels or ballet flats to compliment this style.
Styling Tip: Go for rich nudes and neutral make-up, and a slick pushed-back hairstyle to complement this look and make the most of it.
2. WORKING IT OUT SEAMLESSLY IN PLAIN T-SHIRTS
Yes, yes, we know – a plain & simple tee falls way down the spectrum of casual wear, furthest from work-wear or interview attire as possible! But ahem, we’re in 2020 – and this classic, cozy and quintessential piece of clothing has made its way to every layer of our wardrobe thanks to trends such as normcore.
Want to know how to dress this one up for work interviews? There are many cool ways! You can:
- Throw on any blazer + trouser combo with plain white t-shirts and voila! You have an effortlessly chic interview outfit that will not only keep you chill; it will also make a creative statement to your potential employer while staying profesh.
- Tuck it in & belt it up! Take a simple t-shirt and tuck it into your sharpest, most professional pair of trousers or a crisp pleated skirt. Then, take a chic belt and define your waist to give the look a sharpness that would percolate into the flow of your interview.
- Colour coordinate a neutral hued tee with matching bottoms. For example, if you are wearing a plain black t-shirt, coordinate it with plain black wide-legged and high waisted trousers for an editorial appeal. If you are from a creative industry, where dress codes are more relaxed, you can try doing this one with a graphic t-shirt too!
- Wear it underneath a sleek dress, to give it a pinafore kind of look. Layer it in an interesting way with a simple work dress, to give it a unique work-wear vibe and show off your creativity!
- Pair it with plaid prints. Plaid prints are such a workwear staple! Pair your t-shirt underneath plaid separates to give off a cool, yet professional appeal!
As you can see, there are many ways to get creative with a t-shirt in your interview outfit – this is especially true of today’s WFH times!
Styling tip: Since a t-shirt can get too casual looking for any kind of an interview setting, be extra crisp with what you pair it up with & stay aware that it can be the ONLY element of your outfit that comes anywhere close to casual. Make sure the rest of your outfit, including your hair & makeup are extremely sharp and undeniably meant for a professional setting.
3. SUIT UP TO LEVEL UP IN YOUR WORK LIFE
A sharp, chic suit is a power move. Period. And you may find yourself grateful for the vision of sharpness it exudes when you get to the negotiation part of your interview!
Nothing spells work and success as a co-ordinated blazer + bottom combo. There’s a reason why this outfit is a universally accepted choice in most B-schools and workplaces around the world. Giving the wearer a sleek profile, defined shoulders and a put-together vibe, suiting up is the easiest way to make a lasting impact.
In womenswear, suit coordinates come with pants as well as skirts. Go for either based on your comfort level. While we love the way a wide-legged pant with a blazer can effortlessly lengthen the body, a chic and crisp pencil skirt is hard to beat!
Styling tip: Transform your suit with the things you air it with. To give it a more relaxed, yet sharp vibe, pair your suit with a plain tucked-in t-shirt and sleek sneakers. Or amp it up with a turtleneck underneath and a pair of statement earrings. Choose based on dress codes that are generally prevalent in your industry!
4. WORK SHIRTS AND PENCIL SKIRTS ARE MADE FOR EACH OTHER
Sigh. What can we say about pencil skirts that hasn’t been said before? Suave, polished and sophisticated to the T, a pencil skirt is at once feminine and unapologetic – exuding ambition and a seamless knack for fashion.
Now team it up with heels and a classic work shirt – preferably choose white shirts – and you have a truly winning interview outfit!
Long calf-length or below-the-knee pencil skirts are a chic and work-appropriate way to accentuate your figure and when paired with a work shirt, they display the kind of confidence that is only seen in movies. Movie-proof your interview experience – you are sure to stand out from the rest of the herd with this one.
Styling tip: A middle parting and low pony-tail or a sharp bob cut, depending on your hair length, will lend a very bond-esque persona to your interview outfit! Also, don’t be afraid to throw in a bold lip. If standing out is your goal, then keep your colour choices for the garments super basic as you amp it up with a bold red, deep berry-toned or bright pink lip.
5. DRESS UP DENIM WITH A CLASSIC SHIRT
Depending on the nature of your job and your industry, you may want to opt for a look that is professional but also includes denim. In fact, denim is actually the very original definition of ‘work wear’; historically evolving into our daily wardrobes post WW 1 & 2 for its sturdy, long-lasting work wear appeal.
If you are wondering how you can incorporate your simple denims into an effective and stand out work outfit, just pair it up with a classic, collared, button-down shirt and a pair of simple loafers or oxfords to go with it!
However, if you are afraid as to how appropriate this may be for an interview, an easy way to approach this style is to go dark with the colour scheme. Wear deep dark denims instead of lighter blues and pair it up with jewel toned (Plum, navy, wine) shirts or a simple black shirt to give it a professional spin.
Taking inspiration from menswear, this is a winning and versatile combination for diverse job settings!
Styling tip: Avoid wearing sneakers or any shoe that is deemed casual with this combination. To balance out the presence of denims, go for very formal lace-up shoes, or sleek easy wins like a stiletto heel.
6. JUMP UP THE LADDER IN A JUMPSUIT!
Ah, the jumpsuit. While we are not exactly fans of how functional a jumpsuit is for washroom breaks, we still love it for how well put-together and suave a jumpsuit outfit looks! When it comes to interviews, a professional jumpsuit is an easy win.
Snap it up, slip it on & you’re done! A jumpsuit is the kind of outfit you don’t have to think about much when styling either. It is such a powerful statement in itself, that it needs very little of something extra to give it that added shine.
What are the elements of a crisp jumpsuit that would work for job interviews? We love styles that have a collar – chic blazer-jumpsuit hybrids are our fave! Look for one that has a sharp fitted profile, defined shoulders and not too much flare in the bottom. If it’s wide-legged, ensure that it’s a crisp wide-leg and not a sharara-like one.
Styling Tip: Add a belt – a broad one, preferably. That’s it! That’s all it needs.
7. CRISP CIGARETTE TROUSERS FOR THE WIN
We’ve so far spoken a lot about coordinated outfits and sleek top-wear. However, we would be remiss if we did not spotlight the ‘cigarette pant’ when it comes to how to dress up for an interview.
An easy and classy way to look crisp and professional, a ‘cigarette pant’ is essentially a straight legged trouser, that usually ends at a slightly cropped ankle-length. It is one of the neatest types of bottoms out there in the market.
When paired with work shirts or blazers, these trousers can work in absolutely any colour. Due to its crispness, it is also possible to experiment with subtle color blocking or contrasting when deciding your outfit pairings and still have it be appropriate for professional occasions such as an interview.
Styling tip: If you wish to lengthen your profile, go for a high-waisted or paper-bag waisted cigarette pant! Just ensure it is made in suiting material or the kind of fabric that is generally used for office wear.
We hope you found our low-down on interview outfits and styling interesting; as well as the ground rules we set for interview dressing, educational and helpful to your decision-making process. Dressing up for a good first impression is easy when you know what you are dressing up for and feel comfortable and confident. All that’s left for you to do once you figure it all out is to go out there, showcase your talents & slay like you’re born to.
P.S: We know you’ll rock it – we’re rooting for you!