Your resumé was polished and they loved your cover letter. Perfect. You got the interview. You know you can nail it, but one big question remains: what are you going to wear?
Dressing well for an interview shows professionalism and that you understand the culture you’re going to enter. It’s a great way to make the right impression and be memorable to the interviewer. It’s not rocket science, but there are some things you need to know.
Consider three things when picking your outfit:
- Industry — Would you wear the same thing to a conservative bank as you would to a casual tech startup?
- Job function/department — What flies in marketing may not be greeted as enthusiastically in accounting.
- Seniority — Younger guys should err on the safe side, versus someone more established in their career who has “earned” the privilege to dress with a little more flare.
The common theme here? Know your audience.
Unless you’ve been specifically told not to, wear a suit. You’ll look your best and most professional. It shows you respect the interviewers’ time and take this seriously.
Now, let’s get into the details.
When dressing for a job interview, the safe play is a dark charcoal or navy blue suit. Charcoal tends to be the more conservative of the two — but you really can’t go wrong with either. If you’re having trouble deciding, once again: consider your audience. Paul Betenly makes an awesome starter suit in both charcoal and navy.
If you’re interviewing for a more senior position or a job in a more creative industry, a brighter blue or lighter grey suit can work too. A black suit is never okay unless the job is in the funeral business.
One last thing — please, please make sure your suit fits.
Your interview shirt should also fit great. Check out our video guide for finding the perfect shirt to make sure you’re doing it right.
For the style details, go with normal cuffs (not french), and a spread or semi-spread collar.
In terms of colour, solid whites and light blues are most conservative. These go well with any suit. Stenstroms and our own Gotstyle-Lipson shirts are both fantastic options.
For a bolder look, try a micro pattern. A geo pattern like the one below from Oscar works well.
Never, ever wear a square toe dress shoe. Say no to square toe.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I recommend black or brown leather oxford dress shoes for an interview. You can’t go wrong with an oxford shoe in a business setting. The Gotstyle Cap Toe Derby Shoe is a perfect example.
Double monkstraps are a riskier alternative. Only consider these in situations where — you guessed it — you’re interviewing for a senior or less conservative role. And again, keep the colour to black or brown.
No matter what shoes you choose, make sure you give them a good shine and that you’ve worn them before. Often a new pair of dress shoes takes some time to work in, and the last thing you need is blisters on the day of your interview.
First things first, your belt should match your shoes. Black with black, brown with brown. Keep your belt sleek and simple — no big buckles. Anderson’s black or brown pebbled belts are perfect.
Here is your chance to show some personality. Choose a colour or pattern that’s stylish and memorable — just make sure it’s setting appropriate and that it matches.
For creative industries (especially in the winter), add versatility to your formal look by trying a more casual, texturized knit tie. When choosing a tie knot, go with a half windsor or four-in-hand. Knots are not the place to experiment.
Have some fun! It’s fine to show a little colour or pattern, as long as they don’t clash with the rest of your look.
If you’re going to wear one, keep it sleek and understated.
Save the funky lapel pins, cufflinks, and tie bars for once you get the job.
Good luck (not that you need it). You’ve got this!