What to Wear for an Interview … without needing to reach for a suit!

What to wear for an interview?   It is a question that has plagued us all!

I have, for the past six months, been in a temporary position at work which is due to come to an end today! It is a job that I love, but in a tricky market and a contract due to expire, I felt it necessary to apply for permanent positions just in case my own contract wasn’t extended/made permanent.

I have had several interviews over the past month or two which always poses that awkward   question of what to wear without losing your personality.   The old wives out there will tell you to always wear a simple suit for an interview, but that just isn’t me!   For an interview, I want to feel at my very best; poised, elegant and empowered.

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Rightly or wrongly, my outfit can really affect my mood and I’ve always been one for power-dressing.   However, wearing a simple suit doesn’t allow my personality to shine – I feel it stifles me and doesn’t allow my creative expression to shine through.   Instead, I’ve developed a wardrobe of simple, classic, separates that can be easily mixed and match for a corporate environment.

I have talked workwear in the past – you can read the posts here – but today I want to share with you some interview dressing tips.

What to wear to an interview

Stick to classic styles …

A shirt dress, a pencil skirt and blouse, cigarette pants and a blazer, wide leg trousers and a skinny sweater – you can’t go wrong with these classic combinations.

Don’t be sacred to accessorise …

Add a collar necklace, a blinded watch, or a pair of chandelier earrings – whichever lets your personality shine through.

What to wear to an interview

Play with textures …

Leather is fine – just keep it paired with conservative items.   My leather pencil skirt looks phenomenal with a turtle neck and blazer.     Velvet, suede, and brocade can all be incorporated into a simple, office-appropriate wardrobe.

Add some colour …

Monochrome is very much me – I mean, did you read Monday’s post? But a monochrome outfit can be a little stodgy.   Don’t be afraid to add a splash of colour whether that be a vibrant scarf, a contrast coat, or bucket-sized handbag.

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Don’t wear heels unless you’re comfortable in them …

The last thing you want is to twist your ankle walking into the lobby!

Keep it professional …

Cleavage won’t affect your ability to work – but it may draw the unwanted eye of your interviewer.   I always try to keep my collars slightly higher than normal for an interview.

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Wear comfortable underwear …

Stick to the tried and tested bra that you know won’t dig into your armpit halfway through a presentation!   I once wore shapewear to an interview and spent most of the time trying not to shuffle in my seat as it disappeared up somewhere I didn’t wish it to be!

Don’t wear to many layers …

Or if you do, be ready to shed them!   I often get a little clammy before an interview – call it nerves – so the very last thing I want is to have layered up on warm weather clothes only to sweat through them.   On that point, I also keep a set of wet wipes in my handbag to freshen up in the bathrooms just before the interview.   You can never be too prepared.

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Keep a spare …

My final tip – if wearing pale colours, keep a spare in your bag/car.   Last week I spilt coffee all down my skirt on the way to an interview – thankful my skirt was pleather but the splashed onto my white blouse so I was very relieved to have an alternative on the back seat of my car!

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Now, I’m very glad to say that I got a job – in fact, I got two offers but decided to stay where I am currently as I’m a position that I love and they offered a permanent position.   Although the offers weren’t, in any way, down to what I was wearing, my outfits certainly helped boost my confidence and let me perform at my very best.

The details of both outfits are below, with similar items linked where they have already sold out.

What to wear to an interview

Outfit Details:

Marks & Spencer Shirt Dress

New Look Long Line Coat (similar here)

Layered Necklace (similar here)

Clarks Ankle Boots

What to wear to an interview

Outfit Details:

White Poloneck (similar)

A-Line Leather Skirt (similar)

Cream Textured Blazer (similar)

Clarks Ankle Boots

Do you have any tips to add?  I’d love to hear them!

C xx

 

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