Job Interview Dress Code – Autumn Fashion Edition
James, October 31, 2012
Job Interview Dress Code
Autumn Fashion Edition:
The clocks have gone back and the the leaves are falling from the trees, autumn has well and truly arrived. So how does this affect your choice of clothing for that all important job interview?
First impression, they say, is the last impression. Come across poorly dressed in your job interview, and you will most likely not land the job, regardless of your qualifications. A successful job interview is as much about superficial qualities - how you dress, how well you speak, how you shake hands - as it is about your qualifications and credentials. Interviewers, after all, are also prone to most human prejudices. By dressing appropriately, you'll multiply your chances of landing a job.
The dress code for a job interview varies from field to field. An interview at a law firm will require conservative suits, while one at a creative agency will give you much greater leeway in what you can wear. On that note, let's take a look at job interview dress codes for both men and women keeping the autumn season in mind.
The purpose of any interview dress code is to ensure that the candidate comes across as professional and courteous. Little touches - quirky cuff-links, a striking tie - can add a dash of personality to what can quickly become a dull look. By and large, however, the dress code for men should adhere to set rules:
Formal Interview Attire for Men in Autumn
Except for a few creatively inclined industries, most job interviews are formal occasions and you must dress accordingly. The crucial components of formal interview attire for men in autumn season are:
- Well-fitted suit in dark colours (navy blue and charcoal/dark grey are perennial favourites). Brown works well in autumn as well.
- Conservative ties in complementing colours. Grey, brown, and dark red are the colours of the season.
- Long sleeved shirt in complementing colours. White is a classic colour all year round.
- Simple leather belt. Consider matching your belt with the colour of your shoes.
- Dark socks that match your trousers (not shoes).
- Simple leather lace-up shoes. You can't go wrong with a classic Park Avenue cap toe lace-ups.
- A leather portfolio to carry your documents in.
- Short, well groomed hair.
- Limited jewellery use.
- You may also wear an overcoat (tan is a preferable autumnal shade).
When in doubt, be conservative. A formal interview is not the place to showcase your creativity; limit your creativity to things such as cuff-links and tie bars. You can choose to use a pocket square, but ensure that the effect is very subtle. Since it is autumn, brown, grey, black, and darker shades should make up the interview wear. You can also experiment with scarves and overcoats, but ensure that you take them off before entering the interview room.
Informal Interview Attire for Men in Autumn
Many creative/design agencies prefer to let their potential hires let their hair down and experiment with more informal attire. While the rules are still largely the same - you cannot turn up for the interview in a pair of jeans and tees, for instance - you have much greater freedom in picking colours and styles for your interview. When in doubt, consult the interviewer beforehand as to what kind of attire is acceptable.
The essential components of an autumn informal interview attire are:
- Neatly pressed khaki or cotton trousers (in dark brown or black).
- Long-sleeved cotton button down shirts, in solids or checks (white, and variations of dark brown/red are preferred colours of the season).
- Jumpers or cardigans in neutral shades (optional).
- A blazer or jacket in navy blur or brown.
- Simple leather shoes. Make sure that your shoes have laces!
- Tie (optional).
- Leather/canvas portfolio.
- An overcoat in tan (optional).
- Scarves in darker autumn shades (brown, tan) - optional.
While certainly less conservative than formal interview attire, informal business casual attire still has its rules. Shirts must be tucked in and a jacket always makes a good impression. Lace-ups are a must and slip-ons are looked down upon even in the most casual of workplaces.
Such informal attire is limited to only a few industries, especially creative agencies and small startups. Most interviews will still require that you wear a conservative suit. When in doubt, stick to formal, conservative wear.
Dress code rules apply as much to women as to men. For autumn, the rules are largely the same - conservative suits in darker shades with plenty of grey and brown for formal interviews, casual khakis and cotton trousers for informal interviews. Let's take a look at informal and formal attire for women.
Formal Interview Attire for Women in Autumn
- Conservative suit in navy blue, charcoal grey or black.
- Blouse/shirt in complementary colour. A white blouse is a very safe bet (with a white bra), as are autumn colours such as beige, burgundy, slate grey. This should not be low cut, but does not need to be high necked; remember, less on show is definitely more in this case.
- A classic heel would be good. The heel should not be more than 4".
- If wearing a skirt, ensure that the skirt is long enough for you to sit comfortably. Around the knee is ideal.
- Neutral coloured tights.
- Limit jewellery and make-up.
- Limit perfume use.
- Conservative hairstyle.
- A leather portfolio to carry documents in.
- Scarves (optional).
Autumn interview wear is all about staying warm while looking professional. Skirt-suits are rare in autumn interviews and should be avoided. Accessorize with scarves, which can keep you warm and add a distinctive autumn-feel to any outfit. Limit yourself to duller, conservative colours - grey, brown, navy blue - a pop of colour will show your personality this can be easily done in the form of a bag, jewellery or scarf.
Informal Interview Attire for Women in Autumn
- Khaki or cotton trousers. Brown, rust, and copper are popular autumn shades in trousers.
- If wearing skirts, ensure that the length is appropriate enough for office wear.
- Blouse or knit shirts in neutral, conservative shades.
- Cardigans or jumpers (optional) in brown and grey.
- Leather/canvas portfolios.
- Professional hairstyle.
- Limited jewellery and make-up use.
Interview attire is an important factor in winning the interviewer to your side. Chipped nail varnish and greasy hair gives your potential employer a bad impression. However, appearance is obviously not the only factor: along with the right kind of suit, you should also ensure that you speak clearly, confidently, engage the interviewer, and appear clean, tidy and neat.