You have put your resume in order and your elevator pitch is ready. But what about your clothes? If you are getting ready for a job interview, there are a few key elements you need to make sure you check. In this guide, we look at the essential sartorial points you need to touch when you are picking your clothes and getting ready for a job interview.
Fit and style
The best option you have to wear when you go for a job interview is to wear a classic suit. A classic suit does not mean that it has to be a boring or traditional suit; it means that it is a timeless look. A good suit must fit well – before heading to the job interview, you can have a suit made or altered by a tailor. You won’t believe what a tailored suit can do to your body and attitude. A suit that fits you well is a suit which’s shoulder lines match yours, it’s a suit that covers your bum, but doesn’t go lower and is a suit that allows one inch of your shirt’s cuffs to show, even when it the sleeves are pulled to their full length.
Remember: if you are not accustomed to wear suits often, once your suit is tailored and ready, wear it around the house or in the city a few times just to break it in and get more used to it. Being comfortable in a suit will show on the day of the interview.
When it comes to the style of the suit, there are many options available out there: from very sharp, tailored suits to suits that are more loose, everything is at hand. We would advise you to go for something sharp and that frames your body well. A one-button jacket will make you look younger and, if you are a thin man, you should wear a double-breasted suit.
Those who feel really comfortable in a suit can wear a three-piece suit, but this is not a must.
While most men think of black suits when they think of suits in general, one should know that there are better alternatives to back suits. Gray, charcoal and dark blue are also neutral colors that will give you a younger vibe and more visual interest than a black suit. Yes, black suits are powerful, but this is something that everyone knows and that has somewhat turned into a cliché. It’s up to you what color suit you wear, but you need to know your options.
When it comes to the buttons of your suits, there is a lot of talk of whether you should button or unbutton them. Here’s the rule:
The lowest button of your jacket should always be unbuttoned.
If you wear a three-button jacket, the highest button can be left buttoned or unbuttoned.
If you wear a one-button jacket, you should button it.
When you are sitting down, always unbutton all the buttons and re-do them when you stand up.
The folds your pants create on their lower half are also an important detail. While back a while ago, it was accepted to have two folds, these days it is not recommended to have more than one. The most modern tailors actually suggest your pants should not fold at all at the bottom, which is a look we support as well.
A strong look for a job interview does require a tie. When you are choosing out a tie, there are a few basic things you need to remember:
a) The width of the tie should be proportionate to your body. This rule, which applies to accessories in general, is essential: bigger men should wear larger accessories, while men with smaller frames should wear smaller accessories.
b) When it comes to the color of your tie, you can wear the classic “power red tie”. This is an effective look, but it can also tend to look like a cliché. Go for something catchy, bold, such as a deep blue, a great striped tie or a tie with a muted pattern.
Studies have shown that the worst colors you can wear on a job interview are orange, red (as we said before) and pink. We would also not recommend wearing a bright yellow, as it might hurt the interviewer’s eyes.
A great tie is a simple and effective way to showcase your personality. Go for something that speaks to and about you, and you are all set. If you put on a great tie, you don’t even need other accessories.
c) Also, as a rule of tie wearing: when you tie your tie, the lower end must touch your belt, it should not go higher or lower than your belt.
When you go to a job interview, it is recommended to wear dress shoes. Brogues, oxfords and wingtips are your best options. Make sure you wear a pair of shoes that is classic and timeless and that is made from quality materials. In terms of style, if you don’t know which way to go, opt for a pair of wingtip shoes. Wingtips are the most versatile style and can be worn on many other occasions with many other types of outfits as well (they also go with jeans or shorts) and are therefore what we would call investment pieces. Wingtip shoes are recognized by their W design on their cap toes.
For best effects and results, when you are wearing a classic suit, it is best to keep your socks dark. Black, dark gray or dark blue are your best options. If you want to wear colorful socks, you can do it too. Remember never to wear white socks with a suit! White socks are meant to be worn only with sportsgear.
When you are picking a belt to wear on a job interview, you should remember that it should be proportionate to your size and that it needs to match your shoes in color, texture and fabric. One is definitely allowed to break this rule, but when you are giving a job interview, it’s best to show that you know the rules, as dressing by the book will give you a cohesive and coherent look and the person who meets you will only have a few minutes to make an impression of you. This is why it is important to present a look that is harmonious, balanced and pleasing to the eye. However, you must remember that you need to do something to make yourself memorable and not look standard, as this way you will just blend in with the others. Try standing out in a different sartorial area is our advice.
While it is best to keep your accessories to an essential minimum, there are a few accessories you can add to your outfit that will make you look great and let the interviewer know more about who you are: watches for example are great accessories you can wear. One thing you should remember is that you don’t want to look as if you are too good to work for the interviewer – don’t show off by adding all your jewelry and social statement pieces, as these will make you look like a snob and as showy. It is not recommended to overdress by adding too many other accessories (pocket squares, bracelets, rings, etc.), as you want to keep it simple and smart.
One topic that needs to be touched when speaking about one’s style for a job interview is grooming. When it comes to this aspect, you need to make sure that every aspect of your grooming is in its best place, as the smallest detail can throw your entire look off. Make sure you have a good haircut, that your hair is washed and in place, make sure you are properly shaved or that your beard is well trimmed, make sure your skin is exfoliated, make sure your eyebrows, nose and ear hair are not running wild, and make sure that your nails are cut and clean. Also, just before going in, make sure your teeth are their best and that you are not sweating.
As a bonus tip, we need to say that if you have a haircut, but can’t maintain or with it, it’s best to go for a buzz cut.
Bonus: Creative field
It is known that people in the creative field wish to express their personality and everything they care about through their looks when they go for a job interview. This way, they wish to make sure the company knows exactly who they are hiring.
While we do encourage you to express yourself, and agree that in the creative field, one can be a little more cookie dressed at a job interview; you still need to convey seriousness through your look. If someone wants to hire you, they need to understand that you mean business and that you can take their business seriously.
Therefore, our advice is to stick to a suit (you can wear a hoodie when you’ll be a billionaire, even though then you won’t go for job interviews anymore), but you can feel free to go for a colorful suit or to wear bolder, more interesting accessories.
Try not to overdress, as you will tend to look costumey and too over the top. Remember that simplicity is always best and that you can let someone know who you are without putting everything you like on you. A hint here, a hint there and a few interesting details are everything one needs to know to understand you are serious and creative.
Remember that true style and a true good look comes from confidence. While you should wear your clothes with confidence, it is imperative to know that your clothes can make you see yourself in a better light as well, which is why it is crucial to invest in high quality pieces. Great pieces will never become passé! Make sure you wear the clothes and that they don’t wear you and you will be on the good path.
Best of wishes to you on your job interview!
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. We want to hear from you! What questions do you have regarding your first job interview? What do you want to wear to a job interview? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook or Twitter!