What to wear for a job interview: suit, shirt, tie and shoes

“How important is your first impression really”? The world is divided into two categories of people, those who agree with this idea and those who consider it obsolete.

One thing is certain: when you face an important job interview you have one and only one chance to impress, show who you are and what you are willing to do to get what you want.

The first impression, and therefore the way you appear, or the outfit you choose to face this moment, plays a crucial role in the good (or not) success of a meeting. Whether it’s a senior position or an internship, the clothes you wear are your business card and they tell something about you.

Why the look for a job interview is an important choice

A Monster.co.uk study found that job seekers have only six minutes and 25 seconds on average during the first meeting to impress potential employers. Research reveals that hiring decisions are made based on tattoos, handshakes and important factors that define the first impression.

In fact, employers classify first impressions as the second most important factor (24%) when considering hiring, after work experience (36%), but before a candidate’s education (12%). Job seekers should pay attention to the look, as 62% of the recruiters surveyed for the research say that a candidate’s taste in clothes affects his employability.

In short, a carefully chosen look (and class) changes the approach of others towards what you say: this is the truth. The way you dress can greatly influence the attitude of others and determine their trust. If you want to be heard in the right way, the secret is to “dress” the message correctly. But there is more.

Dressing appropriately for a first job interview will give you a greater chance of being successful because it shows that you are able to “play the game”. On the contrary, dressing inappropriately, for example too informal or careless, can be interpreted as a shallow and light attitude towards work and authority, demonstrating a lack of understanding of the etiquette required by the working environment.

Those who will interview you expect an adequate look for the big day. If not, you will be unconsciously saying something important to them. You will be showing that you don’t care much about the position or that you don’t understand perhaps the basics of what it takes to be successful in the world of business. Why risk it?

For each company, pick appropriate clothing

When we talk about a “well-groomed and adequate” look, we are not referring to a single combination of pieces of clothing that can always be valid, and that’s because the concept of appropriateness must be adapted to the specific working contexts.

For example, start-ups and new companies have embraced a much more informal approach towards the dress code. This means that showing up for the interview in a dark grey double-breasted suit, when everyone is wearing jeans and T-shirts, may make you feel out of place or inappropriate. The same goes for the opposite situation.

It is therefore important that you are aware of the culture of the company you want to belong to, try to understand its style and environment. Do some more research online, you will still need it during the interview, and then carefully establish the right clothing.

Pick the right clothes for the interview

If it is important to choose your look based on the type of employer, it is also important to do so taking into account the position for which you are applying. Give the recruiters a taste of the success that you will guarantee to the company if they choose you for that position.

Be aware, this does not mean overdoing it. The so-called overdressing (dressing in a more formal or elaborate way than appropriate), can generate an undesired effect. If you are not applying for a management position, and you exaggerate with the formality you will give the impression of overestimating the role or yourself. Just as the opposite is true.

Make the right considerations don’t get too caught up in the situation and “dress for the job you want”.

Three looks to ace any interview: formal, informal and in video call

Come avrai capito, il look giusto può davvero fare la differenza tra un “benvenuto” e un “le faremo sapere”. Qui di seguito trovi qualche consiglio per creare tre outfit versatili, da adattare poi in base ai tuoi gusti e alla tua personalità, per superare il tuo prossimo colloquio di lavoro con successo.

Formal interview

Are you about to face the first interview for a finance job, in consultancy or in insurance? Well, it will probably be clear to you too that these are the classic examples of a formal work environment, which impose a traditional male dress code. The suit, shirt and tie are the keywords. Let’s see in detail.

Suit

A suit is the basis of every formal look, but a made to measure suit will give even the most insecure person an extra dose of confidence and will distinguish you from other people in the waiting room. Buying a personalized dress, with an optimal fit, is definitely the best investment.

So, you may be wondering: which suit should I choose for a formal interview? Keep it simple: a single-breasted two-button suit with notched lapels, in shades of grey or blue. Versatile, effective and sober. Choose medium-dark shades and fabric weight that can come in handy during multiple seasons and multiple weather conditions, therefore between 240 and 270 grams.

A jacket with a good cut helps to keep a correct posture, a significant psychological advantage. So, be careful of the fit! The jacket must exalt the shoulders in the right way and follow the waist in order to thin it. Make sure that the sleeves are the right length: the cuff of the shirt must be visible for no more than a centimetre and a half. And pay attention to the length of the pants, the bottom should at best touch the upper of the shoe.

Shirt

In this case, the solution is rather simple: the shirt must be clean, well ironed and light. White or light blue with a straight point collar, to pair well with the tie. A gentle suggestion: the situation is likely to cause you to sweat a little, so we recommend wearing a white V-neck T-shirt under a lightweight shirt.

Tie or bow tie

Feel free to choose micro designs and softer colours. It’s okay to show your personality through accessories, but up to a point (an acid green pocket square is always a no-no). In addition, there are many ways to tie a tie, you need to know one, the easiest, the so-called “four-in-hand”. Simple and suitable for all situations.

Shoes and accessories

It is well known that one of the first things that you notice when you meet someone is his shoes. Your attention to detail will, therefore, be reflected in the condition of your shoes, take care to polish them before the interview. A small trick that will make the difference.

The sophisticated Monk Strap model in black with a double strap is the latest touch of class granted in most offices, but if daring is not for you then opt for the classic: a pair of Oxford or Brogue, they will be perfect.

You can’t talk about shoes without talking about socks, but for this, we refer you to our article on how to match men’s socks impeccably.

Informal interview

As mentioned, the dress code in some companies is changing and the traditional formality is increasingly giving way to a casual and relaxed culture. Workplaces such as start-ups, Silicon Valley companies, new economy companies, all have an easier setting, which does not require you to show up at the interview in a double-breasted suit and tie.

Although formal wear is declining there, this does not automatically mean that you can opt for a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Here are some tips for your informal interview look.

Jacket, blazer or sweater

Whether it’s summer or winter, it doesn’t matter, everyone expects you to wear a jacket during your interview. Indeed, if they don’t expect it, they will be pleasantly impressed. Building a look with an extra layer allows you to give the right balance of formality to the outfit, allowing you to remain more sporty at the bottom.

Try to choose a fabric colour and a pattern that goes well with the shirt and pants you have chosen. Our advice is to stay in a dark tone, possibly blue, with a micro design or solid colour fantasy.

Jacket or blazer? You just need to know that the construction of the jacket will give more importance to the shoulders and make it a little more rigid to wear. While the unstructured and unlined blazer will leave you more freedom of movement and will be more comfortable if worn with a sweater underneath.

Polo shirt or t-shirt

If you have decided to go with a T-shirt, you must be really sure that it is the case, which means that you must be sure that the environment is young and that the interview is informal, and you must still combine it with another layer. Remember that if you are hired, you will have all the time available to enjoy such a casual environment, a little effort today could make the difference.

If in doubt, then don’t think about it: the shirt is always the right choice. White or blue, both will be fine, especially if made to measure. Wearing a shirt at the interview says that you spent time choosing your look, thus giving the right weight to the occasion. Obviously, be careful that your garment is washed and ironed.

Trousers

Here we like the idea of ​​giving you some freedom. Evaluate the situation and on a super sporty to not too formal scale choose between jeans, chinos and classic trousers. Are there any trousers to avoid? Of course, cargo pants and shorts.

Shoes and accessories

The panorama of men’s shoes is quite vast, especially when it comes to casual men’s wardrobes. Our advice is to choose between a pair of Derby shoes or classic brown moccasins, nothing too demanding, but still elegant. Too traditional for your taste? Take a look at the lace-up sneakers, but made of leather and in solid colour. A sporty accessory in the right place.

Video call (Skype) interview

New technologies allow for interviews even thousands of miles away, just having a smartphone or PC and an internet connection. In this case, the details that will tell who you are not only concern your outfit, but also the place you choose to participate in the call.

Try to be careful, look at the space around you and choose a place from which to respond that it is neat and clean. It will do your good and help make a good first impression.

Jacket, blazer or sweater

Nobody expects to find you answering from home while wearing a pinstripe three-piece suit. You can be sure of that. In this situation, it is not necessary to be hyper-formal, but switching from “home” to “interview” mode is very important to concentrate, and clothes play their part.

A jacket and a blazer are the best hypotheses when it comes to a formal interview from home, while the shirt and sweater option can be suitable for easier interviews.

Shirt

The situation is already quite “relaxed” on his own, so we recommend that you always wear a shirt, clean and ironed. It will help you put yourself in the right state of mind and will tell many things about your seriousness.

Trousers

We know, the temptation is great. Doing a remote interview while staying in sweatpants (or pyjamas) makes you feel safe and comfortable, but it is precisely this lingering in the comfort zone that we want to avoid now.

Wear pants that go well with the top of the look. Simple chinos will do, or at least a pair of jeans. You’ll never know if for any reason you have to get up in the middle of the call…

Shoes and accessories

During the video call, try to look nice and don’t forget those little details (like watch and pocket square) that tell others about your attention to detail. For this time you will not have to wear shoes unless they also contribute to giving you the right motivation and attitude to face the interview.

In conclusion

If you’ve secured an interview, it can be easy to assume that the hardest part has passed. You clearly have enough experience and talent to do the job, right? So the only thing standing between you and your new role is all about making a good impression.

Whether you are aspiring to climb the ladder of finance or public relations, or you are a recent graduate hunting for internships, choosing the most appropriate look based on the interview will allow you to win over the recruiters with that extra confidence to face any test or field test.

2 Comment

  1. TS says: Reply

    Hello,

    Are shirts with a different collar and French cuffs (e.g. blue striped shirts with a white collar and white French cuffs) possible?

    Many thanks.

    1. Lanieri says: Reply

      Hello, sorry but at the moment this customization is not available.

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