We live in times when dressing for an interview keeps getting trickier by the day. And because first impressions matter a great deal in clinching a job offer, it is crucial that your dress to impress.
Unless you’re absolutely sure of the culture or the dress code of the company you’re going to be interviewed with, you could find yourself getting flummoxed over deciding the clothes to wear for an interview.
While we know that the ultimate mantra for dressing well for an interview is to ‘focus on looking sharp,’ we are often afraid of not turning out sharp enough. Can you imagine being interviewed in a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops even with a firm where casual dressing is the norm? Would you take that chance? Surely, this kind of attire will not add any degree of sharpness to your look!
So how do you play safe in such a situation?
(Pictures of products: CLASSIC BLACK SUIT)
Conventional wisdom states that you should dress astutely for a job interview, which often involves wearing a suit. The chances of going wrong by wearing a suit are slim as interviews are perceived as formal occasions by most employers.
Wearing a smart suit can actually create a balance. It isn’t as casual as the jeans-and-t-shirt combination, and neither does it look as ceremonial as a tuxedo.
In fact, by getting a few important details right, wearing the right interview suit can leave a lasting impression of you on the employers and get you that coveted job.
Use patterns and colors to your advantage.
(Pictures of products: GREY STRIPED SUIT)
If you’re going to buy your very first suit, sticking to the basics would be a good idea.
While a classic black suit is considered perfect for most occasions, it may prove to be a bit too formal for an interview. Opt for a suit in navy blue or medium-to-dark shades of gray with two buttons.
Two-button suits are considered professional enough to be worn at workplace settings. One and three-button suits are okay as well, but they should be considered only if you plan to have multiple suits in your wardrobe.
Similarly, unless it is your first suit, you can buy a pinstripe suit for your interview as well. It looks smart and professional, although you may take a while to get used to wearing a suit with such a pattern.
Along with a suit, you will do well to invest in a crisp white dress shirt. The great thing about white shirts is that they can be worn with suits of almost any shade. If not white, opt for shirts in light shades of blue as they look quite erudite as well.
Getting the fit right takes time and effort.
The trick to looking dapper in a suit lies in the way it fits you.
Never compromise and buy a suit which doesn’t sit well on your body. Ideally, it should embrace your physique, highlight your strengths and hide your weaknesses. Finding such a suit, however, is no mean task and requires work.
You will not have much to worry in this department if you’re getting your suit custom made. But if you’re going to pick it off the rack, begin with the suit jacket. It is suggested that you take a dress shirt along to see exactly which jacket will fit you to a T.
Try on the jacket and button the first button. Place your fist between your torso and the jacket at the point where it buttons. If it fits there comfortably, size down on the jacket until you can no longer fit it, at which point you will know which jacket is too small.
Pick the one which is one size larger than the one where your fist no longer fits. Going through this grind is important as it helps ensure that the suit fits well when it is buttoned. If it’s too tight, it’ll pinch, making you uncomfortable which will reflect in your demeanor.
This is not where the fitting session ends. You need to get yourself the perfect pair of pants too.
When it comes to pants, you’d rather end up with a size bigger than smaller. Try out as many as you want until you find one that fits comfortably around your waist and hips. Most suit pants come un-hemmed. You can take them to your tailor, who will measure the length of your legs and stitch them for you accordingly.
If they are already hemmed, get them altered. Typically, the legs of the pants should sit on the top of your shoe without crumpling. Any longer than that, the pants will look baggy around the ankles which will make you look short and clumsy.
If you plan to wear accessories, do so with caution.
Accessories are better left out when wearing a suit, unless it is a belt, a tie and a comfortable pair of black socks.
Stay away from cuff-links. Again, those would be too formal. As far as ties for interviews are concerned, do wear one, but ensure that it is in keeping with your suit. Do not overcrowd your look with patterns. Remember, interview suits are meant to make you look refined, professional and well-read so that it can add to your skills and attitude, and leave the interviewer impressed.
In case you’re wondering if wearing a pocket square is acceptable, you’re not alone. The answer is it is okay to wear it if you’re being interviewed for a white-collar job. Make sure to keep it slick, though. Nothing too flamboyant or frivolous!
You don’t need to be a spendthrift.
You don’t need to shell out thousands of dollars and buy a designer suit to look impressive. There are plenty of options for each budget. However, do avoid extremely inexpensive suits as they are often poor in quality and look more humble than they should.
A suit is an investment, which will probably last you throughout your lifetime. Pick one which is reflective of your personality and in keeping with the position you will be interviewed for. Wearing the right kind of suit can definitely work in your favor at a subconscious level. Who doesn’t want to be associated with people who dress impeccably? Getting all the key elements of your interview attire correct can go a long way in determining whether or not you have managed to create a lasting impression.