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MENSWEAR DIARIES: HOW TO DRESS FOR AN INTERVIEW

26.08.16

Polishing your CV and prepping your answers are only half of the battle when looking for a new job. Yes your knowledge, manner and enthusiasm are of course of paramount importance, but you should never underestimate the power of a well-dressed first impression. So, what's the best way to get dressed for success? Here are our five rules for perfecting your interview outfit to make the matter of scoring your dream job that bit more achievable.

1. ENSURE THAT YOUR TAILORING FITS WELL

 Because it's the foundation of your outfit

When the question of what to wear to an interview arises, most commonly the nature of the question is one of what it is that should be worn, rather than how it should be worn. A suit will always be the cornerstone of men's interview attire, and no matter the colour (we recommend navy by the way) if your suit doesn't fit well, your interview outfit won't leave a positive impression.

Not only does a suit that's too tight or too large look blindingly obvious to interviewers, it'll feel uncomfortable to wear and therefore scotch any of your attempts to look perfectly composed. If you don't want the expense of having your suit tailored to your specific requirements (a small luxury that every man would benefit from) make sure that whenever you're buying off-the-peg you consider these rules of thumb.

1. A modern fit - rather than classic or slim - is your safest option

2. Your blazer's sleeves should show just a fraction of your shirt cuffs

3. Your blazer's shoulders should not extend past your own

4.  Approximately, there should be one inch of break (where the bottom of your trousers fall on shoes) at the hem of your trousers

5. A hand inserted flat under your lapel should fit comfortably, clench to a fist and your suit's top button should strain, if this isn't the case your suit is either too small or too big

2. DRESS FOR THE OCCASION

Because strict formality isn't always required

Yes, it's always preferable to over dress than under dress, but it's certainly not the case that all working environments prefer a suit, tie and shirt. Make sure that you assess your potential place of employment's working culture as best as you can before you attend your interview to determine what might constitute as appropriate work dress.

Therefore, for corporate environments stick with a suit, tie and formal shoes, but if the working environment is likely to be a little more relaxed, follow suit and loosen up what you wear. Want to stick to suiting? Opt for tailored separates in contrasting shades or colours. Got an interview for a young, creative agency? Don't underestimate the power of wearing shrewdly chosen pieces of casualwear (no, we don't mean joggers) to communicate your understanding of the company's culture.

3. NEVER NEGLECT YOU SHOES

Because the little things matter

It may sound like fairly obvious advice, but your shoes should never be neglected when putting together an interview outfit. First and foremost your footwear should be impeccably polished. In fact, your shoes should be so shiny that there can be no doubt as to whether the polish is fresh; it's this kind of attention to detail which speaks of your discerning nature elsewhere (i:e: for the job in question) and is an often forgotten afterthought after the painstaking process of choosing the right clothing.

Similarly, it's wise to avoid wearing brand new shoes to an interview. Feeling comfortable is key to looking comfortable, so if you're planning on wearing shoes which you haven't walked in before, put them on for a few short outings in the days before your interview to ensure that they're ready to make their way to your appointment without causing any unnecessary discomfort.

4. SIMPLICITY IS KEY

Because nobody wants to be remembered for the wrong reasons

Avoid getting caught up in worrying about which accessories match which tie by keeping your outfit simple and sticking to what you know. Find pocket squares fussy? Go for a tried-and-tested navy tie instead. Not sure which socks match which shoes? Stick to a failsafe black pair. The white shirt? It will work with anything.

The ideal interview attire should leave a good impression and only that. You should look like you've made an effort, but not too much effort.

5. GROOMING MATTERS AS MUCH AS WHAT YOU WEAR

Because every last detail is under inspection

So, your outfit is perfected, shoes are shined and every wrinkle has been ironed out of your attire. Make sure then that your grooming matches your sartorial shrewdness. Get a haircut (but make sure you do this a week or so prior to your interview) so that your hair is neat, but comfortably familiar. And of course make sure that facial hair has been trimmed or shaved to a level appropriate for the position which you're applying for.

For more advice on what to wear to work, see the Reiss Workwear Guide