The ‘How To’ Guide: Menswear for Interviews

Interview season is more or less upon us. Whether you’re heading for an internship or looking to secure that dream job, the inevitable face-to-face, sweaty-handed encounter (unhelpfully, often with people you aspire to become) is daunting. Here at Impact Style, we feel your pain, which is why we’ve created the guide on how to dress for your interview.

Obviously, before contemplating the outfit you should have researched the people and company you’ll (hopefully) be working with. The psychology of feeling insecure in the clothes you’re wearing rattles even the coolest cats. If possible, pay a visit to the office pre-interview and observe, especially the better-dressed employees.

Be wary of visits on a Friday; it’s many offices’ ‘casual day’. Be particularly sensitive to the level of formality displayed and let this dictate what you wear to the interview. Usually, being slightly overdressed is definitely a safer bet than being underdressed!

For men, formality can be understood as being on a sort of continuum, so our guide below goes from the most formal to informal ways of dressing:

Do not dress for a ‘black tie’ event unless you’re applying for an occupation that clearly specifies it. Not only will this usually be too extreme for the situation, but black is also generally not as flattering as grey or navy on skin tones.The most formal outfit would undoubtedly be a three-piece suit and overcoat. If it is a warm day, leave the overcoat at home and stick to dark colours – you don’t want to encourage sweating, or show that you are sweating.

If you’re aiming for maximum formality, do not neglect the waistcoat and make sure all three pieces are the same colour. The one rule for wearing a waistcoat properly is to leave the last button undone. This also applies to blazers with multiple buttons. If a pocket square can be avoided, do so.However, if you feel one is called for,

However, if you feel one is called for, because it is standard for employees, for example, opt for a folded plain white square. Choose a modest tie, and match it to your suit colour. As a general rule, avoid red ties.

If you are applying for a formal but slightly more creative role, feel free to tweak the formal option above. This will send the observant interviewer a clear message of your individuality. Perhaps add an appropriate accessory or a splash of colour through your choice of tie or socks. But remember, the golden rule is everything in moderation! Do not use a bold pocket square and avoid looking overly flashy.

Unless the setting is very informal, always wear at least a smart pair of shoes with minimal detail. Derby shoes are ideal. If in doubt, a white shirt with a grey or navy suit and black shoes is definitely the safest option.Even at the very informal of interviews, denim of any kind should be avoided. It might be appropriate to wear a plain t-shirt, chinos and perhaps a blazer in these cases. However, be sure that this would be acceptable.

Finally, some useful general pointers:

  1. Turn up earlier to the interview. While waiting, gauge what others are wearing and if necessary, adjust accordingly.
  2. Be sure to have gotten a recent haircut in a classic style (think Don Draper). Generally, keep it short and trimmed. Bedhead might be in style but unless you’re being interviewed to be the next model on the cover of GQ, make sure you look well groomed.
  3. This includes being clean-shaven, unless beards are a norm in the company. If you do opt for one, make sure it’s neat and presentable.

Ultimately, the importance of the interview is for a potential employer to see if in person, you are suited to the company (excuse the pun). Whether intentionally or otherwise, an employer is inevitably going to pay critical attention to your image. Chances are that if you are dressed like one, you’re closer to becoming one. Good luck!

Rhys Thomas

Image Credit: Jonathon Gross via Flickr – License.

Follow @ImpactStyle on Twitter or like the Impact Style Facebook page for more updates on Impact Style.


Leave a Reply