What To Wear To An Interview

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What To Wear To An Interview

Words by Mr Tom M Ford | Photography by Mr Brendan Freeman | Styling by Mr Scott Stephenson

10 March 2016

Make a first impression that will last with these foolproof looks, whatever your line of work.

If you’ve secured yourself an interview, it can be easy to assume that the hard work is done. You’re clearly experienced and talented enough to do the job, right? So the only thing standing between you and your new role is a mild charm offensive. Compliment the interviewer and present yourself as the witty, intelligent go-getter that you are. Easy.

Well, not exactly. Given that nobody has time to read CVs any more – and you probably came to the attention of your prospective employers via LinkedIn or even Instagram – the interview is far more than a case of simply icing the cake. It is where the real work begins. You need to set out your stall and sell yourself. Are you successful? Confident? Do you have ambition? Ideally, you will answer all of these questions before you’ve even had chance to open your mouth. We’re not sure whether you’ve heard about this yet, but image, apparently, is everything.

Below, our style editors have picked five looks to suit five different interview scenarios. Whether you’re aspiring to climb the ladder in finance or public relations – here are some easy ways to make a fine first impression. Effortless charm: not included.

It’s not a smart move to push the boat out in an interview situation – least of all if your line of work occupies the more conventional, formal side of the spectrum. Whether you should wear a suit as a lawyer is somewhat of an irrelevant argument to have. But which suit you decide on can make a difference. Cut a cooler figure than your peers in this slim Jil Sander suit (made out of extra-breathable cotton) – the shoulders of which are padded to make you seem that little bit more imposing. Oh, and navy blue is one of the best colours to wear as it gives the impression of trust and confidence (some psychology for you there). A knitted wool tie, rather than a shiny silk one, suggests you are a modern, relaxed gentleman – and Drake’s is the best in the business at making neckwear.

If you’re going for a senior writing job, or maybe your first editor position, you need to get across some salient points about your personality. You are witty, you are intelligent and you are brimming with innovative ideas. This graphic Marni jumper is a great way of expressing just how creative you are and gives a flavour of all those “disruptive concepts” you’re going to bring to the table. The Sacai shirt shows you are unafraid of embracing hip, sports-influenced clothes – and that you are au fait with cooler-than-thou Japanese brands. You are clearly a man who has his finger on the cultural pulse (whatever you do, do not use this phrase). Throw on some bookish corduroys and you are a true all-rounder, a man who can parse grime lyrics as readily as Financial Times features. And should you need to bring any writing examples or a presentation to your interview – you’ll struggle to find anything more suitable than this Burberry document holder to carry them in.

The key here is to defer to the brand or client base you will, if successful, be representing – and dress accordingly. In an interview, it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed, and it is important to remember that you are dressing for an interview, not necessarily how you think (or have heard) people dress in the office. With all this in mind, we’re erring on the side of caution by suggesting a slim navy suit by Burberry Prorsum. Of course, this job will require a certain amount of confidence, personality and panache, so try a lively snake-print shirt beneath. Animal print got a lot of love on the catwalks for SS16, so it shows you are passionate about your subject matter – an idea which is only bolstered by revealing an appreciation for classic fashion icons such as the Gucci loafer.

When dressing for an interview, keep in mind the idea that, although few would readily admit it, most are drawn towards people who look similar to themselves. And a quick sartorial review of MR PORTER HQ shows that this idea is most evident on the design desk (sorry, guys). So, stay true to form. As a designer, you are going for creative roles in, possibly, creative companies, so you can bank on the fact that you don’t need to wear a suit for an interview. However, aligning yourself with Dries Van Noten – one of the original Antwerp Six (for the uninitiated, this is a radical design collective, not a terrorist cell) – will do you your work credentials no harm. And neither will embodying a streamline, minimalist aesthetic with some slim, wool trousers by Theory and a simple Valentino sweater.

Investment bankers are often imagined as risk-taking, brash individuals in the mould of, say Gordon Gekko or Patrick Bateman. But the reality is much different. Since that little financial crash we experienced around eight years ago, banks are increasingly looking to employ safer, more academic candidates. So, the key words to inspire your interview attire should be along the lines of “enterprising”, “sophisticated” and “dependable”. This double-breasted wool suit by Kingsman – our in-house brand – ticks all of these boxes. And, with its slim waist and sharp shoulder line, it avoids that boxy shape we associate with the banker suits of the heady 1980s. Add some round-frame spectacles (if you require them) and a polished leather briefcase (if you have things to put in it) to complete the look. If you want to ensure you exude some old-fashioned Wall Street ruthlessness – slip on a contrast-collar shirt, such as this one by Tom Ford.