Sounds obvious but how you’re dressed can be just as important as what’s written on your CV when you’re trying to land that dream gig.
A job interview isn’t the stage to reinvent the fashion wheel — stick to your ever-reliable navy blue or grey suit, single-breasted, two buttons, and safe notch lapels if you’re concerned about peak lapels being too flashy. Black suits are too formal, and wearing navy or charcoal will help you stand out from the queue of black-clad applicants who look like they’ve rocked up to a funeral. Mix and match your jacket and pants if you’re applying for a role in a creative industry and want a more casual vibe, as well as slightly cropped trousers flashing a bit of ankle for a contemporary touch to your outfit.
Again, safe style options scream ‘employability’, so you can’t beat a crisp, white, slim-fit business shirt, or powder blue or light pink if you’re feeling really adventurous — and if you’ve got ‘Excellent attention to detail’ written on your CV, cufflinks are a stylish touch. In general, neutral colours and monochromatic items of clothing communicate a professional vibe — except black shirts, which you should have consigned to their grave after your high school formal. There’s a bit more wiggle room in a less corporate environment — a plaid or a subtle floral pattern are both appropriate shirt options, for example.
In case the ‘play it safe’ message hasn’t quite gotten through, saddle up for round three: play it traditional with your choice of tie, with earthy, muted tones or classic stripes or checks in conservative colours. Also be restrained with the width of your tie — the skinny tie phase is over, nor are we back to the napkin-wide neckties of the 1980s (thankfully), so go with something in between, which matches the width of your lapel. A tie bar is an elegant accessory, as is a pocket square to accent the colour of your tie. But be warned, a tie can be a turn-off if you’re gunning for a creative job — showing up to a relaxed workspace overdressed can send the message that you’ve misinterpreted the company’s culture.
Your colour of your footwear should match the colour your belt — duh — which means black leather if you want to appear formal, or tan for a more laid-back style. Black Oxfords are a solid option for the corporate environment, while tan monk straps — which continue their ascent as one of menswear’s hottest trends — make a serious sartorial statement. White leather shoes? Unless you’re applying for a gig at a Gold Coast real estate agent, no, no, no and no.