The dos and don’ts of job interview outfits according to 6 fashion bosses

Style advice straight from the horse's mouth to nail your next interview

Job interviews are a pretty daunting process. Not only do you need to know the company inside out, they say an interviewer will form their first impression of you in under 60 seconds. To get off on the right foot, we recommend the right shoes. In all seriousness though, deciding what to wear should be treated with the same care and consideration as the effort you put into researching the role and the company.

Whether you’ve just graduated and you’re interviewing for your first ever job, you’ve been in your position for a while and feel ready for a step up the career ladder, or you’ve made a 180 on your original career path and you’re starting afresh in a new field, we’ve call upon the sartorial guidance of some very reliable sources. From Marie Claire’s own fashion editor, Lucia Debieux, to NET-A- PORTER’s Fashion Director, Lisa Aiken, scroll on for some top tips on dressing to nail your next job interview.

Check out our workwear edit for some great new season office-appropriate outfits that have just arrived in stores too.

Lucia Debieux, Fashion Editor at Marie Claire

What did you wear to the interview for your role as fashion editor of Marie Claire?
Oh gosh, it was over 10 years ago so I haven’t a clue – it was the summer that I wore my Gucci logo bag to death though so I no doubt had that swinging from my arm.

What’s your number one piece of interview style advice?
Wear something you feel confident and comfortable in. Being comfortable in your own skin always shines through.

What would you advise interviewees to avoid wearing?
This isn’t the time to bring out a brand new pair of showstopper heels, you want to be comfortable not wincing in pain because your new pair of shoes are rubbing, no matter how amazing they are. Wear them in and around the house with socks first to stop the dreaded blistering in its tracks.

Lisa Aiken, Fashion Director at NET-A- PORTER

What did you wear to your interview for your role as Fashion Director of NET-A- PORTER?
I wore a printed Erdem dress with heels and a trench coat.

And for your first ever interview?
It was the height of summer and I was determined not to wear black, so I wore a pair of
navy tailored city shorts with a red silk blouse.

For informal ‘coffee meetings’, should we dress with the same careful consideration as an official interview?
Absolutely. Whatever the job or position, it’s important to wear something that you feel represents you and what you’re about.

What’s your number one piece of fashion advice for nailing an interview outfit (and ideally the interview)?
Add something that makes the outfit identifiably ‘you’, whether it’s a piece of sentimental jewellery or a cool accessory.

Is there anything you’d recommend avoiding?
Don’t wear anything too tight or too revealing.

Lucinda Lammin, Head of Communications, Paper Mache Tiger

What did you wear to interview for your current role as Head of Communications at Paper Mache Tiger?
It feels like such a long time ago now but I remember it was August and surprisingly very hot, so I wore a simple black slip dress from COS and a pair of vintage sandals I picked up while living in Aix en Provence.

What did you wear to your first ever interview?
I think some sort of black high-waisted trousers with a brogue and probably a T-shirt. It was for a role in fashion production and new business. I think I was trying to say ‘I can be professional but I’m also prepared to get my hands dirty’, which is probably still the way I approach my day to day work life – you always need to be able to adapt to whatever the day might through at you.

What’s your number one piece of fashion advice for interview outfits?
Know your audience. Stay true to yourself but be responsive to your surroundings. Think about the business you’re interviewing for and about their company ‘aesthetic’.

Is there anything you’d recommend candidates avoid?
Anything you look or feel uncomfortable with. If you wouldn’t usually be rocking around in 6 inch heels on a Wednesday morning, an interview is probably not the best time to start!

Sian Ryan, Head of Design at ASOS.com

What did you wear to interview for Head of Design at ASOS?
I wore a gold Jacquard vintage mac, vintage Cropped raw hem kick flare jeans, a Derek Lamb cream turtle neck silk top and Saint Laurent stud fringe flat sandal. It was a bit of a random outfit thinking about it now actually.

And for your first ever job interview?
A vintage silk cami slip that was disintegrating and Doc Martins (my mum was ashamed!).

What would you advise linterview candidates to wear?
It’s nice to show some of your personality in your outfit and think about the role you are applying for; a more creative role might allow you to be more creative with your interview outfit, where as other roles might require a more subtle nod to your personal style.

What’s your number one interview dressing tip?
It’s important to look like you’ve made an effort, so clothing that looks like it hasn’t been pressed is not good.

Caren Downie, Brand Director and Co-Founder at Finery

What’s your interview outfit mantra?
Dressing for an interview, whether it’s in the fashion industry or not, is an extremely daunting thought as you always feel like you’re being scrutinised, and generally people do form an opinion withinin the first 5 minutes. So, dressing for confidence is most important thing to remmember.

What did you wear to your interview at Finery?
My Finery ‘interview’ was quite low key; it was an evening coffee meeting. I had just got off the delayed Eurostar and was in a fluster. It was February so an amazing coloured coat and coordinating big scarf were the statement making pieces, cropped trousers and great boots. Shoes and bags always signal taste levels and careful consideration.

What about your first ever interview outfit?
That was a whole other story! I had just decided to go from an economics degree into fashion, and was a bit over-excited so probably wore something outrageous like a flame red corduroy trouser suit with jodphur style trousers.

What’s your top tip for anyone who has an interview lined up?
Wear something that makes you feel your absolute confident best, and it will make sure you wear it with a smile. As for any faux pas, it may be a little old fashioned but dirty shoes are an absolute no-no.

Caroline Maguire, Fashion Director of ShopBop

What did you wear to interview for your current role as Fashion Director of Shopbop?
I wore a silver metallic bomber paired with a button-down poplin top by Acne (buttoned to the top), and paper bag trousers from Philip Lim. For footwear, I wore my favorite Gianvito Rossi suede sandals with socks.

What about a meeting for project or freelance work, should you still dress in an ‘interview outfit’?
Absolutely. Always be prepared. You never know how a day can go – you could get called into a formal meeting or have to make a presentation. Always look the part.
 
Okay, and what’s your number one piece of fashion advice for interview outfits?
Be confident and fashionably comfortable with what you are wearing for an interview. Interviews are nerve-racking to begin with, so why add stress in something you are uncomfortable in and have to keep pulling down or fidgeting with.

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