Moriati consultant GD muses on what to wear in an interview

    WHAT TO WEAR FOR INTERVIEWS? relentless, ever-changing, season in, season out. Now more than ever styles are recycled, reinvented, stolen, borrowed and mutated. So how not to get lost in this maelstrom of fabrics, styles and colours? How do you dress appropriately for an interview? Should it be plain and smart? Can it be casual? But just how casual is acceptable? How do you send the right message and what is the right message?

    I'll confess I have been both – the underdressed and the overdressed person in the interview room and I can tell you that being 9 times out of 10 overdressed is better than underdressed. Of course in this day and age it would be great to think you could just rock up in your PJs, nail it and still get the job. But let's face it, appearance still matters.


    So, my first advice would be to think about the workplace you are trying to make your new home. Is it a bank, a media agency, a retailer, a café, a hotel? As with any interview, research and preparation are paramount; go on the company's website, social media channels, inside the store or café, check out that bank or hotel and take a good look around. How are the people dressed that already work there? Take your cues from them to show you belong there too.


    The safest option is in terms of colour if you're unsure is black or navy perhaps teamed with a crisp white shirt. Well fitting matching clothes that make you feel good and look clean, freshly pressed and smart are always a plus. Monochrome never goes out of style and always looks classic. Even if you opt for a smart tailored dress it is also a good idea to have a blazer with you to throw on if it turns out to be a smarter (or colder) setting than you expected, or to help you hide by the 'nervous chills'.


    Don't forget about your shoes. Just make sure they're well polished and not brand new! There's nothing worse than trying to enter a room and not being able to walk with confidence because your feet have rubbed and hurt on unworn edges on the journey in. Or staggering in on high heels if you're just not used to wearing them and looking like a lopsided chicken.

    Flat or slightly heeled court shoes or lace-ups for ladies and smart black shoes for the guys (or dark brown if you're not wearing black trousers) will normally do the trick.

    Conservative dressing is the best bet for certain corporate sectors like finance but if you're going for a creative industry there is nothing wrong with expressing your personal style more flamboyantly if you're happy to. If you're erring on the side of caution and want some middle ground, just add pops of colour with accessories – a scarf around the neck is a great way to be subtle and lift a plain outfit or bright and patterned socks if you're male.

    If you think that the workplace is more laid back, you could always wear a pair of jeans with a shirt/blouse and throw on a more casual blazer with a pair of casual shoes, ankle boots or maybe even trainers (that's nearly PJs right?). Just save the flip-flops and over exposed flesh for the beach.

    In my experience, if you're going for interviews for a retail store, restaurant/café or hotel, the safest bet is all black from head to toe – that is most likely their uniform of choice anyway. be emulating the style of the current employees shows you understand their culture and can easily slot in to it.


    There's no point in nailing that outfit if you forget to pay attention to your hair (and make-up) Lip gloss and mascara always gives a subtle polish at the very least and give the impression of polish. For guys, being well groomed also makes sure you're giving a good first impression; run a comb though your 'clean' hair, maybe even shave? These things make you look put together, presentable and leave an impression that you that not only could you do the job but could comfortably represent the company environment you want to be stepping in to. Even in the most casual of places, attention to detail makes you look look detail oriented, self respecting and confident and that you'd go the extra mile to impress the company. Something else that although obvious is often overlooked but - NAILS! Make sure they are clean. A handshake however firm is still going to be undermined if you look grubby enough to be exchanging germs and if you have nail varnish, make sure that it isn't chipped or peeling. Treat yourself to a discreet french manicure if you're not sure not all creative agencies will be prepared to overlook your mermaid nail art.

    And lastly, good manners and a personable demeanour go a long way. Make sure you wear a smile.

    You only have one opportunity to present the best side of yourself and get that job. Confidence comes from feeling appropriate and comfortable and doing just the right amount of preparation.