Interview and workplace style for men has traditionally been all about the suit – and very little has changed in that regard. While fashion-conscious men may look on with some envy at the range of clothes deemed to be acceptable for women at work, the fact remains – the suit is king. However, not every suit was created equal – so don’t be fooled into thinking any suit will do.
Ditch that crumpled, old, worn-out suit that doesn’t quite fit you anymore, and head out to get a new one before your interview. Even if you are applying for a job that won’t require you to wear a suit, it never hurts to get yourself dressed up for the interview, so don’t take any chances.
When choosing your suit try to keep things smart and conservative. Avoid black, unless you are applying to be a butler or a funeral director, and go for a neutral colour like grey or navy blue. Also stay clear of suits that are too fashionable in their cut – unless you want to shell out for another suit every year or so. Instead keep the cut formal and make sure it is long enough in the leg and the arm, without looking like you borrowed it from your big brother or your dad. By contrast, it is fine to show a little of your shirt cuffs when you stretch your arms, but your jacket should not look like it has short sleeves!
While tight-fitting suits are on trend right now, you would do best to avoid going to extreme with this, leaving yourself some space – be sure to check how the suit looks from all sides. Whether you opt for single or double-breasted is up to you, but generally-speaking slimmer figured men should go with a single breast, while those with a fuller shape may find double-breasted is more flattering.
It should also go without saying that your suit should be kept clean and free from crumples. You don’t want to turn up looking like you won your outfit in a fight with a tramp!
Wear a smart shirt – white is usually best – with a plain, single coloured tie. Avoid novelty ties and shirts that have contrasting collars or cuffs. While this may seem slightly staid, it is best to stay on the right side of cautious – especially at interview.
The same goes for your socks and shoes – dark coloured socks and polished shoes are the order of the day, while you may want to bring along a plain cross-body bag to carry a few items such as your CV, a pen, and more. It is also a great place to stash your iPod, phone, or keys to prevent ruining the line of your suit with bulging pockets.
Of course, there are some work-places which are happy to allow or encourage a more relaxed style. Jeans and T-Shirts are fine in many work-places these days, but it may not be best to go for a full-on slacker style, even if it is allowed. You are at work, and like it or not, how you dress will reflect on you. If smart-casual is fine at your work, stay on the smart side of things where you can. A decent, smart coat will go a long way to propping up your style, and you can match it with a smart shirt (make sure it’s pressed!) and some trousers, or perhaps clean looking, smart jeans. If you want to go for a less formal style, you may be able to go with a polo shirt, but generally-speaking, t-shirts or vests should be kept away from the work-place.
However, as a rule of thumb, use your suit first, and always at interview. Remember you are never over-dressed in a smart suit – even after work, you can ditch the tie and head out to your favourite bar!