The start of second semester always brings with it plenty of stress. While many of us are running around trying to find housing for next year, more of us are probably thinking about organising summer work, internships or graduate jobs. Any of these exciting opportunities we might find ourselves in the running for will most likely require us to attend an interview of some kind. Having little interview experience myself, knowing that I might be asked to go for an interview in the coming weeks inspired me to suss out what the best options are for interview attire. Dressing for success is such a big part of the interview process. It is a huge opportunity to make a strong first impression, but with great responsibility comes great pressure. To save everyone else some time, here are my key components for dressing to impress at an interview.
A suit with a crisp white shirt and brogues is really the only option for men. While women have a few options, channelling some traditional masculine fashion is a simple means to a professional appearance. I spend my life in leggings and jeans so the second I put on a professional-looking pair of black trousers, I immediately feel more powerful and mature, which is pretty helpful if you follow a “fake it till you make it” kind of mantra. Cheap but good quality trousers are quite easy to come by. In my personal experience, Peacocks (which has an online shop and no stores nearby St Andrews) has the best work trousers if you are on a budget. Otherwise, practically any other clothes shop will have styles for you to choose from.
If a skirt is more your style, it is an equally good option. The key to a professional skirt is in the length. Apparently, the rule is that hemline should be no more than one Biro length above the knee, so keep that in mind when choosing your desired piece. A killer pencil skirt looks fabulous if you are comfortable with that style, otherwise silk or chiffon skirts tend to be more flattering. ASOS has a wide range of work skirts that, with their great shipping rates, would be ideal if an interview for a study abroad place or an internship is sprung on you at the last minute. Topshop’s satin bias midi skirt has been one of the most on demand pieces this year and almost permanently out of stock online and in store. If you are lucky enough to catch one of the restocks, this skirt is possibly the most on-trend and professional skirt on the market.
To complete the look with your trousers or skirt, a blazer is your best bet. A blazer is a great investment. Simple and refined, not only will it make the right impression at an interview, but they are versatile buys. Your blazer will be something you can wear again and again and match with different bottoms for different interviews or occasions. It’s worth it to splash a little extra cash on this key piece. H&M have a great selection of blazers at good prices, which is handy considering it’s one of the only fashion shops left in St Andrews now. Primark in Dundee also sell very reasonably priced blazers if you are working from a smaller budget or starting from scratch and needing to invest in an entire outfit. Match it with a good quality white shirt for a classic look, or a subtle striped or coloured one, depending on your mood or personality.
A Power Dress
A tasteful “little black dress” is a staple piece of a professional wardrobe, however you should still feel free to experiment with colour. A quality dress that skims the knee, with a structured fit and nice details, like capped sleeves, is professional and still modern. Black heels or ballet pumps would complete the outfit to provide a modern yet classic formal look. St Andrews charity shops may be hiding some hidden gems in this category, so if you have the time, have a hunt through the many racks that may hold just what you need. A dress can be a good option since it only involves one piece of clothing versus the few different parts you’d need to assemble if you choose another outfit.
Above all, interview clothes should make you feel confident and comfortable. You want to feel like yourself, since that will help you come across more relaxed and at ease with the situation. Whatever you choose, be your best self and good luck!