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What is the perfect interview outfit? A guide for a school leaver or graduate

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Congratulations if you have just finished school, sixth form or university and are about to graduate!  It’s an exciting time as you enter a new chapter of your life, but also pretty nerve-wracking and stressful as you enter the world of job interviews to land your perfect career.  Having the perfect interview outfit prepared in your wardrobe ready for any last minute interviews will take a little bit of that stress away so you can focus on practicing your perfect interview answers.

Here is a guide to help you choose the perfect interview outfit:


First you need to decide whether the job interview requires smart or casual dress.  If you’re unsure then take a look at what the employees are wearing if possible or use your common sense to decipher the type of company it is.  Totally casual should only be used for charity work or a very casual unpaid role, though I’d still recommend something presentable.

Women should avoid mini-skirts, bare legs or ripped clothing.  Dark smart-ish jeans may be acceptable.  Again, use your own judgement.  Dark jeans or a mid to full length skirt with a plain top and cardigan is perfect.  Or a sensibly patterned or plain mid-length dress with cardigan.  Choose smart pumps and avoid trainers or heels.

Men, too, should only wear jeans if they are smart and dark coloured.  There are some jeans nowadays that look very much like trousers and you can’t even tell they are denim at all.  This style is perfect.  Chinos are also much smarter, than say joggers which you definitely shouldn’t wear, and also comfortable.  Choose a plain long sleeved top, chinos or dark jeans and a pair of dark plain slip on pumps for a casual look that’s not too scruffy.


Sometimes a dress-code may be specified when you’re invited to an interview and it may request a business-casual dress code.  This could be because this is what is expected of the staff in the office when it comes to clothing or because they want you to be comfortable for the interview.

Women, don’t go too casual.  Though there is casual in the title it’s still best to edge towards looking smarter rather than the casual side.  For example, rather than wearing a full skirt suit you can skip the blazer and just wear the suit skirt and a formal shirt with smart flat pumps instead of heels.  Tailored trousers or a tailored dress with a cardigan and flats will still look formal, but you’ll be comfortable too.

Men can generally follow the same rules and instead of being totally suited and booted up, skip the suit jacket and simply wear the suit trousers with a smart shirt.  There are lots of appropriate mens dress shirts online to choose from.  To make things easier go for a non-iron shirt.  This will save time between all those job interviews you’re definitely going to be invited for too!  Jeans are a no-no this time round as they’re definitely too casual.


For formal interviews you will need to totally adopt the smart look.  If you are being interviews by CEOs and directors of companies then you need to look your best.  Use your judgement to determine what sort of role you are applying for, but if you’re applying for a high-flying career such as a lawyer then you’re going to be expected to look the part.

Women should always opt for a suit.  There’s still a choice of a trouser or skirt, but the skirt should be a respectable length.  A tailored suit can suit your figure and style, so it certainly doesn’t need to be frumpy or boring.  Teamed with a smart pair of high heels such as a Mary Jane style or even a pointed toed mid-height stiletto that oozes confidence, pristine hair, make up and a manicure, you can really show that you mean business.  If you can’t walk well in heels or you don’t feel comfortable, then you should choose a very smart pump instead.

Men should also wear a full dark coloured suit with blazer to a formal interview ensuring socks and shoes are dark to blend in with the outfit.  Choose a brogue or a classic Oxford style shoe that is in unspoiled condition and polished.  Make sure your shirt is crease free and the top buttons are fastened – I’m sure the interviewee won’t be impressed by a mane of chest hair on display!


Hopefully these tips will allow you to forward plan to select an interview outfit relevant for the field of work you will be applying for jobs within.  Always avoid wearing too much make up, perfume or aftershave and keep hair neat and tidy too.  Ensure you look presentable, no matter which dress code you need to follow as even casual jobs will be looking for someone respectable and your clothes need to give the right impression.