Dress for success: A guide to job interview outfits

By: Diana Cina

Author: Canadian Living


Dress for success: A guide to job interview outfits

By: Diana Cina
Your detailed cover letter and resume landed you that coveted job interview. Now it's time to research the company, prepare answers and choose a solid interview outfit. Making a good first impression is key. The clothes you wear to meet your potential new boss can make a huge impact; there's a lot more to dressing for an interview than eschewing ripped jeans. Senior vice president and fashion director of Hudson's Bay Company, Suzanne Timmins, weighs in on the dos (and don’ts) of what to wear at a job interview, no matter your field.

Begin by identifying the culture of the company before you assemble your outfit.  If you’re unsure of the style, check out the establishment online. “Event photos are a good way to get an idea of the look and feel of the company’s dress code,” says Timmins. Regardless of where you’re headed, it’s essential that you look polished and professional. 


Fields include: Law, finance and business development

What to wear: You can't go wrong with a sharp business suit, either with pants or a skirt. "Fit is the most important aspect to finding the right suit. Seek out a knowledgeable sales associate and always consult the in-house tailor. Many collections offer suit separates so that you can purchase the correct jacket and pant (or skirt) sizes,” says Timmins. For the interview, stick to classic shades like navy or black and pair with a crisp white blouse and mid-heel pumps.

What to avoid:
An ill-fitting suit is a big no-no. “Suit jackets shouldn't be too tight or too loose. Jacket shoulders shouldn’t extend too far over your natural shoulder line, and conversely, sleeves shouldn’t be too tight over your upper arms,” advises Timmins. 


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Business casual

Fields include:
Administrative, teaching and technology

What to wear: 
Choose an outfit that’s professional, but not as rigid as a business suit. According to Timmins, menswear-inspired checks and plaids are a huge winter trend. Don subtle black-and-white check pants and layer a coloured knit over a white blouse. Feel free to add an interesting necklace and a classic ballerina flat.

What to avoid: Timmins suggests steering clear of loud prints or bold accessories and keeping jewellery to a minimum. The more shiny baubles you have on, the easier it is for the interviewer to become distracted. It’s essential for the evaluator to be focused on your qualifications and not your statement pieces.


Fields include:
Fashion, entertainment and marketing

What to wear: “In creative fields, you can afford to show your personality. Especially in fashion, it's crucial to show that you have style,” says Timmins. Take inspiration from Christian Dior and Altuzarra by pairing a long jacket with a sleek turtleneck, cigarette pants or pencil skirt, and closed-toe pumps. A little black dress and one piece of jewellery will also work nicely for a refined, elegant look.

What to avoid: Showcasing your knowledge of fashion trends is a good thing, as long as it doesn’t become excessive. Skip anything too short, too revealing or too bright. Be sure to shun strong perfumes, as they can overpower the conversation.

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Dress for success: A guide to job interview outfits