As a student, it can be difficult to afford smart clothes that are appropriate for an interview, especially in addition to the nights out and all the food that you need to buy. As the workplace changes through time and adapts to modern ways of living and working practice, what you should wear has also changed.
Ideally, as a student you should be exuding charm and charisma with a willingness to learn, but this should also be matched by the clothes that wear to your interview. Your attire should be formal but not conventional, and should help you to stand out from the crowd.
Noose & Monkey, a leader in formally modern looks, have put together a style guide for the student who really wants to nail that interview and get their perfect job after graduation.
Preparation is key
Make sure you plan your outfit in advance so that you’re not in a blind panic on the morning of your interview; as well as this, you may have to save some of your going-out funds if the clothes you require are expensive. Common sense really does come into your decisions – if it’s a traditional business environment, then go for a classic suit. However, if the company is more cutting-edge and utilises modern working practices, then a smart-casual look may be more desirable. Make no mistake, you should never attend an interview in jeans, trainers, or t-shirts.
You’ll normally be able to identify workplace or brand identity through the company’s website. Have a look at gallery to see what their premises looks like, as well as other aspects of the business; all of these things will give you further indication as to whether you should dress as formally as possible, or whether a more stripped-back shirt and trousers look is more appropriate.
Look tame not untamed
Even though it can be unfair, appearances are unfortunately judged, and when you’re a student you can often forget that looking your best at all times is part of everyday life. Make sure you’ve had a haircut and a shave, as candidates who go the extra-mile are always more likely to come off well on the day. Fortunately though you won’t have to break what is expected to be your tight student budget while investing in the best beard trimmer on the market today, so it’s definitely worth getting the right gear to tame any facial hair you might want to keep neat and tidy.
Dress up not down
Although subtle changes to office culture from business to business can have an impact on what you wear, you’ll be better safe than sorry if you stick to a suit. Grey, navy and black suits are probably the best to go for, but before you go, check that your black suit doesn’t look too domineering – as you want to achieve a look that looks fairly neutral. Make sure that your suit fits properly; a slim fit always goes down well, as it’s not too tight or too loose. You want to look comfortable in the role that you’re applying for, so don’t restrict yourself by what you’re wearing. Although it is pointless wearing a suit if you have not got a clean and ironed shirt to go underneath, so make sure that you do this properly at home or go to a laundrette for shirt wash and dry cleaning services. This will ensure that you impress your prospective employers.
Remember, try not to sacrifice your own sense of self or comfort because of what you need to wear, if you feel like a tie or a colour will really dampen your confidence or ability to speak, then don’t wear it. If you’re brimming with confidence and want something a little different, then add a waistcoat to your suit for an extra dimension of style. For a unique touch, you can also consider adding a small piece of jewelry that represents your graduating university and year; you can get classy college jewelry designed from the likes of Jostens. A tiny but classic piece of jewelry (especially one that showcases your uni!) could make you stand out, as well as serve as a conversation starter.
Be smart and recycle. If you’re thinking that you’re a student with a limited budget, don’t worry, you don’t need to fork out 120 on a new suit. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to use your existing clothes and turn them into a great formal interview outfit, perhaps even elements from a prom suit you have in your wardrobe? In less traditional work spaces, you’ll definitely be able to pair black trousers with a grey jumper or turtle neck jumper of any neutral colour. If you’ve already got a white shirt and a pair of trousers, then you’ll only need to buy a jacket to match.
Most students often don’t wear a tie and don’t know how to put one on, so you’re probably going to need to invest in one. Make sure it’s a subtle colour that matches the shirt you’re wearing and don’t go overboard on something overtly eccentric – you want your interview to be about you and not your tie.
Last but not least, your shoes
Shoes really help turn a decent look into a classic one. We would suggest that brogues, loafers, and Chelsea boots always work well. Always remember: black with black and brown with navy; if you stick to these rules then you can’t go wrong. Your shoes should attract the eye and not your socks, so make sure they’re fairly basic and stick to black. If you’re shoes are a bit scuffed, then make sure you polish them to give them a good shine. You might think that these seem like minor details that can be skipped, but if you want to make a memorable impression in an interview, then every detail counts.
If you’re willing to take the risk and you think that it could work, rely on a pair of brogues or derby shoes worn sockless to turn any formal look into a modern masterpiece. Keep in mind that not every employer is going to appreciate this look, so you’ll need to really evaluate whether or not this will be the right look.
As a vote of confidence, good luck! You’re always going to be nervous before an interview, but if you’re feeling confident and your outfit reflects this, then you’re never going to have anything to worry about.