“Your suit can define you.” So said Simon Cundey, Managing Director of Savile Row tailor Henry Poole & Co., when we spoke with him recently; and a truer word was never spoken. In fact, it’s not just suits that define us: it’s clothes, in general. What we choose to wear speaks volumes about us, and projects an instant image to the world (whether we like it or not). Our clothes are indicative of our character, our values and our attitude to life: and so what you wear to a job interview is one of the most important aspects of the interviewing process.
"Your suite can define you" — Simon Cundey, Managing Director of Henry Poole & Co.
When it comes to job interviews, research is crucial. It’s important to know what level of formality the company requires, and to adapt your wardrobe accordingly. If you’re interviewing at a bank, we assume you wouldn’t turn up in a denim shirt (then again, stranger things have happened…). Equally, if you’re called in to an interview at an edgy start-up, we’d advise against a full suit: if you’re sitting, suit-clad, surrounded by exposed brick walls and laid back employees in jeans and trainers, you’re likely to be thrown off your game — and it will look as though you don’t have the first idea about the company or what they’re about.
Know the company — and their dress code — before you open your wardrobe door that morning. Because they’ll be looking for someone who’ll fit in; and the first indicator of ‘fitting in’ are the clothes you’ve chosen to wear. To get you started, we’ve stitched up some hints and tips about what particular industries may want to see in your style choices. You can thank us when you’ve got the job.
In the City, it’s all about confidence
As we heard last year, Goldman Sachs has permitted its employees to dispense with suits altogether. But if you’re lucky enough to have been called into an interview in the world of money management — Goldman or otherwise — we’d advise sticking with the suit. It’s respectful, and it gives off that much sought-after confidence that banks, for example, will want to see. After all, you’ll be managing money — that level of responsibility requires a certain level of confidence, as well as an aura of success. In the City, confidence and success are two of the names of the game.
Savile Row based Huntsman has got just the thing. Their Navy Wool Twill Suit effortlessly exudes a calm confidence and a sharp sophistication: just the thing to identify you as the assured, successful gentleman we know you are. Where Thom Sweeney is concerned, it’s all about the jacket: the right jacket can give off a successful, powerful aura in spades, and this single-breasted cashmere option does exactly that. And Ermenegildo Zegna has the perfect power suit in their slim fit midnight blue offering: impeccably tailored, it instantly suggests self-assurance and moneyed success (pretty crucial if you’re applying for a job in money management) without looking arrogant or ostentatious. In short, it’s a suit that will get you a job.
Huntsman Navy Wool Suit
Thom Sweeney Cashmere Jacket
Ermenegildo Zegna Suit
When it comes to law, we’d advise leaning towards a classic simplicity
The law is about confidence, yes; but interviewers will be looking for someone they can rely on. Lawyers are often scholarly and serious, with a dependable, capable air to them that helps employers to know they can be trusted. Of course, that should never be to the detriment of style — after all, if you don’t take yourself seriously, why should anyone else? — but when it comes to styling yourself prior to an interview in the field of law, we’d advise an air of classic simplicity. You’ll want to come across as sophisticated and self-assured; but also like someone who’s not afraid to get down to business, and to work hard.
In this regard, you can’t go wrong with Turnbull & Asser’s tailored white shirt. Crafted by the brand’s expert bespoke pattern cutter, it features a new Kent collar that’s cut on a curve to ensure a better fit over the collarbone: this is a shirt that suggests quiet confidence and a reliable, dependable character. Meanwhile, New & Lingwood’s grey single pleat trousers are subtle, sophisticated and genteel — all qualities that suggest a respectful, capable individual. And if you’re leaning towards a suit, you couldn’t do better than Ralph Lauren’s Polo Wool Sharkskin Suit: its impeccable Italian craftsmanship will mark you out as the self-assured gentleman you are, while its rolled lapels and hand-sewn natural shoulders suggest that this is a gentleman who can handle just about anything.
Turnbull & Asser Tailored Shirt
New & Lingwood Trousers
Ralph Lauren Sharkskin Suit
Where media is concerned, there’s ample opportunity to show some personality
Media is a creative sector; and, as such, it’s likely to be less formal (though, as always, research, research and then research some more). And it’s likely that the company you’re interviewing at will have its own unique brand; and they’ll want to know how you fit into that. They’ll want to know who you are, and what you, personally, can bring to the table; and there’s no better way to show a little personality than in the clothes you choose to wear.
Sir Plus got the memo with their soft brushed cotton update to the navy blazer. It’s smart, stylish and elegant: and it’s also an update of the brand’s workwear inspired blazer, with an unstructured fit and a slim notch lapel, which makes it the perfect option for showing a little character. Colour is another great way to tell people who you are, as Emma Willis knows all too well — their pink iteration of the superior cotton shirt is the ideal opportunity to draw attention to your spontaneous, creative side. And Ralph Lauren’s stretch tailored chinos are just the thing for interviewing at a more casual media hub: they’ll hint that you’re a discrete, humble sort of chap — but that you’re also a chap who knows how to work hard. Like we said: just the thing.
Sir Plus Navy Blazer
Emma Willis Superior Cotton Shirt
Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Chinos
Advertising is the perfect opportunity to get creative
Advertising is one of the most creative industries around. If you’re successful in this industry, you’ll need to create winning pitches, riveting campaigns and have the ability to tell rich, scintillating stories — so you need to convince your interviewers that you can do all of that, and more. And the best way to convince them? Through your accessories. Accessories are subtle — yet unmistakable — hints at a gentleman’s capacity for creative vision: which is exactly what you want your interviewers to know about you.
New & Lingwood can help you out here: their intricate pocket square is the perfect opportunity to add a dash of colour and character to a suit. Oliver Spencer’s maple navy tie is constructed from mid-weight Japanese floral-printed cotton, and handmade in Italy: as such, it hints at a suave, sophisticated gentleman who has a discernible creative streak. And then there’s the watch. If you’re a gentleman whose watch needs an update, we’d suggest rectifying that before your interview: and the Bronze 75 from Vertex is the perfect opportunity to do just that. A 40mm tribute to the Vertex watch commissioned during the Second World War for the British military, it’s a piece of horological history if ever there was one: which makes it an ideal springboard to showcase your storytelling skills.
For a start-up, casual is likely to be the way to go
Generally, start-ups are pretty relaxed; and they tend to pride themselves on their comfortable, original workplaces. Consequently, the work attire is likely to be ‘business casual’ — or even just casual — but if you’re attending an interview, there’s no excuse for sloppiness. No matter how relaxed the company is, you should never turn up in jeans and a t-shirt; but, that said, we’d advise against the suit option, too. Crisp shirts are always a good option, as are smart trousers; even a relaxed suit has its place at a start-up interview, depending on the company. And then, of course, there’s the navy jumper. It’s perfect for a start-up interview: it’s laid back while remaining smart, and it can be layered over a white shirt for optimum respectability (plus, it can be hastily whipped off if you arrive and everyone around you is clad in a crisp white shirt).
Aurélien’s extrafine merino offering is perfect for start-ups on the more casual end; it suggests that you don’t take yourself too seriously (start-ups don’t like that), but equally emphasises that you’re a together, capable sort of chap. Connolly’s classic navy crew neck will have a similar effect: plus, it’s fine gauge makes it blissfully light to wear, so you don’t need to worry about interview nerves transcending into an unfortunate amount of perspiration. And the ever reliable Artknit Studios is just the thing if you’ve done your research and deduced that casual really is the way to go; knitted from fine silk, it suggests that you’re a man who’s got his life together, and who knows how to buckle down — but it also hints at a playfulness and sense of fun. And if you manage to get all of that across, we’d say you’ve got it in the bag.
Aurélien Navy V-Neck
Connolly Navy Crew Neck
Artknit Studios Silk Sweater
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