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    For the vast majority of sectors, even if you’re interviewing for a job which is likely to be creative, or hands on- where you wouldn’t dress formally for work, it’s still expected that you dress smartly for an interview. It’s usually a good idea to have at least 2 good interview outfits- that way if you have a second interview, you won’t be wearing the exact same outfit.

    For men, this means a suit, with a tie and smart shoes. The suit should ideally be well fitting and fairly conservative- dark blue or grey are safe colours, and your shirt and tie shouldn’t be too bright or loud. If it’s very warm, it’s usually fine to take the suit jacket off while you wait, and if it’s cold, you might want to wear a smart coat over the top.

    You can a wear a smart watch and a wedding/engagement ring but no jewellery. Your hair should be neat and clean and so should your nails (this is something people may notice when they shake your hand).

    For women, there is a lot more choice, but also a lot more scope for getting things wrong. A smart trouser suit with a blouse is always a safe choice, and removes the risk of issues like tights laddering! You should avoid anything low cut, anything that finishes higher than just above the knee, bare legs and bare arms. If you’re interviewing for a job in an office, heels are fine, but if you’re somewhere like a lab, flat shoes would usually be better. Avoid strappy/open toed shoes, though.

    Keep accessories minimal- one pair of stud earrings, a small necklace or bracelet, a watch and a wedding/engagement ring are all fine. A smart handbag is also fine if you need it. Everything else is not. Hair should be tied back or blowdried, make up should be minimal/natural, your nails should be clean- you could paint them a nude/neutral colour if you wanted.

    Basically, your interview outfit should say “I understand work place norms, and know how to present myself”. It’s not the place to try and make a statement, or to not make an effort. You don’t want to be remembered because of your outfit- you want to be remembered because of the things you said.

    Don’t wear your outfit for the first time on the day of an interview- if you put it on that morning and find it itches, or it doesn’t fit right, or your shoes rub, that’ll distract you. Try it all on in advance and make sure you feel comfortable and confident in it!

    There are occasional exceptions to the rules, mostly where you're going to be working in a hands on way all the time, and your interview isn't actually taking place in an office. A lot of the time, interviewers will hint towards this by suggesting your wear sensible shoes or bring a coat in their invitation to email. In these cases, it's always good to dress as smartly as possible in the confines of what is sensible- make sure all your clothes are clean and you're generally well presented. Follow basic health and safety rules and tie long hair back and don't wear jewellery.
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