Dress for Success

What to wear? How can I dress for success?

Did you know that recent research has shown that image is as important as a post graduate degree for many recruiters?

This doesn’t mean you don’t need the qualification of course but the point is if two candidates can do the job the interviewer is most likely to choose the candidate with the most favourable image.

This is because in today’s media savvy world we have learned to judge by appearances. Yes, it might be unfair, but appearance does matter.

So make sure you dress for success. It won’t do you any harm and may well do your credibility and suitability a great deal of good.

Don’t let poor appearance and grooming work against you.

If you know there are many people that can do the job you are going for, image may well be the deciding factor (though few employer would openly give that as a reason)

How can I Dress for Success?

Always be smart is the golden rule. This is no time to be fashion conscious, over dressed, made up to the nines or kitted out in designer gear. 76 x 85


Smart, simple, neutral, well fitted and suitable for the weather is your start point.(Yes, I have been caught out being interviewed on a boiling hot day when even the thought of a jacket made me sweat even more. I wore a short sleeved dress which I knew wasn’t right and didn’t get the job)

A suit or jacket and trousers/skirt are always the safest bet. If you haven’t got a suit and don’t want to invest then a smart cardigan or dress might do but take care it doesn’t look too casual.

A word of warning. Don’t take plain to the extreme. Interviewers soon forget who is who when all women candidates turn up in navy suits, white blouses and ponytails, and men in dark suits, white shirts and plain tie. Be different but stick within the conventional norms for the company recruiting.

Even if you are going for a job in an organisation you know has a relaxed dress code play safe for the interview. Wear a jacket. You can dress down when you are an employee.

Do go for something that makes you stand out from the crowd. (I once wore a fuchsia coloured jacket for an interview. It was a great colour for me and fitted beautifully. I stood out from the other candidates and I got the job. Later someone commented on the jacket as being a bit much for an interview. But I got the job. Who knows whether I would have got the job if I had worn a safer colour? I think I might have but I think the jacket helped.)

Anything will do. A coloured blouse, a bright jacket an eye catching tie or scarf. Just make sure it suits you and the occasion and makes you feel more confident.


Have the right shoes- and give them a clean. Some people, interviewers included, are obsessed with shoes and will definitely take a look


Make sure you have a bag big enough but not too big to take the items you need on the day including your portfolio. Not the time to take a carrier bag, shopping bag or rucksack. Be prepared! Also remember to take a decent pen. You don’t want to pull out that chewed pen from your trip to Disneyland.

Investing in some advice from a Style Consultant could prove to be the best money you’ve ever spent on your appearance. Advice on the colours and styles that suit you will give you the confidence to look the best whenever it matters.

We recommend this website www.lookgoodclub.co.uk and the excellent Image Consultant who runs it, Julie Sanders.

Her book the Shopping Rules will tell you all you need to know if you can’t get to her studio to see her personally. She also does an on-line service if you send her a head and shoulders photo of yourself.

You can find our Dress for Success checklist by clicking here and also more information on the correct dress code by clicking here.