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Help! 'Big Four' interview - what to wear?

(41 Posts)
ReturnToTheNorth Thu 21-Apr-16 18:25:00

Just found out I've got an all-day interview with one of the 'Big Four' consultancies next week. I've been SAHM for the last couple of years and could really do with advice on what to wear as I'm totally out of touch with current workwear trends. Obviously I know I need to dress very formally, but should that be a suit? Or would a smart dress and jacket be appropriate?

Advice and suggestions very welcome! I'm size 10, 5'4". TIA!

MrsWobble3 Thu 21-Apr-16 18:27:58

I work in one of them and am about your size. Today I am wearing a black shift dress and sort of cream tweed jacket (it's nicer than that sounds). So either of your suggested options sounds fine to me.

MrsWobble3 Thu 21-Apr-16 18:41:52

Forgot to add Good Luck!

bumpingalong9386 Thu 21-Apr-16 18:45:18

A smart dress and jacket will be fine as well as a suit if you feel more comfortable with that. I also work at one of the big four and it's my 'go to' outfit. Good luck!!

swimster01 Thu 21-Apr-16 20:08:06

I work in a corporate setting and have recently been for a few interviews. I too would wear a smart dress and jacket with smart heels. Do you have these in your wardrobe or do you need some ideas>

ReturnToTheNorth Thu 21-Apr-16 22:41:31

Hi MrsWobble3, bumpingalong9386 and swimster0, thank you all so much for your replies and advice (and good luck wishes)! It's good to know a dress and jacket plus heels will be appropriate as I'm not really a fan of suits.

MrsWobble3 - black shift dress and cream tweed jacket sounds absolutely lovely and is a great starting point for some ideas.

swimster0 - I am desperate for ideas! Any suggestions / links very gratefully received.

I prefer cream / camel / navy as neutrals rather than black or grey, but I have a very open mind at this point. I don't have a limitless budget, but I really do appreciate that H&M and Next really aren't going to cut it at this level, and that quality pieces don't come cheap.

I like colour a lot, but I don't want to be remembered for the wrong reasons and am very keen to make the best possible impression, so would rather play it safe at this stage I think.

Thanks very much again for all the help so far smile

Eminado Thu 21-Apr-16 22:48:08

Good luck!!!

I suggest darker colours, not too much jewellery, make up or perfume.

Chewbecca Thu 21-Apr-16 22:53:01

How about this sale Austin reed jacket with a little colour that'd go well with a variety of neutral dresses.

I'd go really classic Hobbs/Austin reed type clothing if you can stretch to it, jacket & dress would be perfect, sheer tights & tidy heels, nails, hair.

Good luck!

leliondemer Thu 21-Apr-16 23:01:27

I think jacket and dress is perfect (I am a recruiter).

Honestly, you can still get some decent pieces from cheaper shops. If they are teamed with classic jewellery, a quality handbag, coat & shoes then a smart h&m dress with a good fitting jacket will be fine.

I recently bought a very nice tailored jacket from phase 8. It was expensive but makes the plainest cheapest dress look much smarter.

Good luck!

Ps good make up, nails done (neutral) and tidy hair will also make much more of an impression than clothes in my opinion.

ZenNudist Thu 21-Apr-16 23:03:23

I'd get a decent outfit. It doesn't need to be a matching suit per se. But jersey dress and jacket a bit casual. A shift dress with different colour jacket better. It needs to be a smart dress really.

What could work if you are reasonably elegant in trousers is a smart pair of trousers and a different colour jacket plus neutral drapey top/cami. Nice heels.

I think you tread a fine line, it's so easy for men to look smart. Women are a mixed bag.

I think if you're determined to go for this type of job invest in a decent interview outfit. Hobbs, lkbennett, just something that fits well and doesn't look cheap.

notagiraffe Thu 21-Apr-16 23:06:47

Hobbs suits are a great investment.

ASAS Thu 21-Apr-16 23:10:08

Well done! Huge achievement getting an interview after SAHMing. I'm a riot though so no credible style advice.

Kathrino Thu 21-Apr-16 23:17:31

I've worked for a big 4 for 10 years and also do a lot of interviewing / recruitment assessments and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I've worn a suit to work because I hate them. Dress and jacket will be absolutely fine if that's what you're more comfy in and don't discount H&M / Next etc, I buy a lot of my work stuff from there and it looks perfectly professional (in my opinion!).

Lots of luck for the interview, I hope it goes well!

ReturnToTheNorth Fri 22-Apr-16 00:29:35

Oh MNers I love you! Thanks so much for all these massively helpful replies smile

Eminado - great tips - I will definitely go for neutral make-up and probably no perfume, not much of a jewellery-wearer anyway.

Chewbecca - that Austin Reed jacket is lovely and I could definitely see myself in it - thanks for the link! I am going to go to Hobbs tomorrow too (cc notagiraffe ;)).

leliondemer - really good to hear a recruiter's perspective and also to be reminded about the value of decent shoes / handbag in looking elegant and businesslike (plus hair, nails, make-up - overall grooming is obviously the foundation here). Also I like Phase 8 so will definitely look in there for a jacket.

ZenNudist - I really like your ideas but I don't feel very smart in trousers as I can never find the right cut :/ LK Bennett is another stop for me tomorrow though smile

ASAS - thanks! I am amazed I've made it this far and obviously bricking it, ha ha! It's been a huge boost for my confidence to be called for interview, even if I don't get a job at the end of what has been a very long and rigorous process. It's really nice to hear someone else say it's an achievement to even get an interview after SAHMing because it really feels like that to me smile

Kathrino - thank you for your insider insight! I think the advice about pairing expensive pieces with carefully chosen high-street items is a really good way to think about it and broaden my options. Thanks also for kind good luck wishes smile

Hitting the shops tomorrow and will report back - thanks so much once again to everyone who's replied for all the ace advice and well wishes - you are all stars smile

Nettletheelf Fri 22-Apr-16 06:51:00

Another ex-big 4 here, and another vote for a dress and jacket. Plain colours for the dress, a bit of contrast in the jacket.

They like people who won't terrify the clients with fashion statements!

Good luck.

Ememem84 Fri 22-Apr-16 07:02:30

Dress and jacket. It's more casual imo that a suit but looks smarter iykwim.

If your after something new but great quality try jaeger. They have a sale at present and the sales are good! Last year I got a 100% cashmere cardigan for £40. Reduced from £120.

AmberNectarine Fri 22-Apr-16 08:06:50

Another long time big 4 employee here. You'll be absolutely fine in jacket and dress (I have some good jackets from Zara) and agree with Katrino - I have worn a suit once, I think!

Good bag and shoes can really elevate a high street dress, if you have them.

AmberNectarine Fri 22-Apr-16 08:08:19

Oh and I got my job there in a suit from Next so don't discount it!

vanillabeauty Fri 22-Apr-16 09:39:17

Did you find a dress?

swimster01 Fri 22-Apr-16 20:16:14

Here are some suggestions from my recent purchases - I don't work in a big 4 environment but it is corporate and have purchased for interviews. Not sure if you are open to patterns though:

www.marksandspencer.com/jumbo-checked-shift-dress/p/p22443910?prevPage=plp

www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-hepburn-shift-dress/p2093413?colour=Black

www.boden.co.uk/en-gb/womens-workwear-range/wh975-ivo/womens-black_ivory-maggie-ottoman-dress

herecomesthsun Fri 22-Apr-16 21:08:59

Have ordered some things from Austin Reed including the jacket linked (in a different size to the OP) 25% off sale today

peppatax Fri 22-Apr-16 21:11:48

OP - heels are not compulsory. Smart flats would be just as appropriate and if all day then best be comfortable, the candidates that aren't comfortable can be spotted a mile off. Current Big 4 interviewer here too.

Hubbubbub Sat 23-Apr-16 10:18:32

I am a partner in a Big Four. Dress and jacket are absolutely fine! Also it doesn't really matter where you get it from. As long as you look neat and tidy and the clothes look well put together that's what will matter. Oh put another way they are more likely to notice if you look a messgrin. I would go for block earthier colours unless you're very confident that stripes, patterns or hot pink suits you.

A tip for you from my interviewer training course (it was 15 years ago but still true!)... they're looking for reasons to hire you not looking to find you out. So look good, be yourself and be confident. Good luck. smile

travailtotravel Sat 23-Apr-16 11:52:10

Jaeger outlet any good?

mammmamia Sat 23-Apr-16 14:27:38

I'm senior at a big 4 too and I always wear dresses with cardigans or jacket with LK Bennett heels or boots.
Cos is great, Hobbs, banana republic.
I have an inexpensive black jacket from h&m that I wear all the time, it fits well and is comfortable.

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