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What does dress smartly for an interview mean?

38 replies

sunshineandstarsgirl · 19/06/2023 12:08

I got an interview for next week and they have asked me to dress smartly. Can I wear a blouse and a long skirt for the interview?

OP posts:
GoldDuster · 19/06/2023 14:11

Can you go to the workplace and suss out what others are wearing beforehand? Then use this as a guide, but smarten it up a few notches.

No armpits, no toes, so no sleeveless top halves and no sandals. Dress for the job you want, so scale up the formality rather than down. Nothing "loud", so probably not the long red and black check dress until you've been there a while and worked it out, play safe.

ScottBakula · 19/06/2023 14:37

I agree with pp, a patterned dress may be a bit to informal, I tend to go for tailored black trousers, white blouse and blackblazer or cardigan .
Low heel court shoes with closed toe
No jewellery other than wedding rings , watch and perhaps a very simple necklace.
Clean nails no polish or just nude gloss, min makeup , tidy hair tideup if it's long.
No strong perfume
What ever you decide to wear make sure it won't crease , there is no point in spending ages at home perfecting your look to turn up looking like a piece of paper that got jammed in a printer !

mondaytosunday · 19/06/2023 14:49

I wouldn't have bare arms to an interview, other than that the dress above is fine (put a tailored blazer over it).
The fact they've stipulated to dress smartly and I'd err on the cautious side. Blazer, fitted but not tight skirt and tights, plain top (shirt or sleeveless silk top), smart court shoes. Once you get the job you will get an idea of what is acceptable day to day.

JesusMaryAndJosephAndTheWeeDon · 19/06/2023 14:59

It really depends upon the workplace/industry and that is why you are getting slightly conflicting and some rather odd advice.

You should be a bit smarter than the usual dress for the workplace/role. Some industries will have specific expectations and if you can you should follow them.

As it is an apprenticeship if I were interviewing I wouldn't be too strict as it is very much entry level. I would expect clean and tidy though. I would expect a man to wear a shirt and tie with trousers but not necessarily a suit and I wouldn't judge if some of it looked like school uniform. I would expect a similar level of smartness from a female candidate, so trousers or a smart skirt and a blouse/shirt, or a smart dress. A long floaty type of dress is probably a bit casual for interviews in most professional office environments. I wouldn't go shorter than just above the knee.

If you have a blazer that would be great but don't worry too much if you don't.

I would wear tights if you wear a skirt or dress and wear closed toe shoes, flat or heels doesn't matter as much as smart but don't wear heels if you struggle to walk in them.

If you can post some images we can help more.

JimnJoyce · 19/06/2023 15:01

i think it probably depends on the type of company they are. Fashion orientated you will have a bit more leeway. Accountants/solicitors then def. business wear.
Local Authority office you can be a bit more casual. In my experience.

EyelessArseFace · 19/06/2023 15:07

Plain dark knee- or calf-length skirt & tights (or basic suit trousers - cheap from Matalan etc) with a blouse or top. I wouldn't go for sleeveless or strappy, something that covers the shoulders and the tops of your arms is better. Simple shoes, court shoes, ballet flats or similar, not open-toed sandals. Sensible handbag.

Basically as inoffensive as possible. Unless it's media or an ad agency, in which case go for it!

GonnaGetGoingReturns · 19/06/2023 15:41

I’m kind of laughing at no jacket in this weather. I’ve easily worn smart interview dresses with short sleeves and a jacket on top. Carry jacket put on in interview room or on zoom or teams call!

My navy Next workwear jacket I wear with 2 navy work dresses for interviews and I really feel it pulls my outfit together.

@PurplePear7 - agreed re H&M for work wear for interviews, I’ve got a few bits from there, black pencil skirt, black jacket that are both interview smart and not expensive.

TokyoSushi · 19/06/2023 15:45

Post some pictures for us if you can. Too smart is better than too casual, definitely!

You don't need to spend a lot of money though, supermarkets or Vinted if you're quick will have something suitable.

londonmummy1966 · 19/06/2023 17:09

As its an apprenticeship I don't think the interviewer would necessarily expect a jacket so don't worry if you haven't got one. A plain shirt or blouse - with 3/4 or long sleeves and a plain darkish skirt or trousers and closed toe shoes should do. Any jewellery should be fairly discreet - studs rather than long dangly earrings etc. Makeup ditto. Hair clean and tidy and long hair tied back or put up. A smart plain bag.

User195376587 · 19/06/2023 17:16

I would probably look in somewhere like Next or M&S as they have a lot of work type wear like the suggestions on the thread, if it's an apprenticeship I wouldn't expect more expensive clothes than that

onlywayissussex · 19/06/2023 20:48

A touch smarter than what you wear on a normal
Office wear

sunshineandstarsgirl · 19/06/2023 23:05

Thank you everyone for all the answers. You all are very kind. I have decided on a cream blouse and a blue skirt. Or a long black dress. It will definitely be one of these. Thanks for warning me against sandals. I was planning to wear sandals 😁
Now I will wear shoes.

OP posts:
AnyaMarx · 19/06/2023 23:16

For an interview I've always worn a suit - so matching skirt and jacket with a smart blouse , tights , smart shoes matching the colour of the suit .

Can't go
Wrong then .

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