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A graduate guide to the perfect interview outfit

1st November 2018 Print

It can be extremely stressful when you’re about to graduate. Not only are you usually juggling late nights at the library as you try to revise and spending hours on end to meet that 10,000-word target for your dissertation, you are also looking to land a job which you can walk into after graduation – and that’s without mentioning that part-time job you have while trying to have some sort of a social life. When you are eventually invited for an interview, you often aren’t given much time to prepare and they come around quickly, leaving you little time to choose your interview outfit. CT shirts, who have a great fitted men’s shirt range, gives us some advice: 


For roles such as charity work and casual unpaid internships, casual attire is suitable. For these interviews, it is likely that they won’t expect you to be dressed very formally, and will be more concerned with your personality, including your punctuality. Of course, it’s always good to make a positive first impression, so still consider what you’re wearing. 


For women, it’s acknowledged that skirts and jeans are appropriate clothing in a casual interview. To ensure you still look presentable, it’s wise to avoid mini-skirts with bare legs and ripped jeans. You could wear a smart dress with tights and a cardigan or a shirt-jumper combo with a smart pair of slacks or jeans. 

You shouldn’t worry too much about your choice of footwear as it’s likely to be a relaxed vibe. Opt for a smart ankle boot or flat pump, and perhaps avoid trainers and high heels. 


It’s slightly more difficult for men to dress casually without looking too underdressed. Jeans are definitely appropriate, but similar to our advice for women, steer clear of ripped jeans. You should avoid wearing joggers or tracksuit tops, as these will not give off the best impression. A safe option would be a long-sleeved top, jeans, dress shoes such as Chelsea boots or brogues, and a smart jacket. 

Business casual

In some instances, your interview invitation will specify business-casual attire. This may be because they have this dress code in the office or it may be for an assessment day where you are expected to be there all day and recruiters want you to feel comfortable. 

If you don’t know what you should be wearing, lean towards dressing more formally that casual to avoid giving off the wrong impression. 


There’s a freedom for women when it comes to a business-casual dress code instead of a strictly professional interview. You could wear pinstripe or patterned dress slacks with a smart shirt tucked in. 

Another option is to wear a smart shirt with a wide collar underneath a long-sleeved sweater. This look gives off a formal impression, whilst not as professional as a shirt and suit jacket. 


A smart shirt is expected when it comes to a man’s business-casual dress code. Why not invest in a non-iron shirt? It stays free of creases and there’s no need to rush around with the iron the morning before the interview! Also, if you’re travelling by car or public transport to the interview, a normal shirt can become creased but this is avoided through the non-iron garment. 

Try to avoid wearing a polo shirt, as this will appear too casual. Be sure to still steer clear of wearing jeans. 


A professional look should be adopted for formal interviews. These interviews could be in front of directors of the company for a graduate job or an internship. You want to look your best here; your appearance certainly counts, and with the high level of competition at this stage, you don’t want to fall at any hurdles. 


A suit is a good choice of clothing for women in a professional situation. When it comes to dressing the bottom half, go with what you feel comfortable in. If you decide to wear a skirt, wear one with a hemline just below the knee to avoid it rising and becoming too revealing. A suit doesn’t have to be boring — shop around and discover suits that are tailored in different ways — find one that suits your body shape. When it comes to footwear, heels are acceptable but make sure you can walk with confidence in them. If you don’t feel happy wearing heels, opt for pumps or shoes with a smaller heel. 


Wearing a suit is also advised for men attending a formal interview. Wear dark socks to blend in with your outfit and bring a briefcase to look professional. Brogues are a good choice of footwear — they are stylish and smart without being mundane. Choose a tailored suit that you feel represents your style, a slim leg may be best suited for you and your shape. 

What to avoid 

It’s important that you feel comfortable in your outfit. If you’re not, it will show in the interview! However, there are a few things that you should avoid: 

- Too much perfume or aftershave.

- Too much jewellery or makeup.