Dress to impress

content dress to impress work clothes

Work dress has become much more casual and informal since the start of the pandemic. We have all seen a more casual look on our screens in virtual meetings and it has since crept into offices too, as some return to their place of work.

Robert Half associate director, Leo Hewett, says: ‘There are definitely fewer suits and ties being worn. Many companies are seeing suit and ties replaced by chinos and shirt and open collar.’

If you are unsure how a company’s work dress requirements are changing, the most important thing to consider when you are dressing for a job interview is that you should look professional and polished, regardless of the position you are applying for.

Attire that is always inappropriate for a job interview includes flip flops, wedge sandals, ripped jeans or shorts, tank tops, halter tops, sandals, strapless tops and dresses, and athletic attire like yoga pants and trainers. Casual interview attire might show your potential boss that you don’t take the job seriously enough to dress the part.


The key is to understand the dress code at the potential employer and mirror-match with the other staff.

Try to find out through your recruiter or the company itself of the dress codes and culture in advance. One way is to simply call ahead to the switchboard – the receptionists will likely be able to offer valuable insight and tips. Alternatively, look at company websites and social media as a way to get a feel for what staff are wearing, or even pop by the office a few days before your interview to see for yourself.

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Hewett adds: ‘If in doubt, it is always better to overdress than under dress. We sent one candidate to an interview and told her to dress in smart business attire. She didn’t have any smart dresses and so wore a ball gown to her interview. The client loved it and commented on the fact that she was well presented. She got the job.’


There are other rules of thumb to consider, of course.

Cool tech start-ups are likely to be informal. Turning up too formally may go against you, as you may be considered too corporate. On the flip side, wearing a smart formal suit to an interview with a major bank is a given.

‘The right dress shows you are serious and care, and it’s especially important to show you have gone to the effort and really want to work for that business,’ added Hewett. ‘Employers want people that fit in with their company culture, which is why mirror-matching your interviewer can give you the edge in an interview.’

This article was first published in Student Accountant in December 2021

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