Research suggests interviewers often take only five minutes or so to decide whether you’re even vaguely in the running for the job or not. If that’s true, you might well ask why they drag it on for another half hour or more? But more importantly, you should be wondering what you can do to make those first impressions count.

Well, before you get stuck into your qualifications, experience, willing and determination – and the standout personal qualities you clearly bring to the table – the research makes it clear that how you present yourself is kind of crucial. And it kind of makes sense. Rightly or wrongly, we all make snap judgements based on what people wear, so a suit is a powerful way to send positive messages in all kinds of scenarios.


First off: do your research

You may already have some idea of the dress code at your potential place of work, but having said that you wouldn’t wear an apron to an interview for a chef’s position, or a lab coat for a research job. Extreme examples, but the point is your interview outfit is arguably more about expressing professionalism and poise than your keenness and ability to do the work. That comes when you’ve passed the five-minute mark!

A good rule of thumb is simply to dress on the smarter side, especially for office-based or public-facing positions. Literally dress ‘up’ to show you’re taking the position seriously and appreciate that appearance matters. It’ll give you confidence, too.


Be a suit-able candidate

A well-fitting suit conveys self-respect and an awareness of presentation in formal situations, which are both important boxes to tick for any employer. Even if your potential working environment is normally relatively casual, it’s better to show that you can look amazing, even if you won’t normally have to.


Okay, let’s assume a suit is the best strategy. Let’s get into some specifics…


The tried and tested Two-Piece Suit

As an interview outfit, the two-piece suit is great for job interviews. There are all kinds of cuts and designs available at Slater Menswear, from our own established brands ONESIX5IVE, Charlton Grey, Guthrie & Valentine and Fellini Tailored, to selected cuts from the likes of Paul Costelloe. Add a plain shirt and match with shoes, tie and pocket square, and you’re well equipped to clear the first hurdle with aplomb.

Up a notch with a Three-Piece Suit

The three-piece suit is the everyday outfit for some roles, but even if not, it’s a great way to show you’re no stranger to smart professionalism, and that you can turn on the style when appropriate. And it’s highly unlikely any employer will see a well thought-out three-piece as an interview faux pas. Ultimately, it shows you mean business.

What’s more, it’s a great suit to have on your rail for when the need arises. This probably isn’t the only interview or formal occasion where a stylish and versatile suit will make a powerful statement. You can play it safe for interviews by sticking to the classic black, blue and grey colourways. Or, if you sense more impact is in order, by all means, go with a bold check or pinstripe.

How does it feel?

Comfort and confidence counts for a lot, so make sure you take the time to find the suit that feels good as well as looks good – and take advantage of Slater Menswear’s friendly expert advice and free alterations to perfection, whether you buy online or in-store.


The third option – Smart Casual

If a suit isn’t your thing, or doesn’t seem like the right thing for your interview, then there’s no shortage of blazer and trouser combos to nail the look and feel for your interview. Chinos are a popular way to step away from the fully formal trouser option, and even a smart pair of jeans can be appropriate as long as you match your blazer and shirt, and any knitwear and accessories you choose to weave into your interview look.  

The mix and match options here also give you freedom to ‘layer up’ with a waistcoat or crew-neck sweater.

Step it up with the right shoes

You can start with the footwear and build an outfit on them if you wish, but we strongly recommend nailing the threads first, and then selecting the shoes that complete the picture. Who knows – maybe your interviewer will base their decisions on your choice of footwear. Unlikely, but you might as well narrow the odds! We’ve many excellent brands to choose from, including our own ONESIX5IVE square-toes and Charles Southwell Dress Shoes, and some fantastic Loake brogues.

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‘Did I wear the right thing?’

It’s always hard to gauge if you’re dressed to give the best first impressions. If you’re not sure what’s appropriate or expected of you, a good rule of thumb is to favour the smarter option… but not go over the top. If you can, why not ask a friend who works in a comparable environment, or perhaps approach a Slater Menswear expert for some pointers.


Let us know if you’ve got any top tips of your own for dressing for success. We love hearing about how you style Slater Menswear!