7 tips to dress to impress for an interview and in the workplace

dress code

When hunting for a job, first impressions really are key, and it’s all too common for jobseekers to fall at the first hurdle.

Your CV is often the primary entryway to your new place of work, yet so many are getting it wrong. In fact, job search engine Adzuna.co.uk revealed a whopping nine out of 10 CVs contain spelling mistakes and most CVs contain cliched words such as ‘Motivated’, ‘Initiative’ and ‘Social’ – which don’t help in aiding those to stand out for the right reasons.

However, for those that put in the time to perfect their paperwork and then get invited to interview, it’s then important to remember that first impressions count as much face-to-face as they do on paper; and again it’s easy to slip up before you’ve even opened your mouth!

When it comes to working out what to wear to an interview or your first day at work, it’s a minefield out there! Expectations of office attire have evolved alongside the workplace. With the rise of remote working and an influx of shared workspaces with foosball tables and yoga classes, office workers have dressed increasingly more casual over the years. So with ever changing expectations – and fashion styles(!) – here are some top tips from seven UK fashion bloggers to help you hit the right notes in the workplace.

Embody your inner boss

“Throw on a blazer. Not just any blazer though, a well fitted, chic blazer that you can accessorise,” says Lucy Connelly, the owner of Florals and Corals. She also agrees with Joanne that dressing to succeed is the best way to move forward in your career, commenting: “I find that when I put some effort into how I look, I actually feel much better. So, when I look and feel like a boss – I work like one too!”

Dress from toe to head

Renee Rispin, blogger for Mummy Style, points out that “we wear our clothes weekly on a constant rotation, so our clothes are a way of expressing who we are, to our colleagues.”  Renee believes that “a great outfit is built from the shoes up. Therefore, if the shoes don’t fit, don’t wear them. Many people fall foul of wearing ill fitting shoes to the office, or worst still, ones past their best”.

Dress for success 

Joanne Hegarty of The Stylist & The Wardrobe revealed that “whether we like it or not, our clothes and appearance massively influence our work successes. Going to the office dressed like a slob won’t do your chances of progressing any good.” She highlights you should “dress smartly to give yourself the best chance of achieving the success you deserve.” The biggest office fashion faux pas for Joanne is “arriving to work in stained clothes” – she claims this “automatically screams ‘lazy’ and ‘disorganised’”

Don’t restrict yourself 

The editor of Bristish Style Society, Natasha Henson, says comfort is the best way to get through the working day: “Comfort is key, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be stylish.” Natasha will try the ‘sit down and stretch test’ when it comes to clothing to see whether the piece of clothing would be comfortable after prolonged periods. She gives the top tip: “If it’s too tight or restrictive, it can be a significant distraction during your working day.” Natasha’s fashion no-no is when employees are too comfortable, claiming: “Strappy sandals and flip-flops can be a little too casual for the environment, and also present a health and safety issue, too.”

Be versatile

Not only does office fashion need to be comfortable and professional – it needs to be versatile. Iwan from Mr Carrington comments: “A day at the office can involve a swelteringly hot, packed train, followed by a meeting room with the air conditioning stuck on high. So, opt for pieces that you can layer to work with the different temperatures.” Iwan also suggests to carry “a spare shirt or top” … “in case of any morning latte spills” and adds, “always carry deodorant!”

Express yourself

Aftab Pathan, blogger at Fresh and Fearless, recognises that “Style is personal. Everyone has their own personal ways of dressing and that’s my favourite thing about clothing. It’s open to your own interpretation and often enough, your character can shine through what you wear, without having to utter a word.” You can therefore set the expectations with the clothes you put on. He recommends:  “Style is yours to play with, so never forget to add a piece of you to your daily outfits, even for work.”

Invest in a blazer of glory

Finally Ellie Dickinson, blogger at Life of Ellie Grace, says a blazer is the best way to create a simple smart office look “depending on my day to day, I find a blazer is a great way to smarten up a look and take an outfit from casual to more traditional office wear.”