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Dressing For A Job Interview On A Budget

Everyone wants to look their best for an interview because first impressions do count and if you look smart and well groomed it gives you the confidence to not only look professional but to feel it too. If you feel professional then it will undoubtedly help you to come across as a professional person to the interviewer.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
November 17, 2023

Everyone wants to look their best for an interview because first impressions do count and if you look smart and well groomed it gives you the confidence to not only look professional but to feel it too. If you feel professional then it will undoubtedly help you to come across as a professional person to the interviewer. However, dressing for that all important interview does not have to cost much at all. With some forward thinking and planning as well as some creativity and strategic purchases if necessary then you can present yourself in an extremely professional manner.

It’s a really good idea to assess your current wardrobe and take an inventory of your existing clothing. Many people have items of clothing that are at the back of the wardrobe and are never worn or you may even have clothes that you have forgotten about. Take versatile items that can be easily matched with other pieces of clothing and see what goes with what. You may own a simple shirt, plain trousers or a blazer - all of which will form the foundation of a perfect interview outfit. Remember this very important fact that will help you -  you may have had a particular item of clothing for several years but the interviewer doesn’t know this so it’s all about your own mindset. As long as the clothing is clean and smart without signs of wear and tear then it really doesn’t matter how old it is. If the clothing is suitable for an interview then you can be guaranteed that the interviewer certainly will not be trying to work out where you got your outfit from or if it is brand new or not! They just care if you are presentable and suitable for the job.

Buying second hand clothing is now seen as a fashion trend and you can buy some fantastic items of clothing in second hand shops or online for a tiny fraction of what you would actually pay in the shops. Often the clothing is fantastic quality, having been hardly worn at all. Not only are you saving money but you will be helping the environment too as otherwise much of the clothing would be otherwise thrown away. In addition to this, there are several online marketplaces which will give away items for free!

You may be able to borrow certain items from family or friends - after all it is for a few hours at most and most people are happy to help especially for something as important as an interview.

Accessories that you already own such as a piece of understated jewellery or a smart scarf can add a touch of your unique personality to the outfit while still maintaining the look of a professional.

Timeless items of clothing always work best. It is wise to choose neutral colours for an interview. Most people tend to also stick to neutral colours without anything too colourful or with elaborate patterns and definitely no motifs! Plain and simple is the answer and research shows that the preferred colours to be worn for an interview are a variety of grey, navy blue, black, white and beige.

Do not overlook the importance of footwear! Flat, modest footwear in a neutral tone which are clean and well polished are ideal. As before with the clothing, you do not have to buy new shoes for the occasion if you already own a pair of perfectly good shoes - just make sure that they are in tip top condition on the day of the interview.

Research the company’s culture and dress code before your interview to ensure that your chosen outfit and colours align with their expectations. The most important aspect of an interview outfit is that it is clean, well fitting and appropriate for the role.

Dressing for an interview when you are on a tight budget requires resourcefulness but it is very possible to assemble the perfect interview outfit without spending much at all - just remember to keep your focus on timeless pieces that convey professionalism.

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