A key aspect of your job search and personal branding that you might not think about much is how you dress, both for job interviews and once you land the job and start working. The helpful infographic shown here compliments of T.M. Lewin, a British heritage brand offers helpful insights.
Because you may find the infographic tough to read on certain devices given its size, allow me to summarize a few key points. First, for job interviews T.M. Lewin recommends always using formal business wear. This is a must for all white-collar roles.
Specifically, they suggest that women wear trouser or skirt suits, a white-collared dress shirt, modest accessories, dark tights, and neutral closed-toe shoes. On the issue of accessories I would add they should be modest in terms of volume and impact while retaining a spark of personality. In addition, accessories should make little to no sound when worn so as not to distract the interviewer(s).
For men, T.M. Lewin a two- or three-piece suit in a neutral or dark color, a white or plain formal shirt, a solid, unflashy tie, cufflinks or a watch, and black or brown Oxford shoes.
For both sexes it’s important to forego the use of scents for a job interview in the form of perfume or aftershave in case the interviewer suffers from allergies.
In business professional settings, women should wear a skirt/blouse combination in modest colors with dark or nude tights, neutral closed-toe heels, and “modest statement accessories”. Note that last phrase carefully, as it suggests the importance of subtle, classy personality pieces that gently promote your personal brand.
For men in such settings, the appropriate rule of thumb is to wear dark conservative suits or jacket/pant combinations, formal shirts in traditional patterns and conservative colors, and bright or conservative patterned ties. Gentlemen, your opportunity to demonstrate your career brand is with your tie or your accessories — cuff links, watches, or tie pins.
In business casual settings, skirt or pant suits work for the ladies, along with solid or subtle-patterned shirts or sweaters, statement jewelry, and closed-toe heels, flats or loafers in any color. Formal shirts in any color work for the guys, along with sweaters or cardigans worn with collared shirts, an optional tie (almost any color will work), and suit trousers or chinos.
Given that T.M. Lewin is a British brand based in London, it’s worth noting that clothing norms are more relaxed in North America. Nonetheless, if you aim to present yourself with an air of elegance, their insights and suggestions are well worth considering.
Above all, remember that no matter what work situation you find yourself in, it’s best to never dress more than one level higher or lower than most of your peers. It’s in your best interest to avoid looking overdressed or underdressed, whether you’re in a job interview or a business networking event.
Thank you to T.M. Lewin for sharing their clothing advice with this blogger. You can reach them at www.tmlewin.com.
What would you add to these guidelines?