How should I dress to impress at an interview
I have a job interview coming up for a part-time job in a clothes shop for Christmas. Up until now I worked in my uncle’s hardware shop, so I’ve never had an interview before. What should I wear? My mam wants me to wear a black blazer and trousers, but I think that’s too formal. But I don’t want to put my foot in it by turning up completely out of place.
Siobhán, by email
Congratulations on getting an interview – it’s not an easy time to get part-time work so your CV and experience must have impressed them. Your mother’s both right and wrong; while I wouldn’t recommend dressing in full office attire for your interview, nor would I suggest rocking up in sequinned hot pants and a vintage band T-shirt.
You didn’t say which clothes shop it is, and this is important. Somewhere like Urban Outfitters, for example, prides itself on having a staff that really represents the ethos of the brand, so you could dress quite edgily – a pair of printed trousers, maybe, with a cropped blazer, statement necklace (see left for inspiration) and ankle socks with block-heeled pumps. On the other hand, somewhere like Brown Thomas prides itself on employing people who are well put together, polite and professional, so I’d go slightly more groomed.
No matter where your interview is, there’s always room to express yourself – but always err on the side of caution. A printed dress, for example, could be toned down with a simple blazer – this look from AWear (blazer, €65; tea dress, €40; bag, €35) is perfect, if you take away the rockabilly quiff and coloured tights.
If you’re a real heels girl, then wear heels – but not your Friday-night club regulars. Try these block-heeled ankle boots from Red Herring at Debenhams (€78) as a cool alternative. Jeans are an absolute no-no for interviews, and I’d be inclined to say the same for anything that’s more than a palm’s width above the knee. Also: no scarves (too messy), dangly earrings (too distracting), hats (too quirky), and, for the love of Nike, no slogans.
How do I de-hoodie my boyfriend's look?
My boyfriend is turning 30 in a few weeks and I wanted to buy him some clothes. He’s kind of stuck in a rut of hoodies and bootcut jeans and I want to get him something a little trendier, but I don’t think he’ll be delighted if I wrap up a pink jumper and a pair of skinny jeans. Do you have any recommendations for easing him into something a little bit more fashionable?
Ella, by email
I, too, find birthdays and Christmas the best opportunities to inflict my own vision of style on the men in my life – a random Friday-night treat of a new jumper is always met with suspicion or, more often, derision. Menswear has moved in a distinctly country direction of late, and heritage-style tweed blazers, corduroys and multicoloured knit jumpers your dad would feel at home in are all de rigeur – which is good news for you, because the West Counties-style of dressing is not quite as scary as, say, the dandified look of previous seasons, all pastel-coloured shorts and pyjama print shirts.
This blazer from Marks Spencer (€270) will start you off nicely, and will go with his current favourite bootcut jeans as well as they do with these mustard-yellow corduroys (€54). The tie (€27) may be a step too far, but it does add a nice touch.
Although buying one’s boyfriend a jumper as a present is a cliche, this fairisle knit from New Look (€29.99) is lovely. It’s Christmassy enough to make him feel as if he’s making a kitsch, ironic statement, while it’s nice enough to make you feel like you’ve done a good job.
Next year? Cravats and short-shorts.