Job Interview Wear On A Budget

You have been called to a job interview – congratulations!  What do you wear?  Making a great first impression counts, yet if you are on a budget, how do you do it?  Here are some pointers to look and feel great.

Firstly, remember the golden rules, which cost absolutely nothing:

  • Good personal hygiene
  • Not too much fragrance
  • Brush your hair
  • Minimal jewellery
  • Shine your shoes
  • Make sure your clothes fit – not too big or too tight – and are in good, neat condition with no rips, tears or stains
  • Cover your tattoos, no matter how artistic or sentimental; and remove your piercings (including earrings for men), some employers frown upon them. 
  • For the ladies, wear discrete make up and nail varnish, not too high a heel and no peep toes / sandals, no ripped tights; and don’t flash the flesh.  
  • Gentlemen, have a shave or ensure your uber trendy beard is well trimmed

The corporate palette of grey, navy or black with a crisp white shirt or blouse and black shoes is the go to interview outfit of choice.  The good news is that these items will never go out of fashion, so once you have bought them, they are in your wardrobe for a long time.  Here are ways to get the look on a shoestring:


Check out voucher code websites for free delivery or discount vouchers on your favourite brands.


For years I have seen a nice suit at the retailer and then gone to eBay to find it being sold for a fraction of the price, having been worn just once.  It might even have the tags still on it!  Not sure about the fit?  Try it on in the shop first.

Budget High Street

A simple trouser and shirt combo (or skirt for the ladies) can never go wrong.  We found some great examples in supermarkets and budget high street shops; some even throw in a neat tie for men with the shirts.  I have seen a workplace outfit for £40 that looks the business: £5 for a shirt, £15 for shoes and £20 for trousers.


Fancy a rummage?  Check out the outlets for classic interview pieces which will last you for years.

Charity Shops

Some amazing bargains here if you are prepared to search, or even ask the shop to keep an eye out for the item you are looking for and put it aside for you. 

Car Boot and Table Top Sales

Wake up early enough for a bargain, sometimes worth the effort but be prepared for disappointment too.

Freecycle / For Sale Or Swap

Clothes for free!  Check out For Sale or Swap groups on Facebook and Freecycle groups for potential items.

Swishing Events

Once the preserve of uber trendy Northern Quarter and Hoxton types, now hugely popular in suburbia and amongst students, this is where you take your old clothes, put them on a rail, then swish your way through until you find something you want.

Borrowing Clothes

As tempting as it sounds, don’t borrow clothes unless they absolutely fit and suit you.  I have seen candidates in suits that are far too big for them, too tight, or are dated.   Dad’s tie will look obvious on a 25 year old.   Size 6 heels on a size 5 foot will be awkward to walk on.  If the clothes don’t fit, you will feel uncomfortable before you have even stepped foot in your interviewer’s office.

A Final Ear Word In Your Ear

You can turn up in a fancy car in a flash suit and make an incredible first impression; however you must prepare for the interview too.  Research the company and the role, show enthusiasm for the job and ask questions.  Remember it is all about chemistry and if the chemistry is there, you will get the job.