How to dress for an interview for under £10

Applying for jobs can be an expensive business. That's why we've teamed up with Debut Careers to offer interview outfits for under a tenner at your local Hospiscare shops. 


Amber Butchart advising a candidate

But how do you know what to wear for an interview?

We asked fashion expert Amber Butchart to share her advice. 

The culture of work is changing in the 21st century, and what’s considered acceptable to wear at work, or to a job interview, is changing too.

It can be difficult to know what to wear to appear professional, but also approachable and adaptable in an ever-changing work environment. More people than ever are working from home, and dress codes are relaxing in industries such as tech and start-up businesses. This has had a knock-on effect, and many sectors outside of this have relaxed their codes too.

But it’s a fine line between looking confidently casual, and striking an unprofessional tone, especially when attending a job interview. With the rise of social media and documenting our every move, and the possibility to Skype in to phone calls, today image is of paramount importance.

A job interview is all about first impressions, and your clothes and grooming are a key part of this. Overall it’s really important to wear something you feel comfortable, confident and smart in. Your clothes can affect your body language and the way you project yourself to future employers, so it’s of utmost importance that you feel like the best version of yourself!

Some sectors such as financial services still have rigid dress codes and encourage conformity in adopting these, so it’s important to research the area you’re going into before heading to the interview. What’s appropriate in the creative industries may not be appropriate in other settings, and vice versa, so do your research.


Dressing for an interview can be tough


In a competitive marketplace it’s important that you stand out at a job interview, but in the right way. Don’t be afraid to bring your personality into your interview wardrobe, but make sure your clothing supports your application, rather than overshadowing it. To play it safe, keep trousers or skirts dark, and if it’s appropriate you can experiment a bit more with shirts, blouses or tops. There’s no need to completely rule out colour and print if this is part of your everyday wardrobe, but pair it with classic, toned down separates or accessories.

Crucially, you want to feel your absolute best. ‘Business casual’ can be a minefield, but it also allows for more comfort than the rigid stuffed suits and starched collars of the past. While it’s important to leave the athleisure and sweatpants at home, it’s no longer unacceptable to have a more individual approach to your interview attire.

Top tips on dressing for an interview:

  • Research the dress policy of the company you are applying for. This will not only allow you to turn up to the interview properly attired, but will show you’ve taken time and consideration before you’ve even arrived.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear colour, but not too much. A shock of colour can help to make you stand out and make a bold statement. But avoid clashing prints or colours unless your interview is working in the arts or creative industries (while I am a huge fan of clashing colours and prints, I’m aware not everyone shares my passion!)
  • Smart separates can be better than an ill-fitting or poorly-made suit, so don’t be beholden to the idea that a suit is an essential.
  • However, a well-fitting suit in a contemporary cut is always a winner, so don’t be put off by worries that you might look too formal.
  • Avoid jeans and T-shirts unless you are really sure that the company has a relaxed attitude to dress, or actively encourages casual dressing (for example, the tech industry). Even in these cases, it might not be appropriate for an interview.
  • To tie or not to tie? Ties are still the fastest route to a formal appearance. While they’re no longer essential for ‘business casual,’ if you do opt to wear a tie make sure you keep it relatively slim, plain and tied correctly.
  • Shoes are important, but there’s no need to spend a fortune to look appropriate. Avoid open-toed shoes (flip flops are absolutely out), but white, low-rise sneakers (think Stan Smiths) have become something of a fashion classic in recent years, and can add a fresh, contemporary element to your professional look. Again, research your company to find out if this is an appropriate statement to make, and make sure they are clean and not scuffed. Don’t feel you have to wear high heels to an interview, but if they make you feel confident, wear them with pride!
  • Everyone should avoid clothing that is too tight or too baggy or too sheer: you want to feel comfortable, presentable and professional.
  •  Remember that the interview is how you’re selling yourself, so it’s not unusual to dress slightly more formally than you would for the position itself.
  • Fashion classics such as a crisp white shirt or a trench coat can be great for a smart and professional but stylish look.
  • The details matter: make sure your socks match and your clothes aren’t creased as otherwise this could reflect poorly on your organisational skills.
  • Avoid garments with too much text such as slogans or enormous logos. While these can be great out of office looks, you don’t want to compete with the words on your clothing that could detract from what you’re saying.
  • A blazer or jacket in a dark colour is always a good re-wearable piece for smartening up an outfit.


A crisp white shirt can be very smart


List of suggested staples:

  • Smart trousers for men and women
  • Knee length skirts
  • Shirts/blouses - not formal dress shirts but smart, can include colour
  • Brogues/loafers
  • Smart flats and heels for women
  • Blazers and jackets
  • Knitwear - smart sweaters and cardigans


To find an interview outfit that fits your budget, visit your local Hospiscare Shop and look out for the 'Dress to Impress' section. 

CLICK HERE to find a shop near you


A good outfit can help with a successful interview


Hospiscare is a local adult hospice charity, providing high quality care and support to people with any type of terminal illness, and those close to them, in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. A gift to Hospiscare in your Will helps to ensure the future of the charity in Devon for generations to come.