It doesn’t matter what age you are, job interviews can be daunting. When you have your heart set on the perfect role, the last thing you want is to feel underprepared and full of nerves.
Handily, fashion can lend a major confidence boost. How? We turned to work psychologist Karen Pine for her expert tips on using your outfit to land your dream job.
While dressing to impress is important, the power of what you wear goes much deeper than that. ‘Research* shows that people prefer to make a positive impact on themselves, rather than trying to please others,’ says Karen. ‘It’s proof that how you feel should be your primary focus, so when deciding what to wear for an interview, choose items that give a confidence boost and make you feel your best self.’
It’s key to remember the sensory aspects of your appearance too. ‘The way you look, feel and smell can have a positive impact on your emotions, and small changes can make a huge difference,’ says Karen. ‘Starting small and focusing on things like caring for your clothes with Comfort products will make big steps towards taking care of yourself and feeling good.’
So we know clothes can make us feel empowered, but you may be surprised to learn different emotional states are correlated with different fabrics. ‘Our research* shows that we associate feelings of calm with cotton and linen, compared to nylon, proving that natural fibres have stronger connections with positive feelings than man-made materials,’ explains Karen.
‘Arguably, natural fibres feel better next to the skin, nurture us more than man-made fabrics and capitalise on our intrinsic affinity with nature.’ So if you’re feeling the stress, ditch the nylon blouse and reach for a cotton tee. Taking care of your fabrics can make a huge difference, too. Washing with Comfort ensures cherished fabrics last longer and your winning pieces will look as good as new.
While we're all guilty of buying an entire outfit for important occasions, you don’t want to spend the interview worrying that your new bra is showing or being distracted by too-tight trousers. As Karen says, ‘When going for an interview, choose clothes that won’t make you self-conscious.’ Test drive your outfit at least once and tackle any red flags before you’re face-to-face with a prospective boss.
Bringing a splash of colour to your outfit is a great way to boost your wellbeing and self-esteem. ‘Try to avoid neutrals if you're feeling anxious. Boost your mood with bright, vibrant tones that make you feel good,’ suggests Karen. Some shades have been proven to instil a sense of calm, such as blue, which causes the body to produce chemicals that aide relaxation.
Bold colours not your thing? No problem – why not add a pop of colour through your accessories? ‘Whether it's a statement necklace, a scarf or bright lipstick, pairing an otherwise neutral outfit with a bold accessory is a great way to add texture and boost your mood,’ says Karen. Bright colours can also help to lift your complexion, leave you looking even better.
Us Brits are particularly attached to a personal look and there’s evidence that finding – and sticking – to a signature style can be advantageous. ‘Clothes are a great outlet for revealing your identity and that’s key for building self-confidence,’ says Karen. Stick to a silhouette that you know works for you because that familiarity is a powerful tool even in the most fish-out-of-water scenarios.
If your clothes last longer, you're more likely to develop your signature style. Plus, there's less need to buy more so you're making a positive move towards sustainable fashion, too. As well as caring for your clothes with Comfort, try switching to a 30 degree wash, and hang clothes out to try as opposed to tumble drying them, or better still, try airing clothes a couple of times before you decide to wash them. It's also a much more eco-friendly option than a visit to the dry cleaner.
When it comes to an interview ensemble, there are specific pieces you can look to time and time again. Fashion stylist Roberta Hollis lends her recommendations…
Discover the positive power of clothes with Comfort
* Professor Karen Pine, collaborated with fabric softener brand Comfort to launch a whitepaper entitled ‘Long Live Clothes’ revealing why caring for your clothes can be good for your mental health