Jobs and Careers
How to buy an interview outfit on a budget (under £10!)
Summer is officially here, but for a lot of us, the summer months are going to involve a lot of job applications and (fingers crossed) interviews.
But one of the hardest things about interviews, for me anyway, is deciding what to wear. I’d much rather throw on jeans and a t-shirt than anything fancy, so when it comes to dressing to impress, I start to panic. Especially because if I don’t have an interview outfit, I need to go out and buy one. And that can be pretty costly.
So if you’re in the same boat, don’t panic like I did earlier this summer. It is actually possible to buy an entire interview outfit for under £10! Here’s how you can look the part without breaking the bank.
Tips for finding an inexpensive interview outfit
You don’t need to shop designer
The clothes you wear to an interview don’t have to be designer, in fact you can shop just about anywhere you like (as long as they have smart clothes for sale). Go cheap and cheerful, and you’ll still look the part.
Keep it simple
Your interview might be your first chance to impress and stand out from the crowd, but you don’t want to shock your potential employer with a bold outfit choice.
Try to keep it simple. For men, a suit is always a classic choice that will always make a good impression. If you feel a suit is too much for the role you’re applying for though, you can always strip it back to smart trousers and a shirt (which is also a cheaper option).
For women, there are a few more options, from dresses to a shirt and skirt or trousers. Most of the time, any of these outfit choices will be fine for an interview, just make sure your outfit isn’t too bold. Keep your colours neutral, and your style modest. You don’t need to go overboard with jewellery or perfume, and you don’t have to wear anything you’re not comfortable in. If you prefer wearing trousers to a dress or a skirt, go for it, as long as you still look smart.
By going for a simple outfit choice like a suit, or shirt and trousers/skirt, or even a simple dress, you’ll appear more professional, and you’re less likely to stand out for the wrong reasons. Plus, simple outfits will also be cheaper to buy!
Shop around, and don’t be afraid of second hand!
The easiest thing to do is to head straight to your favourite shop and choose an outfit from their selection. But if you really want to find a bargain interview outfit, shop around.
Try shops with smaller price tags, like Primark, or even supermarkets like Asda or Tesco, where you’ll find inexpensive but formal clothes.
You can also try markets if your area has any, and even charity shops. Charity shops might only offer second-hand clothes, but there’s literally nothing wrong with that, and you’ll be supporting a good cause whilst also preparing to land a job.
At charity shops, you can pick up smart shirts, skirts, trousers, dresses – whatever you fancy wearing for your interview for only a couple of pounds per item. And even though they’ll be second-hand items, they’ll be good as new after a quick wash.
You could also try shopping online, as this is where you’ll often find some great reduced clothes. If you’re shopping online though, make sure to give yourself plenty of time before the interview, just in case the outfit doesn’t arrive in time, or it doesn’t turn out to be as perfect as it looked in the pictures.
Remember you can even find second-hand outfits online, through sites like eBay, or local selling sites. On these sites you might even be able to find interview outfits for under £5!
Try to use shoes you already own
If you already own a pair of smart shoes, stick with them. Shoes can be super expensive, and you don’t want to blow your budget on them before you’ve bought the rest of your outfit.
If you do need to buy shoes though, and you need to keep to a budget of £10 or £20, definitely consider buying second-hand shoes, or even borrowing some from a friend.
Interview outfits under £10
The easiest way to find an interview outfit for under £10 is to shop second hand. Shop for outfits at charity shops, eBay, local selling sites, boot sales, if you can find a second-hand market place, and you’ll be able to find shirts, skirts, trousers and dress for a couple of pounds per item.
For girls, another way of finding interview outfits for under £10 is to go with a simple dress. Plain dresses are often reduced both online and in store. In shops like New Look, Primark, H&M, you’ll be able to find plain dresses for £9.99. These can then be made to look more formal with a pair of modest mid-low heels.
For men, supermarkets are a good place to shop for inexpensive trousers and shirts. At Asda you can find trousers and a shirt for £10, but if you want to take to more stylish stores like New Look and H&M, you can also find similarly priced items in their basic ranges.
Interview outfits under £20
If you’re willing to spend £20 on your interview outfit, you’ll have a little more to choose from.
Whilst it’s still not enough for an interview outfit from Topshop (unless you’re shopping in the sales), it’s plenty for a pair of trousers or skirt, with a shirt from high street stores like New Look. Here you can find trousers or skirts for £9.99, shirts for £7.99, and dresses of all prices.
It’s also enough for a complete outfit from ASOS. Just sort by lowest to highest price, and you’ll be presented with dozens of affordable outfit options.
Finding a suit for under £30
So if you don’t actually own a suit, you’ll need to buy one. But you can think of it as an investment, because you won’t just use it for the interview, you might have to a suit daily, especially if you’re going for a formal corporate position.
I’ll admit, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a suit for under £10, but it is possible to find one for under £30. Take a look at Asda’s suit range, they have suit jackets from as little as £15, trousers and shirts for as little as £5 each.
You could also look in charity shops, and on charity shop websites for bargain suits. On Oxfam’s site for example, they have hundreds of suit jackets from £15.
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