Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Interview outfit on a budget

What with Messers Cameron and Clegg pulling on the purse strings and those interviews getting harder to grab, a good interview look for the more traditional and professional sectors is a must. Then comes problemo deux, what to buy without wasting too much money.

Bearing in mind preferences, I've gone with a trouser/blouse combination or a dress look. The look is based on a pair of shoes from M&S, because these are so reasonably priced. I've kept the rest of the items as low as possible and offered readily available supermarket options if possible as a really budget option. The benefit of this outfit is, it is for your interviews only but if you nail the interview then it becomes your work outfit, job done!

Your choice of shoes affect how you style the selection of dresses. If you go with the court shoe then choose a cardigan with the shift dress and the snake print ones will lend more towards a jacket. I'll provide some options after the dress choices.

The supermarket alternative is from Tesco and it is a F&F tailored dress available in grey or black at an introductory offer of £22.
If you would prefer a colour then go for this M&S one in green at £45

If you prefer the snake print high heels with a shift dress then keep the look edgy with this Rivet detail cardi from ASOS at £30

Or this kimono style jacket from Topshop £45
I know it is a print but it has texture and will set you apart from the crowd. The real problem is when you look to buy a jacket under say £50, they can really look cheap. The grade of material says cheap. So, better to feel confident in something that looks the business but a bit more flamboyant than cheap tat.

If you going all Mad Men on me and grabbing those courts then a nice short proper cardi will do the trick. At £18 these two below from Dorothy Perkins offer great value and the choice just depends on personal preference! But go for a black one with a coloured shift dress.

Then the trousers ...

If you go with the snake skin heels then wear with ASOS twist front blouse £32 available in 3 colours but I would only choose the oyster or green for an interview.

With the courts I would wear the trousers with a boxy double breasted jacket like this blue mix one from ...yep.. M&S at £35 wear done up with a cami underneath. Add a brooch to liven it up.

Hard as I tried, lots of the supermarket items were lacking but there is no harm in looking when you are doing your groceries. I saw good pencil skirts in Sainsbury from £5 to £15 (shocking I know but needs must). All the above are for guidance to keep you focused on a simple but effective look. You will need a small bag too. Keep it neat like this one again from M&S but you could find something similar in a charity shop if you want to keep the cost down.


  1. Kate what a great post, I love the shape of the F&F dress and you cannot go wrong with the M&S either, nor with their shoes..Luckily I have never needed a "work wardrobe".. apart from the funkier and more way out the better type ..which was easy all charity shop finds.
    I also love the little cardi from ASOS.
    Are you doing the NHJ seminars ?
    I would have loved to have come, although with all thats going on I doubt it xx

  2. Dear Kate, I love the dresses and the kimono jacket. Great post xx

  3. Hi there-my fave here is the Tesco dress and the Kimono jacket, the Portfolio shoes are also lovely too x

  4. What a fabulous post - right on the button as usual. I absolutely heart the M&S snakey shoes

  5. I adore both dresses and the Topshop jacket. Wonderful choices as always. xxx

  6. Loved the M&S dress and the kimono style jacket! Great looks, great post :-)

    Ali x

  7. Great pieces! I love that 2nd pair of heels. :)

  8. That kimono jacket is a bit Malene Birger-esque. love that green top thing too.

  9. Oh yeah! I love the first pair of shoes and the handbag the most, almost made me wish I had a proper job.

  10. Wow, so many fantastic picks in the one post, I barely know where to start.

    The F&F dress is surprisingly nice, isn't it? I'm rather smitten with the ASOS green blouse too.

  11. Great items! You have a cool blog :)



  12. Well what can I say? Read the blog yesterday - had the interview today. Didn't have time to go out and buy exact items, so had to recreate based on what I already had - went for the dress/cardigan combo with the courts. Got the job! Thank you mucho ... mwahhhh x


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