With the recent visit of the Duchess of Cambridge, her husband and son (and, yes, that was deliberate) the smallest of details about her clothing choices were scrutinised and commented upon. There are fashion blogs dedicated to advising their readers of where to buy each item or their high street knockoffs. Now, I am not saying, dear reader, that you should be at all interested in what the Duchess wears or the opinions of the fashionistas. What is interesting, though, is the high level of interest about what a person wears and if it's appropriate to the occasion. So, back to interviews.
The answer is yes and no. Essentially, how you look should not detract from what you can do. Your interviewer should be concentrating on you and not be distracted by your clothing and/or accessories. At the very least, you should be well groomed, wear tailored clothes, and your shoes should be polished.
There is still the expectation for most 'office' jobs that a suit is worn, either by men or women. In other words, you can’t look too conservative or too dressed up, and it is always better to overdress than under-dress. For 'non office' jobs, then this can vary from employer to employer. You need to do your research and ask your recruitment consultant to give you very specific advice. Don’t just accept 'smart casual' or 'corporate' as a guide of what to wear – who really knows what that means anyway? If applying directly, have a look on their website for a clue, or ask your potential interviewer. If unsure, wear a suit! After you are successful in getting the job, then you can wear what everyone else does.
A small word about body art and jewellery. This is a highly contentious area. and there are a lot of opinions of the do's and don’ts out there. All I can say is be smart about it. If you are having an interview with a well known organisation in a conservative industry but having visible tattoos or piercings other than earrings are a part of 'who you are', I would venture to say that you should select another industry. Ultimately, if you really want the job and you are serious about it, you will do what it takes to ensure you make the best and most enduring impression.