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Fashion Agony Aunt: I’ve got a Zoom interview for a new job, do I need to wear trousers?

Well, they can only see your top half so the answer is.. Hell yes!

What are you thinking? Get the Corby trouser press out this instant! You’re talking about a job interview here and you’ve got to approach it in the same way as if you were attending in person.

The bigger question here is: ‘what do I wear to a Zoom interview?’ given that in normal circumstances wearing a suit, shirt and tie while FaceTiming from your kitchen table makes you feel like a knob.

The rule for interview wear is ‘dress for the job you want’. The idea is that if you want to rise to become the head of the company, you don’t turn up in PJs.

But, of course, what you wear also depends upon what kind of job you’re interviewing for. If it’s something creative or geeky, then a slogan tee shirt and jeans might be totally right.

You must have some idea of what the dress code for your workplace is, so kick off with footwear. This is what a lot of actors start with when they are getting into ‘character’. Think ‘what kind of shoes would the person in this job wear?’ Then work your way up. The trick is to strike a balance between smart and casual. That old chestnut. Smart casual.

Don’t underestimate how much confidence wearing the right clobber for an interview can give you. Just because you’re doing it on Zoom doesn’t mean you won’t feel the same level of nerves as you would if you were in a room with your interrogator. And do not assume they’re not taking in the clothes you’re wearing. They are. And they could be the clincher when it comes to you and another candidate. If you’re looking like you’ve just hauled yourself into the clothing you slung on the chair the night before, they’re going to notice.

Yes, you can afford to look smart. Jacket, £17, Primark

So what kinds of things could you consider wearing for your Zoom interview.

1. A suit and tie

If in doubt do the conventional thing and wear a suit but if you don’t have one, on no account borrow one that doesn’t fit. It’ll just look weird. Wear a blazer and nice shirt instead. If you want to go tieless open a button or two at the top of the shirt. Only architect types can get away with buttoning up a shirt right to the neck without looking like a serial killer.

The right look

2. Consider a shirt under a sweater

Make sure any knitwear you choose isn’t old and bobbly. We’re looking at the smart end of the jumper spectrum. Wearing a shirt beneath that looks like you’ve put together a ‘look’. You could then top it all with a jacket. Wear the trousers that you’d normally wear with these things.

3. A tee shirt and jacket

A plain tee (that means no logos or slogans) worn beneath a smart jacket is a great option if you want to exude a sense of being a bit maverick but sharp at the same time.

Wear a plain tee under a smart jacket,

4. Shoes

Wear shoes to make you feel professional. Sneakers if you want to be creative. Slippers are a no-no unless they’re Gucci.

5. A workwear jacket

The workwear or utility is the kind of jacket that’s a little thicker than a shirt. It gives you a smart look that’s pretty effortless too.

Utility jacket, £69,

6. Wear a waistcoat

Waistcoats aren’t just for men who want to dress up like a Victorian patriarch. They can be a great way of turning a casual outfit into something a lot smarter. It’s the perfect tailoring for the demands of the home office. Just wear it with trousers!

Nailing smart casual in a waistcoat, £50,

Janet Reeder
Janet Reeder has a 30-year career in journalism. She is a fashion expert who has interviewed top designers Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and many others. She also loves to travel and write about her experiences.

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