Compared to the female segment of the labour force, or guys in cities that actually see the mercury dip below 24 degrees, men here in Singapore are anything but spoiled for choice when it comes to going-to-work clothes. You hardly see deviations from the light-hued shirt and dark pants combination, it might as well be a standard issue uniform.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that we have a huge problem with that (not that you can escape wearing that). It’s just that if we were to peel the label out most guys’ shirts, we’d realise they’d all come from the same place: G2000.

The Steve Jobs in us would say lack of variety is a good problem, as you’d save time in the mornings – that’s provided you’ve already settled into a job. What if you’re getting a job at your dream organisation? What if you need to distinguish yourself by extinguishing the employer’s first impression presumptions?

For the love of God (and your career), ditch the clubbing shirts. Hold off on buying another G2000 shirt, in another colour. Beyond this point, get inspired by some serious interview style that may have you hired even before that first handshake.

Unicorn Startups

Uniform: Hoodies, sweaters, T-shirts, jeans.

How you can improvise: Play with colours. Trick out the casual-ness by going dark from head to toe. The casual-but-not-casual look communicates effort and understanding of company culture at the start, with an intention to slowly get comfortable (lazy) after landing the job.

PS Paul Smith zebra logo bomber
ASOS, S$222.32
Jack Wills Ayleford Col Bird T-Shirt
Zalora, S$50.90
Abercrombie & Fitch Langdon Skinny Jeans
Cole Haan GrandPrø Spectator Sneaker

Finance / Legal / IT / Self-important Roles In Large MNCs

Uniform: The aforementioned shirt and pants, sometimes with tie or jacket

How you can improvise: If you can’t change the big picture, change the small picture. Accessories to you should be what salt and pepper are to a raw steak: you’d taste horrifyingly bland without them. Bring some of your personality to the interview table with the likes of cufflinks, fun socks or a statement timepiece. (That’s right, you can personality your way into a job.)

Timex Fairfield Chronograph 41mm
Zalora, S$238
Common Projects Leather Pouch
Mr Porter, S$334.26
Paul Smith Striped Sock Silver-Tone And Enamel Cufflinks
Mr Porter, S$126.47
Happy Socks 3 Pack
ASOS, S$18.53

While we were playing with colours previously, this isn’t a bad time to experiment with patterns…

Massimo Dutti Regular Fit Gingham Melange Shirt
Topman Navy Textured Tailored Trousers
Mr P. Lucien Polished-Leather Derby Shoes

The alternative: Come to think about it, there might be something you can do to change the big picture…

How you can improvise: A full suit that you just wore to a friend’s wedding is a bit much (don’t be a recycler in this case). Pulling a jacket over a plain tee? Might be dangerously casual. Do it with the middle ground: a fitted, tucked-in polo.

Tommy Jeans Pique Polo
ASOS, S$92.64
Topman Grey With Maroon Check Skinny Fit Blazer

Creative Maniacs

Uniform: Anything goes.

How you can improvise: By taking a step backwards. ‘Anything’ doesn’t apply to you… yet. Graphic artists, script writers and curators have fashion choices as peculiar as how their brains work; as for you – this is going to sound ironic for someone who’s supposed to push boundaries – maybe hit pause on loud graphic tees, open vests, and the florals and ruffles. Unless the job doesn’t mean all that much to you, the first interview is still better off without letting your creative mojo run afoul and ahead of time.  

Universal Works Cotton-Twill Shirt Jacket
Mr Porter, S$186
Schiesser Nick Striped Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt
Mr Porter, S$103.99
Acne Studios River Slim-Fit Stretch-Denim Jeans
Mr Porter, S$326.83
Adidas Originals ZX 500 RM Suede, Mesh And Leather Sneakers
Mr Porter, S$178.26