Play it safe when you dress for recession success

Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:51am EDT
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By Jane Merriman

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - It's tricky to know what to wear in a recession if you are job-hunting, but the advice from professionals is to play it safe and formal.

In boom times, wearing casual or quirky clothes to an interview could suggest a free-thinking, risk-taker.

But when risk-taking has got a bad name and jobs are scarce it's better to turn up in a plain, dark suit and white shirt if you are a man and a sober skirt, jacket and blouse if you are a woman, say image consultants.

"What people don't want now is 'different', they want what they know," said Sandy Ruddock, founder of image consultants Public i.

Debenhams, the British department store chain, has already seen a 50 percent rise in sales of white shirts.

"These days people don't want to look too flamboyant," said Bryan Morel, spokesman for Debenhams. "The white classic shirt has flown off the shelves. Serious times call for serious clothing."

The people doing the hiring these days are more likely to be older, more conservative executives who have avoided redundancy themselves because they are more expensive to lay-off.

They are more likely to want to employ what they see as solid, reliable-looking types for the struggle ahead.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation by Japanese designer Limi Feu as part of her Fall/Winter 2009/10 women's ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen</p>