The short answer is – whatever you like.
Here’s the longer answer.
Some of your fellow interviewees will be in fleeces and walking boots. Others will be in very sharp suits. And most will be in the ’smart casual’* zone in between. Your interviewers will span the same range.
Some other points for consideration:
- Colleges can be draughty in winter, so have something warm to hand or pack your thermals.
- Colleges can have lots of cobbles, so high heels might be tricky.
- Avoid wearing an outfit for the first time, you don’t want to be bothered by an itchy label or gaping shirt.
- Just for fun, consider wearing something with which you have positive mental associations (think lucky socks).
- Pay attention to the impression you want to create. If you talk about attention to detail in your PS (as an argument for your suitability for intricate lab work), then perhaps the skirt with the dodgy hem should be left at home.
- If you know you sometimes come over as too relaxed, then perhaps wear something a little more formal so you can get into the right vibe. And vice versa.
- Clean your shoes.
And finally, when you turn up on interview day, don’t be freaked out if you are dressed differently to everyone else you meet on the day. There is no ‘normal’ at Oxbridge. Do what works for you.
*Smart casual most often consists of chinos/skirt, blouse/jumper/shirt with no tie, proper shoes, jacket/cardi if you feel like it.
PS There’s was some talk some time after we wrote the above article about what to wear at Oxbridge interviews, following comments from the head of admissions at Cambridge pointing out that what candidates wear makes no difference to the interview outcome, and simply advising people to wrap up warmly. We’re delighted to have been saying this for some time.
If you’d like some practise of the type of conversations you’ll have at interview, check out our workshops.