Looking for a job in Toronto? Follow Toronto's unspoken dressing code

by Nina Krakovna
(Toronto)

If you are looking for a job in Toronto, especially if you came from another country, you need to be concerned about Toronto's business fashion. For casual and festive occasions, and especially for the interview, it is important to dress the way that shows that you "get it" and you are integrated into the local culture. This is because people subconsciously make judgement about yourself by the way you dress.

When you immigrate to Canada first thing you notice that people are dressed differently than in your home country.

As much as Canadian casual fashion is humble and all about comfort, festive fashion for special occasions goes all the way in the opposite direction and presents bright colors, cutting edge designs and bold styles. It gives such a transformation to a woman, that sometimes a boyfriend or a husband can’t recognize her, staring at this "movie star" coming out of my fitting room.

Of course, you can wear whatever you want (it’s a free country, after all) if you are comfortable being under constant scrutiny because of your clothes. But you will have to follow some unwritten dress code rules when you go for an interview in hope to get a job or want to impress important people with your intelligence not the way you dress.

Here is something VERY important for you to consider, something that can swing the pendulum in your favour:


Do not apply too much makeup. Makeup should be practically invisible. It is especially important for women from the countries where it is a norm to do so, such as my own home country, Ukraine. It's better to have no makeup at all than create a wrong impression.
Research the company. While you should dress to the nines for the interview at the banks or consulting positions, much more casual attire is expected at the telecom companies and public sector.
It's better to have no perfume than too much perfume. No one will openly tell you this, but aggressive perfume may be a deciding factor for a manager to not hire you. He or she may strongly dislike what is considered wonderful trendy smell in your books or your culture, and move on to the following candidate.
As casual as Toronto looks, there are fashion changes in business suits, and I know stores where you can update your clothes without breaking a bank.

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