When It’s Not Cool to Be a Fashionista: The Interview
After a lot of hard work, you’ve finally landed an interview for your dream job (or internship, as the case may be). Sure, what you say is important—but what are you going to wear? There’s that knockout Hermès scarf your rich aunt bought you for your birthday—oh, and that sweet pendant from the vintage store that you snagged last week—and the professional and stylish pleated pencil skirt you bought on clearance that fits you like it was tailored for you. Throw in a button-down shirt and some stilettos, and you’re hot to trot.
So you’re all set, right?
Unless you’re planning to follow in the footsteps of Andy in The Devil Wears Prada, you can’t always wear whatever is hip and trendy to your job interview. The good news is, though, that there are some easy guidelines you can follow that will lead you to a great interview outfit.
1. Dress conservatively. This is really difficult to do if you have a personality that you like to express through your clothes, but do your best to rein in that desire. It’s fine to wear a shirt with a splash of color or a pair of shoes with a little detailing, but it’s really important not to let yourself go overboard. You want the people interviewing you to focus on you, not on what you’re wearing. Think simple, classy, and professional.
2. The importance of the suit. The suit is a fantastic piece to have during a job interview and, really, throughout life. If you think you want to go the suit route for your interview, you first need to decide if you want a pantsuit or a skirt-and-blazer combo. Once you’ve made that decision, go shopping. Stay away from trendy sets—go classic instead. You want something that fits you really, really well and something that is versatile as well as flattering. If you have some extra bucks hidden away that you can use to splurge, use them on the suit. If you get a good one, you’ll get tons of mileage from it in your life.
3. Comfy, basic shoes. Your job interview is not an opportunity to show off your new pair of Blahniks. Instead, find a shoe that doesn’t have a super-high heel and that is comfortable to walk around in for at least 20 minutes. If you have a pair you want to wear but you can’t walk around in them all day, wear a pair of tennies and stash the shoes in your bag until just before the interview.
4. Details are key. Comb your hair, and wear it up or pinned slightly back. Iron what you’re planning to wear so that it won’t have any wrinkles. A little bit of makeup is OK, but you want to look as natural and presentable as possible. Dress in a way that would wow your friends who are used to seeing you in sweatpants and a ratty old T-shirt. You want people to look at you and think, “That chick has a career.” Because by following these tips, you won’t only look the part—hopefully you soon get to act the part, too.