Dressing to Impress: How to Interview in Style

We’re halfway (kind of) through winter, which means that we’re closer to spring, closer to summer, and thus totally consumed with job and internship stress. If you’re anything like me, the prospect of sitting across from a scary Human Resources employee while interviewing for your dream job seems almost as bad as not getting Spring Break this year. What if your resume has a typo? What if you forget your cover or letter or your hangover manifests itself during the Q and A period? And, the worst possibility of all, what if you aren’t dressed right??

I have heard my fair share of interview outfit horror stories. A friend of a friend was stopped in the middle of describing her extracurricular activities and told that, in the future, she should try and wear a more “modest” top. My brother wore blue corduroys to an interview unaware of the fact that the company had a shirt and tie dress code. And I can only imagine the looks that some girls must get when they forget that American Apparel spandex do not – I repeat DOES NOT – qualify as pants.

By acquiring a few basic pieces, you can insure that you will be dressed appropriately no matter where or who you’re interviewing for. These articles are stylish but appropriate, and I promise you’ll wear them with confidence. With that out of the way, you can worry about describing your mental and intellectual assets rather than exposing your physical ones.

Item number 1: The solid-colored blouse

I recommend buying at least two blouses, one in white and one in black or navy. Great for pairing with stylish sweater vests, layering under cardigans, and tucking into high-waisted pants and skirts, these tops are a must-have. If you find blouses too boring or preppy, stylish turtlenecks can be a great option when interviewing during the winter months. Stay away from materials that will reveal unsightly pit-stains (it´s okay, everyone´s nervous) and low-cut v-necks, and never wear a tight tank or tee without covering up with a cardigan.

Item number 2: A flattering, streamlined pair of chinos or slacks

Since jeans are not usually suitable interview wear, I have been searching my favorite stores for the perfect pair of pants. Right now I´m loving J Crew´s Premium Stretch Bistro Pant ($88) in black and navy, although the khakis would be perfect for a springtime question session. They are stylish, form-fitting, and wearable with flats, heels, or ankle boots.The Gap also carries a ton of cute options, especially if you´re looking for a more lightweight material, like linen. These Hip Slung Linen Flares ($54) come in two shades of blue and are totally sassy.

Item number 3: The pencil skirt

If you´re just too girly for pants or want to show off a cute pair of heels – or the gams that you´ve been toning so tirelessly – pencil skirts are a perfect option. Find one that goes to your knees (or at least past your mid-thigh… remember, it´s not spring break and you´ll be sitting down with your legs crossed!) and have fun with colors and patterns! Again, J Crew earns points for its Stretch Sateen Pencil Skirt and Wool Crepe Pencil Skirt (both on sale now!), both of which could be paired with anything from a cute cashmere sweater to a detailed tank and cardigan pair.

When finishing up your outfit, footwear is where you can have some fun. Obviously, stay away from hooker-style high heels, sneakers, flip flops, Uggs (seriously) and anything that is dirty or torn. Leather boots in black, brown, or grey work well with skirts and pants, and tasteful wedges are great for the summer months.

Throw in a few accessories for flare (I always like to throw on some cute bangles and a watch so I´m not obviously pulling out my cell phone for the time), and you´re set!

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