Today's post is actually a repost of a post I wrote years ago. I have received many emails from new readers who have recently graduated from college and are currently job hunting. I've noticed a lack of interview fashion posts from the corporate point of view. I hope this post will be a refresher for old readers and helpful, new tips for my new readers. Please email me with any questions regarding interview fashion or fashion for the corporate workplace!
Today I'm talking interview fashion. Although acceptable interview fashion depends on what industry you work in, I thought I would talk about fashion for a more conservative industry. As you can imagine, the dress code in a conservative working environment lends itself to a more strict interview dress code. If you are unsure of the environment of the company you are interviewing for, erring on the side of formality is best. I'd much rather be overdressed than underdressed.
SUIT - I honestly think that an interview in any field, except for a career in fashion or art, calls for a suit. You should opt for a suit in a dark, neutral color (i.e., black, gray, or navy). In more conservative environments, it is best to opt for a skirt suit over a pantsuit. The fit is very important.
Your skirt should not be very form fitting. Skirts should hit right at the knees, give or take an inch. Skirts that hit two or more inches above your knees are too short. Make sure your blazer can be buttoned up without gaping open.
BLOUSE - What you wear under your suit is also very important. A collared shirt or blouse with crew neck or high neckline is ideal. Your top should complement your suit. I generally like white or light blue. Nothing too bright, or too busy. You should also pay attention to fit. The space between buttons shouldn't open up because your top is too tight. Also be sure that no cleavage is showing and that you cannot see through your top. You should not see your bra.
SHOES - Your shoes should be simple. You should not wear open toed shoes or strappy sandals (or sandals at all really). Select shoes with low to moderately high heels. As with your suit and blouse choice, shoes should be neutral. Think black, brown, or nude for your shoes. These J.Crew pumps are a great choice. While pricey, they are a great investment and also come in black and a great deep wine color.
Also, some people feel that pantyhose are part of the professional wardrobe. I hate pantyhose with a passion but I've worn a pair to every interview I've had. After you get the job and see how the other women dress at your company, then you can decide whether the toss them!
[ pumps ]
JEWELRY - While there is little leeway with your clothing, jewelry offers you an opportunity to have a little fun (emphasis on "little"). Your jewelry should include simple earrings, gold, silver or leather band watch, and/or a simple bracelet. Always go for classic pieces. Don't wear large hoop earrings, statement necklaces, or an arm party. You don't want your jewelry to distract your interviewer.
PERFUME - As someone who often forgets to wear perfume, this isn't really an issue for me. If you wear perfume, think about going without or only wearing a light spritz. Some people have fragrance allergies or sensitivity to certain smells or odors. Rule of thumb: a person standing one to two feet away from you should not be able to smell your perfume. This Dior perfume is my favorite because of its light scent.
[ perfume ]
MAKEUP - Your interview is not the time to cake the makeup on. Makeup should enhance your looks and make you look polished and natural. Your routine should consist of concealer, a little blush a few shades from your skintone, nude eyeshadow and lipstick or gloss, and mascara.
Also make sure your hair is kept simple. If you have the tendency to touch your hair when you talk, you should consider pulling it into a low chignon. Now is not the time to experiment with those milkmaid braids you saw on pinterest.