You have a job interview #YIKES and you’re kind of freaking out. All these thoughts about what to wear for your interview are seriously eating up all your time. And now you’re feeling guilty about the time you’ve wasted. You should be focusing on your skills, and weaknesses, but instead you’re stuck between, do I wear a dress or a blouse? What color should I wear to an interview?
Don’t stress dressing for an interview doesn’t need to be complicated. With a few little tips and tricks up your sleeve you can get back to focusing on the important stuff like hello all your AMAZING skills and capabilities.
While clothing is only a small portion of your interview it does however say a lot about you. A job interview is your biggest opportunity make a great impression on your potential employer, and confidence really is your best accessory. I always say when you feel good you look good, so whatever you need to do to dig deep down and harness your inner badass you need to it.
No matter what job you’re applying for, here are some tips and tricks for what to consider when dressing for a job interview:
1 . DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT
How you dress really depends on the type of job you want, you’re not going to wear a 3 piece suit to a job interview at a coffee shop, and likewise you’re not going to wear your favorite black jeans to an interview for med school. Consider the job you’re interviewing for and what would be appropriate to wear when you work there, and honestly ‘d say take it even one step further and dress for the job you’re gunning for in the future.
If you can feel out the dress code of the job you’re applying for, that way you can really match your look to what they’ve already got on the go. Sometimes a quick little Google or Instagram search can tell you a lot.
2 .CONSIDER COLOR
Research shows that blue is a fan favorite in terms of color for interviews, and it’s kind of funny because for every job I’ve ever interviewed for I’ve always worn a blue and white striped button up shirt, and guys I’ve never not gotten the job!
You really want to avoid bright bold colors, like reds and yellows which can be read aggressively.
Black is another color that some will argue asserts dominance and power, so if that’s the vibe you want to channel go for it. Just make sure your lint roller is handy.
3. AVOID HEAVY SCENTS
There’s nothing more offensive than strong scents that greet you before your future employee does, and even worse if the person interviewing you is scent sensitive you are definitely NOT getting the job no matter how qualified you are.
Don’t make the mistake of over doing it with scented products, and sending the message that you’re not a respectful employee.
4 . SCALE BACK MAKE UP & ACCESSORIES
When it comes to interviews sometimes simple is best, avoid too much heavy makeup, and too many bold accessories. The person interviewing you wants to get to know you, and the extra noise can be distracting.
Opting for fresh face makeup, and keeping accessories classic might seem boring, but it’s also safe.
5. IF YOU CAN, GET SOMETHING NEW
Okay now hear me out on this one. I’m not saying you need to buy a new shirt every time you interview; however, if you’ve not interviewed in a while you might owe it to yourself to get a new shirt or new trousers at least.
There’s really something to be said about our confidence level when we buy something new, but also it’s guaranteed to be current.
When a company is hiring, they want someone who represents what’s current, they are looking for something fresh. You need to show them you can do that, and your wardrobe can really send an important signal even before you initiate your first handshake.
6. LOOKS YOU CAN TRY
A Button Down Shirt:
A button down shirt always means business, it’s a classic and not going to go away anytime soon. It doesn’t need to be stiff either, there are plenty of soft fabrics that work just as well and can be slightly more forgiving and comfortable for us ladies. I love this Blue Oxford Button down from Gap $58.00
A blouse With a Bow + Skirt:
If you’re style is a little more feminine we say go for it sista! Opt for a blouse with a bow (s0 cute) we love this Blouse from Banana Republic $95.00 and then just make sure to consider your skirt length. When you put your hands by your side your skirt should always be longer.
A Black Dress and Sheer Black Tights:
If you’re planning to make a move into the business world, accounting, law etc and you want to make this job your career this double breasted Sheath Dress Le Chateau $179 will carry you through those long days at the office and dinner and drinks and everything in between. Also love this classic little black dress $150.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Great Suit:
Not all looks need to be feminine in fact I love a good power suit, and amazingly enough you don’t need to go broke to own one. Zara actually has some amazingly affordable suits in an array of colors and styles. I love this soft blue plaid suit Blazer $49, Pants sold separately.
Sweater and Black Dress Pants:
A classic look you can’t go wrong. A sweater is great because you can move around freely. A sweater is a great option for those who struggle with button ups (can be tricky for us ladies for a number of reasons). Don’t be afraid to also have fun with layering etc wearing a sweater doesn’t need to be boring! Have fun with soft colors and textures. No jeans please! I know dress pants can be tricky, but I’v actually had the best luck with my clients at Reitmans for trousers. A lot of them offer stretch and some resemble leggings but in a more polished and work appropriate fabric, so you’re getting the best of both worlds. Check out this previous post “what to wear to work“.
I love the idea of a statement dress because it does show confidence and personality and can be a great option depending on the job. Solid colors, neutrals and subtle patterns are great. Avoid loud colors and animal prints.
7. CONSIDER FIT
When you’re thinking does this outfit look expensive? (FYI it’s always good to look expensive) Do I look well groomed? (very key) Are my shoes clean and presentable? (Don’t forget this step). What you REALLY want to make sure above all else is fit! Fit can make or break your look. Whether it’s too big or too tight both can read in a negative way. In addition, you’ll be uncomfortable which can impact your confidence level. Choose fabrics that are comfortable to move around in, and don’t be afraid to do a sit test to make sure everything looks just as good when you’re sitting down, as it does when you stand up.
This goes for your shoes too make sure you choose shoes you can actually walk in, again it’s all about being confident, so give them a practice spin and make sure you’re not breaking them in during your interview because you will not be able to focus.
Good luck and keep me posted!!
Photo above c/o Katherine Gillis Photography
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