We’ve all heard the expression, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” and this is especially true when it comes to dressing for an interview. However, even if you are not interviewing for a job, this issue of the “Monthly Fashion Update” has a copious amount of useful advice for everyday dressing.
Now for those who are in search of the right interview attire, the number one thing to remember is that you are going on a job interview “to get” the job, therefore, regardless of the company’s dress code, you should dress up and wear a suit. Even if you are overdressed, it is always better to be overdressed then underdressed….for anything in life.
So what kind of suit should you wear? Well, a dark or neutral color suit in a fabric that doesn’t wrinkle is best. Then you can combine your suit with a soft colored blouse, sweater, camisole, et cetera. I would choose light, soft and or neutral colors because you want to appear welcoming and inviting and not overbearing.
Shoes are also a very important item when it comes to dressing for an interview and nothing says more about you than your shoes…in an interview and in life – remember this! Therefore, do not scrimp on quality and make sure that your shoes are clean. No scuff marks, no nicks on the heel, and the toe box, (the tip of the shoe), should be in excellent condition. For the interview, you should also wear closed-toed shoes. This may not be the company’s policy, but air on the side of caution and don’t risk making a mistake.
Just like your shoes, your purse should also be in good condition. Hopefully this isn’t the purse that you throw everything in as it should be big enough to fit just what you need, but not small enough to be an “evening purse”.
Your accessories should be conservative, however, this is the one place where I pick something unique that reflects my personal style. In the past, I have worn a well-tailored black suit with a crisp white button-down shirt, black leather pumps, a black leather bag, and an Hermès-like scarf around my neck, (or sometimes tied around my bag). The scarf sets me apart from all the other “black suits”, yet I am not flashy or inappropriate. Choose an accessory like a strong pendent or bracelet that will help them to remember you. Just keep it simple and avoid items that clink or jingle…very distracting to you and the interviewer. A good rule of thumb for accessories is that you should never wear more than 5 pieces. In my example, I had a scarf, watch, earnings and a ring, which would total 4 pieces and therefore, I could only add one more.
Lastly, women always want to know if they have to wear nylons and whether a pant suit or a skirt is the way to go for the interview. As long as you are wearing closed-toed shoes, you do not have to wear nylons. Additionally, the “power suit” for women used to be a skirt, but unfortunately that doesn’t really exist anymore. With the inspired men’s wear look (trousers, tweed, et cetera) feel free to wear whatever feels comfortable and is the most flattering.
Even though this issue of the “Monthly Fashion Update” talks about interview attire, the information presented here is still guidelines for getting dressed everyday…ie no more than 5 accessories, shoes in excellent condition, well-fitting clothes, et cetera…all good things to keep in mind even if you are not going on an interview. Carry these guidelines with you next time you go shopping, looking in the mirror or getting dressed for an event…just like closet staples, these rules never change!