You may recognize today’s suit dress from “Day 3: interview Attire” of my ongoing 30 gowns in 30 Days series on instagram. The pale grey color and pleated style make it a refreshing spring/summer alternative to the conventional dark suit and the perfect interview look for warm-weather months. This dress and suit jacket (which are available in small and tall options!!) also are available in black if you need a darker alternative, and the suiting collection has a bunch of pants, skirts and gowns that can be used interchangeably with the suit jacket—the type of adaptability that’s a total should when you’re just starting to build out your work wardrobe. For much more on my work wardrobe essentials, inspect out this post!
Today, I thought I’d do a reprise of my top ideas on what to wear to an interview, for those of you who will be job hunting soon. Whether you’re graduating from college this spring or an industry veteran seeking to make a profession move, it’s high time to get major about your arsenal of interview outfit for this spring and summer.
Today’s look is geared towards company formal interviews (read: wear A suit or get the $%&# Out), but interview outfit can vary widely across industries. While it’s essential to do your homework on company culture in determining suitable outfit for the new position, there are a few general guidelines that generally apply.
As a general rule, no matter what industry or position, keep your interview look smooth and simple… unless of course you’re interviewing for the Broadway cast of Chicago, in which case you ought to probably jazz things up a bit (see what I did there? #broadwayjokes). But seriously, if you’re not auditioning for Cirque du Soleil, you want to keep things clean and effortless. Once you land the position, you’ll have the chance to assess your new work environment and adapt accordingly. Interview day, however, is not the day to “get creative” and show your potential employer your “quirky” personality by using that sequined bomber jacket that you DIY’ed or the spikey leather choker that appears like something out of a medieval abuse chamber. Nothing ends an interview quicker than appearing like you belong at an S&M convention.
If you’re not sure what you should wear to the interview, ask contacts at the company for suggested attire. If you’re still not sure, err on the much more formal side, possibly even using a suit like the one featured today. It’s always better to be overdressed, showing a high level of respect for the company and a seriousness about landing the job, than being underdressed and inappropriate.
Without additionally ado, here are my industry-agnostic guidelines for your head-to-toe interview look!
1. INVEST IN A WELL-FITTING, tailored ENSEMBLE
Whether you’re using a suit or not, pay close attention to fit. In particular, make sure nothing is too low-cut, too tight or too short. Fit-wise, it’s always better to err on the side of looser, rather than tighter, but don’t overcorrect. Clothing that’s too baggy can make you look sloppy. While you don’t want to be sporting a bun-hugging tiny skirt to the interview, you also don’t want to look like you had to borrow your mom’s suit from the ’80s either. The goal is to find that pleased medium and invest in a suit (or company laid-back outfit) that fits you well—a quest that may require getting pieces one size up and taking them to a tailor. Wearing ill-fitting clothing not only takes a toll on your confidence but also distracts the interviewer from focusing on all of the mind-blowingly fantastic things you have to say.
2. MAKE sure YOUR shoes ARE polished and PRACTICAL
Whether you opt for flats or heels, make sure they’re polished and simple. You don’t want to sport anything that’s very dull, worn, or scratched up. This is also not the time to go hog-wild with stylish ankle boots or the strappy designer stilettos that you haven’t quite discovered to walk in yet. A major goal of yours upon walking into the interview is to give your prospective employer the impression that you do not have a drinking problem. So, make sure your footwear is both suitable and comfortable, enabling you to walk like a normal, sober human. If you’re using heels, shoot for three-inch heels like these ones, and don’t go higher than four inches. If your interviewer is required to assess whether you’re either drunk or just using outrageously impractical footwear, they’re probs going to relocation on to the next applicant.
3. GO FOR MINIMAL, FUSS-FREE HAIR, NAILS and MAKEUP
Step awayyy from the jewel-encrusted falsies, my friends. When it pertains to interviews, less is more. If you have long hair, it’s typically a good idea to wear it back. Regardless of length, you want to appear well-groomed and put-together, without anything falling continuously in your face. For your nails, either opt for clean nails or a neutral nail polish–no accent nails, shine or metallics. As for makeup, shoot for a polished, very little look. No thick eye liner, dramatic eye shadow or bright red lipstick. This is just not the venue. Lastly, be sure to avoid strong perfume. Personally, I’d recommend going without any perfume (but certainly still using deodorant, duh).
4. KEEP accessories SIMPLE
Again, nothing too stylish or distracting. Keep it conservative, delicate and relatively classic. Today, I’m using easy gold knot earrings and a delicate gold necklace. It’s probably a good idea to leave your “Bite Me” pendant at home, and you’ll also want to steer remove of substantial bangles or dramatic dangle earrings. You want to exude confidence, but also communicate the message that you spent much more time researching the position and getting ready for the interview than you did on your makeup and accessories.
Alright now go get ’em, tigers. Happy Monday everyone!
DRESS: J. crew (check out the pants and pencil skirt in this collection too) | SUIT JACKET: J. crew (also like this suit jacket in the same collection) | BAG: c/o Henri Bendel (love this similar one for work or interviews) | SHOES: SJP Collection (similar HERE) | NECKLACE: c/o Gorjana | EARRINGS: Juliet & company | BARRETTE: Baublebar (very similar HERE) | BRACELET: c/o Brandy Pham | LIP: Make Up For ever | NAILS: OPI Gel “Bubble Bath” (similar here)
More suit sets: