Dressing to Impress: Seven Fashion Tips for Job Interviews
Interviewing is an unpleasant necessity for any professional woman, but really it’s an opportunity for something new that could lead to something great. When you’ve got some interviews in your future, it’s important to prove that you’re the very best candidate for the job. Making a great impression is no doubt at the forefront of your mind during times like this, and of course so is what you’re going to wear.
Right or wrong, your appearance speaks volumes about the kind of employee you might be. For this reason, it’s crucial that you show up looking neat, professional, and capable. Your interview look—combined with your poise and of course your ability to display your skills—will either help you achieve this image or detract from it.
As always, the key to looking fabulous lies in the details. Read on for seven tried-and-true tips for acing your interview attire and making the greatest impression possible.
Go for quality. Whatever you do, always choose interview clothing in the best fabric you can afford. Even if you come away with just one or two great suits, you’ll be confident that you’re dressed to the nines. Quality clothing looks best, holds up longest, travels well, and doesn’t need to be dry cleaned as often. Wool suits and skirts, in particular, are worth the investment, since wool is durable, easy to maintain and care for, and can be worn 10 months out of the year in most climates.
Consider your age and stage. Not only should your clothing be well made and fit you perfectly, it should also be the appropriate color and shape for your age, career, body type, and coloration. If you’re not exactly sure what works for you, ask a sales associate, a friend, or an image consultant for advice, and try on lots of options so you’ll get a sense of what looks best on you. Be sure to avoid pieces that are too short, too tight, or clothes that feel too young. A flattering, well-tailored outfit that shows careful attention to detail will make you look professional and put together. And it sends a clear message about your level of professionalism.
Be a class act and be remembered. Sure, you want to stand out from the crowd, but not in a bad way. So avoid wearing too-high heels that will cause you to wobble into the room. Don’t knock out your interview team with a too bright jacket or blinding necklace either. Because people will be making decisions about you from the very moment you meet, err on the side of conservative dressing. You can save the cutting-edge fashion for after you’re hired.
Walk the line between fit and comfort. Your clothes should fit comfortably now more than ever. If you are not comfortable, then you’ll be distracted during the interview—at a time when you should be on your game. You don’t want a too-tight jacket to hinder your ability to comfortably move your arms. Nor will you appreciate a skirt that allows only a narrow range of movement. Employers can tell when you’re ill at ease, so choose clothing options that feel good to wear, so the real you can shine through.
Be a column of composure. Column dressing is a no-fail way to dress impressively for your interviews. Whether you’re wearing a dress, a top and a skirt, or pants and a top, you really can’t go wrong—just wear the same color for each piece. Then your jacket can either be the same color as well, or you can choose an accent color to make the ensemble “pop.” Just make sure the color you choose is flattering to your skin tone. With column dressing, you’ll instantly look more pulled together, as well as taller and thinner too!
Dazzle with the details. Before you head out the door, pay attention to the details that will elevate your look and give you the confidence to knock out the competition. Get a blowout for your hair and style it conservatively on the day of your interview. Invest in a great pair of closed-toe pumps with a moderate heel height, and keep them polished and in great shape. No scuffs, please! Also be sure to keep your jewelry minimal and simple. A great cuff and simple earrings are sure winners. Finally, make sure your nails are neatly manicured—preferably with a pale pink or nude polish.
Take along a tote. You’re probably not going to walk into your interview empty-handed, so bring along a tote to carry your résumé copies, a notepad and pen, your phone (on silent, of course!), and your laptop, iPad, or other work files. A simple leather tote will keep you organized and store all your files so they are accessible the moment you need them. Remember that a durable and professional bag is an investment piece, so choose one that will serve you well for many years.
Your interview day can be a great day if you dress for the occasion and walk into the office prepared and confident. Your carefully selected clothing and accessories will convey that you are a true professional, and your glowing presence, intelligence, and enthusiasm will take care of the rest. Enjoy the confidence you feel—you’ve earned it—and soon enough you will earn that coveted new job offer!