A job interview is extremely stressful. First, there’s the anxiety over getting the interview. Once you secure that it’s time to prep. Then the real question remains: What do I wear to my job interview? In fashion, it’s even trickier. What you wear is a reflection of your personal style. Since it’s the first impression you’re going to make the minute you walk in the door, you want to make sure it represents you as a person. But no matter what job you’re applying for, what you wear is extremely important in landing the position.
I like to think of a few words to describe my style. For me, it’s feminine, polished and classic. So my go-to has always been inspired by one of my style icons, Carolina Herrera. I stick with the designer’s signature white shirt and skirt combo. Whatever you decide, I’ve rounded up 8 rules to follow when dressing for a job interview in style:
1. Start crisp and wrinkle free.
Whether you’re wearing a dress or top, make sure everything is ironed or steamed. Wrinkles look messy and give the impression that you didn’t put in enough effort to care. When I went for an interview one time, I drove in a camisole and hung my shirt up in the car. I waited until I parked to put it on to guarantee it stayed as crisp as possible. Here, I did a basic white button-down from Old Navy.
2. Mind your lengths.
When I was at E! Online I was in charge of the internship program. I remember one girl showed up in a mini skirt she kept tugging as she walked over to meet me. It was hard for me to focus on what she said until she sat down because all I could think was why would she go so short?! I like to stick to a hemline that falls just above the knee. Anything too short is rarely appropriate and while midi skirts are very popular right now,anything too full it can look as if you’re going to a party rather than an interview. You can do a slim one but just make sure it has a bit of stretch or a small slit so you can easily walk.
3. Fit to impress.
The fit of your clothing is just as important as the hemlines. A similar rule applies: nothing too tight, nothing too loose. I like to take a photo of myself when trying on outfits. If there are tugs in my skirt I know it’s too tight. You also don’t want anything too baggy because it can run the risk of looking sloppy. Taking a photo also helps in the underwear department. Even if something doesn’t seem sheer in natural light, you can sometimes take a photo and see your underwear showing through! Not good.
4. Be a natural beauty.
When it comes to makeup, the softer the better. You want your potential employer to see what you really look like and not get distracted by a bold look. I stick to a clean face with tinted moisturizer, matte powder and a dash of bronzer and blush. For more eyes I do a contoured lid with soft beiges and brown. Then I add brown liner (black can sometimes be too dramatic), mascara and a soft shade of lipstick. Nails are important to remember too. Essie has a great new collection of nudes. Here, I did Back In the Limo. I make sure to avoid nail art or younger colors, like blue or neons. For hair, I prefer to wear it straight and sleek. If you have curly hair, keep it simple without too much volume.
4. Inject some fashion flair
For conservative corporate companies, I recommend sticking to understated solids. But job in fashion or a similar creative field, requires a bolder sense of style. I like bringing a current trend into my look. In this outfit I did that with an artistic print in my Ministry in Style skirt. While I love a statement print, I decided to go with a gray for a more subtle feel. Another easy way to add a fashionable touch is with jewelry (one stand-out piece only!) or a colorful pump or handbag.
6. Write chic notes.
It’s always great to have something to take notes in an interview. This is another place to bring a stylish touch. I love Cynthia Rowley’s new line at Staples. The notebook even comes with a gold pen!
7. Add a little height.
Maybe it’s because I’m petite but a heel always makes me feel more confident. And confidence is key in an interview! In general, I prefer to wear a closed toe shoe to an interview. A classic pointy pump is very professional (and slimming!). Since I had a print in my skirt I went with black, but you can also use your heel to inject a fun factor (see #4).
8. Bag it right.
When it comes to bags, I like something big enough to fit an iPad and a folder for my resume. While oversize handbags are very in right now, it can sometimes be distracting. Again, because of the print I did classic black but following rule #4 this is another place to show off your personal style. I just would recommend shying away from anything with too many labels to avoid looking showy.
I hope my eight rules for dressing for a fashion job interview help you secure your next job! If you have any questions on What To Wear to any occasion, just leave them in the comments section below and I’ll answer them in upcoming Monday columns. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!
Photos by Jodee Debes