Monday, June 1, 2009

Working Girl Wardrobe: The Interview

You have finally gotten a call back after sending out about 40 resumes a week. You've impressed them with your background and your degrees (and all those stellar extra circulars that you just knew would eventually pay off - and no I'm not talking about how fast you can shotgun a beer). Now it's time to impress them with your wardrobe. 

It's the age-old question. What is appropriate to wear to a work interview? 

According to this New York Times' article, when thinking about your interview wardrobe you should "err on the side of conservatism". And I definitely concur. If you do not know much about the company you are interviewing at (aka if it's conservative or if it's casual), then you should always wear the most formal outfit in your closet. 

Formal for us Working Girls means a suit - this can be a pants suit or a skirt suit. I personally favor the skirt suit - there's something about a pants suit that makes me feel like a linebacker. The pros suggest wearing low heels and hosiery. 

There is always an exception to the rule however. The creative world is always a little less dressy. I have a friend who works at an ad agency and she could wear sweats to work if she really wanted to. At a company like this, it's definitely acceptable to show up in a more relaxed version of a suit. For example, when I interviewed at a luxury magazine when I wanted to be an intern in NYC, I wore bermuda shorts, a nice sweater, and low heels. And I scored the job. Later I found out that it was down to me and another girl who showed up in a full on pants suit and she seemed just too conservative for the job. They wanted someone more fun who liked clothes (and could therefore write about them).

It's important to know who is going to be judging you. But if you're unsure, always stick with the suit. Looking more professional is never a bad thing! 

This outfit combination would be perfect for a more casual interview - perfect if you're in the creative world! (Or in magazines!). And always remember to bring a notebook - coming prepared will look kindly on you in the long run.

These pearl tones are more conservative and perfect for a job interview where you don't know your audience as well as you might like. The only thing I would change would probably be a more sensible heel. At most job interviews (if they like you), they will have you meet with multiple people and walking around the office like you're drunk because you didn't think those heels could hurt this bad, can look unkindly on you. 


I also think a nice (and conservative) dress is appropriate for us Working Girls to wear to an interview. Keep in mind though that you should not be showing off too much boobage or too much leg. We don't want the boss to get the wrong idea and therefore slash you from the competition completely. 

And don't forget to wear panty hose! 

12 comments:

Joelle said...

Love this post--super cute outfits! I'm a teacher and I scored my job wearing a black pinstriped dress. Later one of the teachers who was on the interview panel told me one of my rivals had shown up wearing a sequined floppy hat because it was dress up day at the school she was working at. No time to change, I guess?f

Chandra said...

I always ask my mom advice when I am going to an interview since she conducts interviews as part of her job. A basic rule of thumb is to dress one "notch" above what the standard dress code will be in the office. Examples: If interviewing to work in a retail sales position, pant suit for girls, since most retail stores have a business casual-esque dress code. (This does not apply to stores that force you to buy their clothes and basically be living models of the inventory.)
When I was interviewing for a nanny position, I adopted a dressier version of what I would wear to the job.- Basically what one would wear to casual Fridays in an office. You want to basically be able to get down and interact with the kids during the interview, while still looking nice and put together.

Angela Darling said...

LOVE these! I'm going to be doing this soon myself, so I appreciated the tips.

Nelle said...

These are great outfit ideas!! But really, panty hose? I'd end up opting for pants instead - unless they were tights during the winter. Either way, great tips!!!

Ana from far away! said...

Thanks for this info!!! I'm sending tons of resumes every week, and I'm waiting for "that call". I never know what to wear... I also agree that you shoudn't show too much, specially when a guy will interview you. Sometimes ever if you are covered, they get "distracted". I hate that, it's so uncomfortable.

Bayjb said...

This is a great post. Some of the women in my office and I were talking about this. For me, I think a suit is still appropriate with a top underneath that is formal or more informal depending on the office. Even if you go into a creative field, like me, some people still have the "old school" mentality about how to dress. Something more casual isn't very accepted.

sharongracepjs said...

Great guide! I will soon be buying new clothes to fit my new desk-job body (grrrrrr >:x) so I will keep this in mind.

Are you two on Twitter?

http://twitter.com/sharongracepjs

Anonymous said...

I'm 53 yrs old and haven't had to interview in 20 years. No clue as to what is appropriate. Back in the day it was the blue suit with the bow tie blouse! Thinking I need to mix it up with some color and pattern,although I'm in a conservative field(finance).

Review Daddy said...

Thanks

Review Daddy said...

I like your wardrobe do you have any Wedding Suit there?

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