You’ve landed a big job interview, and many things need your immediate attention, but we’re going to focus on your interview outfit. Because your resume got you the interview, but the way you present yourself is going to get you the job.
The Night Before
Pick out your outfit the night before. This includes trying it on (with shoes) and giving yourself a good once-over in the mirror. Donâ€™t forget the back view. Imagine the feeling of waking up tomorrow and knowing, down to the bra and shoes, exactly what you’re going to wear. Morning interview jitters curbed! Extra 15 minutes to have some tea and get it together: check!
The rules of the interview outfit are still somewhat rigid, but the nuances depend on the industry in which you’ll be working. Let’s take a look:
The fashion industry. This interview outfit is all about interesting details and simple basics that fit very, very well. True fashion gurus know that it’s not the price of the fabric, it’s the drape of that fabric on the body. Zara, TopShop and American Apparel are great places to find basics that are modern, chic and simple. Create the perfect canvas to showcase your creativity with stunning accessories.
Forget the adage about taking one accessory off before you leave the house. There are no rules anymore. But if you go full-on boho chic overload with jewelry at the interview, you better be willing to gear up like you just got off the tour bus in 1969 everyday, 9-5, five days a week. Itâ€™s a much safer bet to go minimalist and bold with sleek accessories. Statement pieces from industry favorites like Alexis Bittar or Jennifer Fisher can serve as the perfect ice breaker in the fashion industry.
A serious purse is crucial. In the fashion industry, purses are status symbols. Save your pennies, borrow a friend’s or rent one until you can afford it, but if you’re showing up to a job interview in the fashion industry, your handbag better be on point. It should be roomy enough for a Macbook and sleek enough to go out for happy hour after work. Our current obsession is with these Coach handbags – they mean business and look like pure luxury.
The startup world. Many startups go casual Friday every day, but don’t be fooled by a “casual dress” recommendation and show up to your interview in jeans and sandals. Go with something simple and functional, such as tailored slacks and a patterned, button-down blouse. On your feet, closed-toed wedges are a great option, as are low heeled boots. Pair these with slacks, wide-leg trousers or cigarette pants and a simple silk shell or even a chambray button-down, and you’ve completed the “dressed up with no fuss” look.
Accessories should be simple, sturdy and low-key. Startups are all about living lean in order to break through to new levels, and you can show your soon-to-be new boss that you get that. This brass railroad spike cuff from the rough and tumble Giles & Brother collection should do the trick.
Corporate America. The corporate world is all about that power suit. Choose between a pants set or a sheath dress for an instantly classic look. While wide-leg suits are popular, they don’t convey the seriousness of the corporate world, at least not for the first interview. You want to be timeless, simple and classic. We like this ponte V-neck sheath from Rebecca Taylor.
And while we all hail the iconic Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, it’s flattering deep V-neckline and bold patterns are an interview no-no as well unless you’re interviewing with, well, Diane herself.
Stay away from florals, dramatic patterns, and low necklines for this interview. Instead opt for neat and tidy color blocking, houndstooth and simple graphic details in serious and seriously luxurious fabrics like tweed, cashmere and silk. And just like Jackie O, your best accessory is a simple pearl necklace and classic pumps (closed-toed, of course).