Getting a good job can really depend on nailing the interview, and the key to nailing the interview can often come down to how you present yourself. Dressing well for a job interview can be intimidating. But these tips can help you pick the right outfit to get the right job!
Pick the Right Colors
Everyone wants to stand out in a crowd, but a job interview is not the place to go bright. Stick to dark and neutral colors for your interview outfit, because the interviewer should remember your résumé, not your outfit. Blacks, navy blues, and grays are always safe bets. Simple patterns with these colors are acceptable, if they aren’t too big or too garish—think houndstooth prints, slim stripes, and plaids. If you must have some color, add a pop of red, such as a scarf or some jewelry. Red is a powerful color that will look assertive but controlled when paired with simple, neutral colors. Match your colors to your shoes, which should be closed-toe, either flat or with low heels.
Pick the Right Style
Pick clothes that fit you well and are not very tight or very loose. Slacks or slim pants, a nice blouse, and closed-toe shoes are a good basic interview outfit. A pencil or A-line skirt with a blouse, or a simple solid-colored dress, also work well for interviews. You can add a blazer or cardigan if you feel like it. If you stick with neutrals, you can wear this outfit for many occasions, from interviews, to events, to parties. Don’t wear anything with plunging necklines, short hems, or very high heels to an interview, and don’t dress casually. Jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers are off the table! Even if you aren’t applying for a more formal job, employers value interviewees who dress conservatively.
Dress for Your Body, Not Against It
Clothes can give us confidence, especially in an interview. But if you’re tall, petite, curvy, or even just a mom, it may feel difficult to feel confident in clothes that don’t work for you. You may feel that clothing companies just don’t cater to you, and that’s discouraging. So work with your body, and try on different styles of appropriate clothing to find the things that make you feel strong, confident, and beautiful. Companies like Woman Within, Chadwicks of Boston, and Long Tall Sally have many options for petite, tall, and curvy girls. Long Tall Sally, JCPenny, and Target have well-known maternity lines which include many interview-appropriate options. Of course, always watch for sales and coupons to make sure that you get the best deals!
Pick the Right Place to Shop
This is the hardest part, but it’s the key to looking professional without breaking the bank. It can be very difficult to find clean, appropriate interview clothes that don’t cost a small fortune. Keep an eye out for sales at your local stores. Try thrift stores and resale stores, but also check sites like eBay to find great deals, even on brand-name products. Google “(store name) coupons” or “(store name) sale” to find instant savings and future sales. Memorize your height, bust, stomach, inseam, and hip measurements (pick up a tape measure from a fabric shop for cheap!) so that you can shop online and know that items will fit you. You could also ask friends or relatives who are similar to you in body type if you could borrow clothes, or if they have favorite shops.
The Final Touches
As mentioned, you can wear a pop of color in the form of scarf or jewelry. Don’t go overboard with anything large, neon, or patterned. Keep your makeup simple and natural. Antiquated as the advice may seem, smile and stand up straight, and answer questions directly and clearly. Be confident and assertive. You look great, you’ve got this interview, and you are going to nail it!