What to Wear to a Job Interview
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Happy Women in the Workplace Wednesday! If you are new around here, I’m currently working on a series where I share a bunch of information, geared at women who work a corporate job. You can see other posts from the series here. I’ve spoken about everything from how to ask for a raise, to how to workout and go back to work w/o washing your hair. If you ever have a request, just leave a comment, send me an email, or shoot me a DM. Today though, we will be talking about what to wear to a job interview.
Madewell Central Shirt | Madewell Painted Spots Skirt (also sold here) | Rebecca Minkoff Sandals (similar here) | Aerie Black Sunglasses | Senreve Envelope Clutch (c/o) Oh and use code ELLEMULENOS for a FREE bracelet pouch with any purchase over $300! Just add it to the cart and use the code! | Gold Purse Chain
I remember when I was in college and about to head to an interview, one of my roommates (who I love!) was surprised I wasn’t wearing a full suit (ie matching jacket and skirt or pants). I was interviewing as a fashion student for a fashion company, which isn’t the same thing as interviewing for a government job or an accounting position. I was slightly nervous about my look after that, but when I got there, I was fine. I went with my gut and I was right!
You’re probably like, thanks Lauren, but how does that help me? I clicked on this post for advice on what I should wear, not hear a nostalgic story from your younger days. I hear ya! The answer to what you should wear to your job interview? I actually can’t answer that. It isn’t a one size fits all question! BUT, I can equip you with a list of questions and thoughts, to help you make your best decision. Here goes!
What industry? Like I mentioned above, different industries have different standards. Interviewing at a boutique vs interviewing at a Big 4 is vastly different.
Which city? An interview in SoCal is going to be different than an interview in NYC. What is the vibe? I’m not saying show up in shorts and flip flops if you are in San Diego, I’m just saying to keep the vibe of the city in mind.
What is the Company? Is it a start-up or is it a 100 year old firm? Start-ups are more apt to wear jeans every day, whereas a company that has been around for a while, probably only has casual Fridays. I would say never wear blue jeans to an interview, but just keep this mentality in mind when dressing for the job.
Where is the office and what is it like? Is the office near a beach or is it in a big building with several other offices? If it is in a fancy building, the dress is probably going to be on the nicer side.
Still doubting? Here’s what I do if I’m still unsure:
Wear Black. It never fails! If I think it is more casual, I’ll reach for my black jeans. If it is more fancy or I’m not sure, I reach for my black jumpsuit. It never fails! Black is a classic, safe color, but it is chic too!
Ask Recruiter. There is nothing wrong with asking about the attire! Ask your recruiter, a connection who works there, or whomever has been communicating with you from the company. It is better to inquire than just assume and be incorrect!
Keep in mind, it’s never bad to be more dressed up than those around you, BUT I also know that you’ll feel more confident and comfortable if you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Well most of you! I know Nick wears a suit to first days with new clients, even if they are pretty casual. I will say that earlier this summer (he got a new job in July!) he interviewed somewhere and they were like DON’T WEAR A SUIT, IT WILL BE WEIRD and Nick is a def suit guy for interviews. Plus, he just enjoys wearing them! He ended up not wearing a suit and was fine. He still wore a nice outfit, just toned it down a bit!
My advice to you? Have a fail-proof outfit. Mine is my black jumpsuit. (It does have a small hole in the back, but I layer this tank under it when wearing it for work.) I have worn it to weddings, parties, blogger nights, pretty much everything! I wear it with wedges in the summer, heels in the winter, and even flats to dress it down. That is an outfit I can reach for and always feel good in. I highly recommend a black jumpsuit and a black dress that you can count on, because they work for SO MANY THINGS. Add them to your wardrobe stat if you don’t have any. If you’re one of my 30% of readers that are males, Nick usually does wear a suit, but if he’s not, he’s wearing these Bonobos pants. He went up a size in the waist, down a size in the length, and wear the athletic cut. (For example, he’s normally a 36 x32, but wears these in a 38x30 as they don’t stretch like jeans and he wanted them shorter to show off his ankles/shoes, as that is on trend right now.)
I wanted to wear this adorable leopard spot skirt for this post, because, yes! I would wear something like this to a fashion interview! If you’re in any other industry, you’re probably gasping at that. But hey, my industry is literally based on how fashionable you are. This skirt is appropriate in length and is memorable At the end of the day, make your decision based on what you feel good in. Clothes don’t make the (wo)man, but your skills and confidence do… at least in the workplace ;) If you need more styling inspo, I shared this post on styling a leopard skirt 3 ways earlier this year!
OH and something to remember, don’t forget about a nice accessory. I have carried a leather folio with my business card, notepad, pen, and a resume, but as of late, I carry this envelope clutch! It holds my laptop, resume, notebook, etc and looks really nice. Plus it gives me something to do with my nervous hands! I shared how I use the clutch multiple ways here.
Have a great rest of your week and kill those interviews you having coming up! Let your personality shine through and keep your confidence up. You’ve got this!
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