What's your go-to interview outfit?
Do you have a to-go interview outfit that makes you feel strong and confident? When I purchased this light blue suit, I didn’t purchase it with an interview in mind. I purchased it with a meeting in mind. A meeting in which the attendees already knew I was creative yet professional.
While I was in Florida, I was presented with the opportunity to interview for a position I wanted back in NYC. I hadn’t traveled with any business casual or business professional outfits because I was having my very own “Eat, Pray, Love” moment.
I quickly became frustrated at the plus size selection offered to the women of Tampa Bay. It was pure shit! My friend had warned me but I didn’t think it was as bad as she described. I took my selection for plus size clothing in NYC for granted! Finding an outfit in Tampa was beyond necessary…there wouldn’t be enough time to shop once I landed back in New York.
I was searching for hours! From 11:30am until 7pm to be exact. I was almost to the point that I wanted to cry. It felt like nothing would fit and the fabrics looked and felt cheap in the plus size section. Thankfully I found a black Liz Claiborne suit from JcPenny and a navy blazer and ankle pant from Lane Bryant. I purchased both for $200 thanks to the sale JCP was having and was truly lucky.
Focus on the Fabric Content
Appropriate attire depends on the industry and the company in which you will be interviewing, it’s location and the season. So pay attention to the fabric content. You can purchase affordable suits or separates just make sure the fabric doesn’t look cheap. Work within you budget…even if it’s low. Try to go for pieces that have a higher natural fiber content than synthetic. This A New Day suit was a cotton/ polyester blend.
Search local thrift stores. You’d be surprised in what you can find if you have a little bit of patience. I found an Ann Taylor wrap dress as a backup option from Goodwill and purchased my heels from Nordstrom Rack. Mixing high and low pieces can really make an inexpensive outfit look expensive. Just pay attention to the fabric content.
Company Culture & Dress Code
For companies that have a business or business casual dress code, be sure to keep your look conservative for the first interview. Wear a conservative suit in dark grey, navy, or black. Complete the look with basics pumps, simple jewelry, and a structured purse.
For startup companies or creative companies where employees are allowed to work in jeans and tees don’t show up in a suit. It may signal you won’t fit in with the company culture. You could wear a casual dress with flats and a statement necklace.
If you’re applying for a fashion-industry position, depending on the company, I believe you have more freedom to express your style. You don’t want to dress too stuffy or too corporate. So one element of your outfit should be polished and professional and one element should be fun like a great pair of tailored trousers and a chic colorful or patterned blouse with a great belt and great pair of heels.
“Dress for the job you want – not the job you’re applying for.”