How to Dress Professionally For an Interview
Perhaps the most stressful part of job interview preparation is determining what you’re going to wear. In a constantly changing business world, it’s hard to discern the dos and don’ts of professional fashion. Though it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when starting to piece together your interview look, there are many simple tips to keep in mind to help you through the process. As you juggle upcoming interviews in your job seeking journey, keep in mind the items below to develop your professional interview look.
Keep it Classic
First and foremost, keeping your look classic is key to dressing professionally. Simply put, when in doubt you should always stick to the basics. If you find yourself feeling anxious about your look, you can never go wrong with a classic suit or a blouse and dress pants or dress. Keeping your style sleek and simple will do wonders for how you’re perceived as you walk through the door. A classic look will say to your employer that you are prepared, professional, and poised. Though going more conventional might not be the trendiest option, it will definitely leave you looking good, and feeling little stress about your outfit.
Play it Safe
A first impression can last a lot longer than you think, which is why playing it safe is your best bet as you piece together your outfit. Don’t go too out of the box with your patterns or the items you wear in general. Remain comfortable and practical. Make sure that whatever you settle on to wear doesn’t cause you more anxiety in the long run. The stress of an interview is difficult enough already. In general, play it safe. That uncomfortable jacket that you love the look of but hate to wear? Ditch it. The more comfortable you feel, the more relaxed and level-headed you’ll be when it comes down to the interview questions.
Look for Deals
As tempting as it might be to go out and splurge on a completely new look, realistically this might not be possible for your budget. Clothes you can wear to the interview and to the office tend to be on the more expensive side, so keep this in mind as you begin to shop for your look. When you begin your search for professional interview wear, don’t forget to look for deals. Utilize local second-hand shops or even online consignment stores like thredUP to get professional brands at an affordable price. You can find trendy Madewell styles that scream chic and classy all at once. Don’t forget to also make use of what might already be in your closet as well. That collared button up you never wear might be the perfect thing to put on under your new blazer.
While playing things safe and trying to stay classic with neutral tones is important, always make sure you aren’t losing sight of yourself in the process. Try to find a look that represents who you are. This is important for two reasons. First and foremost, it’s important for your employer to get a grasp on your personality, and your interview look can definitely help in that regard. Secondly, being yourself with your outfit will help you to better envision yourself working at the prospective company. Don’t change who you are for a company culture that might not be the best fit for you. Be yourself and feel out the atmosphere of the office. Make sure the job is the right fit for you as opposed to forcing it. If you’re finding that you have to completely change up your look in order to mold yourself to your future employer, there’s the possibility you may not enjoy the culture in the long run. Choose one accent to add to your look that speaks to who you are, and let that comfort you during the interview. Whether you wear a special piece of jewelry or some hidden patterned socks, these items will keep you grounded during the process.
Trust Your Instincts
Lastly, as you search for the perfect professional interview look, always trust your instincts. Do your research on the company you’re looking to work for, and assess the office atmosphere based on your findings. Keep in mind the staple dos and don’ts of interview etiquette. If you feel as though some of the things you wear and do every day might not fit well with the office vibe, listen to your gut. Researching the corporation you are hoping to work for is crucial when determining what items you might wear. Give yourself a final once over before heading out the door, and invite a friend or family member to offer up their opinion on your look. Don’t forget to check for obvious red flags such as damaged or dirty clothing. Make sure your clothes are free of stray pet hairs and lint, as well as free of wrinkles or large creases. Though all of these items seem obvious, they’re best practices you may forget during the stress of interview preparation.
Most importantly, remember that at the end of the day a huge part of your professional attire is the way you present yourself in your outfit. Choose a look that makes you feel confident and qualified, and those qualities are guaranteed to shine through to your future employer as well.