Interview Overview

Studies show that within the first ten seconds of meeting you, your potential employer has already decided whether or not they want you for the job.

Not convinced? See the article here. This means that it is incredibly important to show up prepared and dressed appropriately! Before the two of you have a chance to sit down and talk about how great you are, your interviewer is going to notice what you are wearing. The first thing that will stand out to them is the color.

Tip 1: Choose a neutral color

I know that you feel great in that bright red dress, but it is always best to stay on the more conservative side when dressing for an interview. Go for black, grey or beige. All of these colors convey sophistication.

Tip 2: Pick your base

What do I mean when I say “base?” I mean either a dress, skirt, or pants. This is the foundation that we are going to build your outfit up from. Pick garments with structure and clean lines. When choosing your base, consider the job you are applying for and what you feel the most comfortable in.

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Dresses: There are a few things that you want to pay attention to when picking out a dress. The length should be within two inches of the knee- no mini or maxi looks. Additionally, the straps or sleeves should cover at least two inches of the shoulder. As I have mentioned, it is best to lean on the conservative side, so avoid low necklines.

Skirts: If you decide to wear a skirt, go for a basic pencil skirt in a dark color.It is a work-wear classic that won’t go out of style. Pencil skirts also have the clean lines that we are looking for. Just be sure to keep the length within two inches of the knee!

Pants: There is a huge variety in the types of pants available, though not all dress pants are interview appropriate. Sure, you might really love the skinny-fitting, ankle-grazing styles that are in right now, but if you are applying to a more conventional field, it might be best to stick to something more traditional.

Tip 3: Pick a blouse 

Choose either a crisp button up or a fitted blouse. This is where you can let a bit of your personality shine through. Add some color and maybe a pattern—just don’t go overboard! Again, you want to consider the job you are interviewing for; what level of self-expression is appropriate for that position? Avoid anything too sheer, tight, or oversized. There is a happy medium somewhere, I promise.

Tip 4: Add a layering piece

Adding either a blazer or a cardigan will help bring your outfit together and bring it up a notch. If you go for a cardigan, choose a fitted style in a thin fabric that will lay flat. If you’d rather wear a blazer, get measured to find a style that fits you perfectly.

Tip 5: Choose appropriate shoes

Shoes should be closed toe with a heel that does not exceed two inches. Go for back, grey, or nude instead of a bright color.

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Tip 6: Add accessories

You are not a Christmas tree: do not decorate yourself as if you are! Keep your accessories simple! Add a watch, a necklace, and a belt. Adding accessories shows that you pay attention to detail, which is a quality that any employer is looking for.

Tip 7: Get your clothes tailored

Another way to show that you are detail oriented is by getting your clothing tailored. It costs a few extra bucks, but it will give your interviewer a much different impression if you walk in wearing something that fits you properly as opposed to something you are swimming in.

Final Tips:

Please do not forget to use a lint roller and iron your clothes. I know you love your cat, but your interviewer doesn’t need to know that (yet). Keep your makeup and hair simple, and don’t show up with chipped nail polish. You want your good qualities to be the center of attention, not your minor flaws.

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Pantyhose: To Wear or Not to Wear?

If you are like many women that I have encountered at work, you avoid dresses and skirts for interviews because you are unsure of whether or not you need to wear pantyhose. Many of us young women have never needed to wear stockings, so where do we even begin? There are positives and negatives to nylons, which leave us with a lot to consider. Sure, they keep your legs warm and look professional, but aren’t they a little outdated? Autumn Whitefield-Madrano describes her enduring love for pantyhose despite the changing opinions of others throughout the years. She feels that they speak to the lifestyle of a professional woman. Additionally, many pantyhose have a control top, which smooth lines and make you look slimmer. On the other hand, some feel that they are obsolete, uncomfortable, and too hot to wear in the summer months.

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So, are they necessary? There are numerous opinions out there. The overall consensus seems to be this: it depends. Wearing stockings is not a matter of right or wrong, but rather a matter of occasion. Emma Newcombe gives some great pointers to pantyhose in her article about wearing nylons to work or interviews, including when to wear them and when you can go bare. The most important thing to keep in mind is your employer’s dress code policy. It is always better to lean on the conservative side if you are unsure (both in interviews and at work).

If you decide to wear nylons with your dress or skirt, be wary of the color. Nude colored pantyhose should match your skin tone, so avoid the “suntan” nylons unless you are actually that tan. Black stockings are another option, and can be worn with darker colored clothing. Either the sheer or opaque options are acceptable, depending on your outfit and personal preference. Nylons for work are different from the tights that you might wear on your day off, so avoid patterns or colors in favor of a more traditional look.

Hopefully this will help you make a decision about whether or not pantyhose are necessary for your lives in the work world!