I have been writing a lot about interviews on the blog, but there is so much that goes into the interview process, so we have only really scratched the surface. One of the biggest things to consider when interviewing is the dress code, and I know figuring out what to wear, or better yet what not to wear, has been troubling many of you. So, although I am no Stacy London, I have been on more interviews than I can remember, so here is my take on interview wardrobe etiquette:
Personally, I tend to be less corporate than most and, therefore, don’t expect interviewees to wear suits. But I say that based on this industry alone. When you work in beauty and fashion, you have to gauge the workplace you are going to interview with and use your best judgment. If you know that it is a more casual environment, then I suggest a nice blouse and pencil skirt or cigarette pants. A blazer always works as well, but it depends on the season. As far as shoes, nice heels or very dressy flats will do. For the men reading this, a nice pair of pants with a button down and tie is appropriate. I interviewed a guy recently who was wearing navy tweed pants, a lavenderish button down, gray sweater and patterned tie, and I thought that was a great interview ensemble as well (he said it was all J. Crew). I don’t ever think you should wear jeans to an interview no matter how casual you know the dress code is.
So now you got the job…what to wear Day 1 and every day thereafter? Well, did you get a sense of what everyone else was wearing when you interviewed? That is always a good thing to take notes on, and you can also ask your employer what the dress code is (which I recommend doing.)
Depending on how formal the company is, you’ll want to dress to impress. If you work in fashion and can wear your clients’ clothing, than that is ideal, but if not, don’t stress. I always think a nice pair of jeans (if allowed), a blouse, blazer and heels is appropriate. I also love black cigarette pants with a blouse and heels or dressy flats (J Crew has great ones, which I live in). Please note that hot shorts, or daisy dukes, are not ok. Tutus are not ok. See-through tops and ratty t-shirts are not ok. Flip flops (the Havianas kind) are not ok. Save all that for the beach, ballet, Halloween, Spring Break… anywhere but the office place. I am also not a fan of cleavage or short skirts. Keep “the girls” covered and keep skirts no shorter than 2 inches or so above the knee. (OK, maybe I am a bit conservative!)
Ultimately, you should just ask the employer what is acceptable dress code and they will give you guidelines, and then stay true to who you are. If you never wear heels, then don’t. Dress comfortably because you will be running around a lot in the beginning, but always look presentable enough to go to an important meeting. They say you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have, so keep that in mind, and dress for success…