What to Wear and What Not to Wear for Your Next Interview

By Nicol Colarusso, Chapter Member

WhatToWear

Today many people are never positive as to what is and what is not appropriate when going into something as nerve-wracking as a job interview. Most young professionals will be either too casual or too made up.  Of course it’s important to look your very best, but in actuality, what does that even mean?  To wear heels or not to wear heels?  Should one wear a suit or just wear a collar shirt and tie?  It’s the age-old question that many of us will find ourselves asking the night before or morning of our big day: what do I wear? Here is a quick guide of what to wear and what not to wear to your next internship or job interview.

The Good:

  1. Slacks: A pair of black slacks is essential for anyone’s wardrobe. Everyone should invest in at least one pair of black slacks. These slacks can be paired with any appropriate blouse, collar shirt, or blazer while being very diverse for either a casual or more conservative company.
  2. Button up shirts: When shopping for a button up, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Always make sure the neckline is modest. For women, make sure your bra is covered and be sure to cover cleavage. Also, make sure the shirt is the correct size to avoid it being too loose or too tight causing it to stretch at the buttons.
  3. Skirts and dresses (for women): Length is important! Both skirts and dresses should be at least at knee length, if not longer.
  4. Don’t neglect your feet: You may have a great outfit and your makeup perfect, but always make sure that you’re wearing comfortable, clean and not tattered shoes. Without this, you will not only be uncomfortable, but your overall appearance will lack quality. Women should invest is low, conservative and comfortable heels or nice flats, while men should invest in a pair of lace-up dress shoes or loafers. Also make sure to clean or get your shoes polished before the day of the interview.
  5. Don’t wear too much perfume or cologne: Some people are allergic to scents and you don’t want to make your potential boss uncomfortable. Also, you do not want your scent to be the first thing people notice about you.
  6. Accessories: Make sure you keep your accessories simple and classic. Don’t overdo the accessories with flashy or an excessive amount of pieces.
  7. Make up (for women): Your potential job or internship wants to see the face behind the resume! Don’t cover it up with heavy make up.  It can be distracting.

The Bad:

  1. Jeans: Never wear jeans even if you see people from that company that work there wearing jeans. Those people already have the job, you don’t, and wearing jeans come off too casual.
  2. Short skirts and dresses: That little black dress may be cute during cocktail hour or at a friend’s party, but never at an interview.  And ladies, throwing a blazer over it will not make it “office appropriate”.
  3. Low cut shirts: You want your potential boss to take you seriously. To be professional, one must be a little on the conservative side.
  4. Shorts: They’re great for the beach, but never at an office.
  5. Flip-flops: Comfortable, yes. Professional, no.
  6. Open-toed shoes: Open-toed shoes are considered unprofessional in many offices. Part of that is due to the fact that one should not be wearing panty hose with an open-toe shoe and it is the lack of panty hose that comes across as too casual.

The Ugly:

I think this section speaks for itself.  Interviews are a time to be at your professional best while still maintaining a clear reminder of who you are to the job or internship of your interest.  It’s definitely not the time to take out that sexy red dress with a pair of sparkling high heels, or that awesome “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt and pair of faded jeans.  That just screams, “don’t hire me” all over it.

So when that moment comes on your calendar for your interview day and you’re standing in front of your closet skimming through your outfit options, always remember the good, the bad, and the ugly of what to wear and what not to wear at an interview. And please, leave the sparkling shoes at home, ladies.

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