Thursday, 25 March 2010

Dressing for a job interview

What to wear for that all important job interview can be such a dilemna at times. But it needn't be if you follow a few simple guidelines. Keep it neat, simple and tailored and go for classic looks like this navy ladies pinstripe jacket which can easily be worn over a shift dress or with a crisp white shirt and knee length skirt or long trousers.
pinstripe jacket, navy pinstripe jacket, ladies pinstripe jacket
Pinstripe is a classic material that never goes out of fashion. Ralph Lauren as pictured below used pinstripe in his spring summer 2010 collection so this is a trend that never goes out of fashion but is constantly being re-invented.

ladies pinstripe trousers, ralph lauren spring summer 2010 collection
photo from

Certainly not suggesting that you wear this top on an interview but just making the point about the perpetual trendiness of pinstripe as you want to look current but not overly fashionista.

Dressing for an interview is probably one of the most important moments of power dressing that there is. Cliches like first impressions count, your first impression can be your last impressions, you have one chance to make a first impression are so appropriate to this moment when you first enter a room with an interview panel and they start assessing you even before you they start questioning you. Sad to say but the interview can be won or lost from this point and not because the panel is fickle but because the time and thought taken in putting yourself together for that interview is the first reflection of you the interview panel gets of your suitability for the job in terms of attention to detail, dress code and more importantly how serious you are about getting that job.

men's pinstripe suit, interview suit

men's navy pinstrip suit

Wear a simple crisp white shirt with your pinstrip suit or a another suitable plain coloured shirt.  If your jacket is already patterned like the pinstripe then stick to a plain shirt so that you are not wearing too much pattern to distract the interviewers from the job at hand which is to get to know you better and evaluate whether you are the best fit or one of the best fits for the job.  If they are distracted by your appearance it may be all they remember about you. 

red tie
red tie
wine tie, wine coloured tie
wine tie

Go for a red tie or wine coloured tie which many politians wear with a dark suit as red draws attention to the lips and they want people to listen to what they are saying so too you want your prospective employers to listen to what your have to say.

Power dressing for ladies
Ladies; to be taken seriously for the job especially when you are competing with male candidates, you must be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and be counted.  Don't over feminize your appearance by exposing cleavage, wearing short skirts or clothes that are obviously too tight.  Stick to knee length skirts or trousers.

jewellery pendant "mermaid"

You do not want to be wearing fashion accessories that dominant your outfit. Add a touch of femininity with unobstrusive stud earrings and simple pendant necklaces as shown above which are small and tasteful. Other feminine touches could be the use of a well matched scarf used as a belt in your trousers.   Choose fashion accessories that balances your interview outfit and do not overpower your look.

Personal grooming
Attention to detail from your head down to your socks, stocking and shoes is imporatnt.  Get a haircut, wash your hair, apply make up, wear shoes appropriate for the outfit in terms of colour and style. Avoid worn out shoes or get the heels or your shoes changed if they are worn out. There is nothing more annoying than the tick tock sound of ladies heels grating as they walk because the heel needs replacing.   These are the little things an interview panel remembers but you want them to remember the big things about you which relates to your qualifications, experience and suitability for the job.

brown leather handbag

Handbags and briefcases
Ensure that handbags and briefcases also look the part and are not suffering from wear and tear. Ladies no no animal print bags please!!!! While I love giraffe print handbags, the interview room is not the place to show off your keen fashion sense.  Keep it classic and conservative and go for quality leather handbags in black or dark brown.

brown leather briefcase

Dressing for a job interview is only half the battle, the other half is about what comes out of your mouth.  To help you plan, prepare and perform in the interview invest in books on interview questions and answers and search the internet for interview tips.

Knockout Interview Answers: 52 Brilliant Ideas to Clinch Your Dream Job (52 Brilliant Ideas)

You're Hired! Interview: Tips and techniques for a brilliant interview

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