Q. Hi Jordan,
I am wrapping up my Ph.D. and getting ready to re-enter the adult world again at age 31. The interviews I’m going on are typically three-day long ordeals [that last] from breakfast till dinner and drinks in the evening.
I like having fun with fashion, and want to be myself at these interviews! I typically like wearing dresses that are fitted on top, accentuate my waist, and are looser on the bottom.
I’d love to know if you have any recommendations for clothes that would be professional, comfortable for long days, yet not old and stuffy, and not pants suits?! I’m thinking about treating myself to these shoes for the interviews – they’re cute, classic, and comfortable for long periods of standing and walking around campus.
A. When it comes to interview attire, I think that a lot depends on the job you’re going for, and on the company’s aesthetic. As an example, one major rule of interviewing is never (ever) to wear jeans…but as I wrote in this post, I think that there are certain cases in which (neat, hole-free) denim is an entirely acceptable option. That doesn’t sound like the case here, but the point is that the most conservative pantsuit in your closet isn’t always the way to go.
In my opinion, these are the most important things to consider when it comes to interview attire:
1. Respect: Always err on the side of formality, especially if you’re not sure who you’ll be meeting or what kind of interview situation you’re walking into.
2. Corporate Culture: As important as it is to show your potential employer that you’re taking the opportunity seriously, it’s also important to convey that you understand and will fit in with the corporate culture of that particular company, and how you dress is just one way to show this.
3. Comfort: Nothing is more distracting than someone who’s constantly pulling at her hemline or fussing with her scarf, so make sure that whatever you’re wearing fits well, and is breathable and easy to move in.
4. Confidence: Go for fabrics and silhouettes that you feel like yourself in, and your confidence will show in the room.
Not knowing a ton about your job-to-be or the companies you’re interviewing for, I’d say that a safe bet would be a chic – but still comfortable – dress (like the affordable styles pictured above, all from LOFT). Look for a fabric that won’t wrinkle over the course of the day, add some chic (but not distracting) jewelry, and bring along a blazer that you can cover up with for the more formal activities (but then remove once evening rolls around).
Above are a few styling ideas for you (the look on the far left even features your new shoes). Enjoy, and good luck!
Product info after the jump.
$87 - zalando.co.uk
$135 - farfetch.com