Dressing for a job interview can be stressful, especially in Hollywood. The good news is, once you've identified a few tried and true outfits, you'll be able to reuse those items over and over again. There are a few standards to follow when dressing for various types of Hollywood job interviews, and with some help from personal stylist Lindsay Agnew, founder of Well Beaming, we're going to give you a few easy and reliable options (that shouldn't break the bank)!
In general, there are three categories of Hollywood interview outfits: what you wear to an agency or management company, what you wear to a network, studio, or larger production company, and what you wear to more casual production companies and staffing interviews. Here's our breakdown:
AGENCY OR MANAGEMENT COMPANY INTERVIEW:
For women, a neutral blouse and pencil skirt is always a safe bet at an agency. You could also choose a conservative dress with heels. If you're comfortable in a full business suit, go for it! Some of us feel like we're playing dress up in Mom's clothes when we're in a suit, but if you can rock it, we're not here to stop you.
For men, wearing a suit to an agency interview is a must. It's also a solid choice for an interview at a network or studio. When in doubt, dress up, not down! Ask a salesperson to help you pick the perfect suit, and be sure it's tailored to fit!
NETWORK, STUDIO, OR LARGE PRODUCTION COMPANY INTERVIEW:
When interviewing at a network, studio, or well-known production company, women have a range of options. If possible, try to assess the typical dress code at that office, as they can differ -- for example, office dress at E! is likely very different from that at Cartoon Network. Although a pencil skirt or conservative dress is always acceptable, you could also wear a nice pair of black pants with a blouse or sweater. Just make sure you look polished.
Men also have a range of options for interviews at networks, studios, and larger production companies. As long as you're not interviewing for a field position or at a super laid back office, a suit is usually a fail-safe solution, but you may choose to go a bit more casual in a jacket, dress pants, and a button down. It's okay to leave the tie at home, but don't go so far as to wear jeans.
SMALL PRODUCTION COMPANY OR PRODUCTION CREW INTERVIEW:
If you're interviewing for a freelance position on a production or for a full-time position at a smaller production company, you'll feel out of place if you dress too formally. You can't go wrong with black pants and a sweater or blouse, but you could also get away with a pair of jeans, as long as you chose a dark shade of denim. Pair these with a nice top, and you'll make a good impression without coming across as uptight.
Similarly, men can also dress more casually for an interview at a smaller production company or for a freelance position. Try a pair of khaki pants with a button down shirt for a comfortable style that still looks professional. You could also choose a pair of jeans, but they should be dark and fitted. Remember, you want to look sharp!
Hopefully you've found some inspiration for your own interview outfit. For additional style advice, check out Lindsay Agnew's guest blog post, "How to put together the perfect interview outfit," on the Hollywood Resumes website. And a big thanks to Lindsay for helping us create some stylish looks!
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan
This is a guest blog post written by stylist Lindsay Agnew of Well Beaming.
With your nerves already sky-high before an interview, the last thing you want to worry about is what you should wear. Before I owned my own business, I remember being so concerned I’d wear something that would break an unspoken fashion rule and wouldn’t get the job because of it (I’ll admit, I was a bit more dramatic when I was younger!). But now that I’ve been both an interviewer and interviewee (for entertainment and non-entertainment jobs), I know the unspoken rules, and I’m happy to share my advice for putting together the perfect interview outfit!
THESE ARE MY TOP FIVE TIPS:
1. DON’T BE AFRAID TO WEAR COLOR
In fact, I encourage it.
Now I can hear some of you saying, I hate color; I only wear black, white, and grey (I get it, black is my fave color too); but hear me out. During the interview process, you are probably one of a few interviewees, and you want to utilize anything that will help you stand out during AND after the interview. Let your clothes help you do this. Aside from your talents and experience, color is memorable! Now I’m not suggesting that you show up in an orange jumpsuit, but you are much more likely to remember someone’s yellow necklace or tie, light blue jacket, or green cardigan than a basic black or navy sweater. A pop of color can go a long way!
This is an actual outfit I wore to an interview!
Taking it one step further, I recommend incorporating the colors of the company into your outfit if you can. I once interviewed for a firm whose colors were orange and blue, so I wore an orange cardigan and navy neck scarf to the interview. The interviewers mentioned my outfit and appreciated the attention to detail … I’ll also add, I ended up getting the job. :)
2. PATTERNS ARE OKAY
… as long as they’re not too distracting.
Again, you want to stand out.
If you are going to wear I pattern, I recommend a smaller print. It’s more subtle but still makes a statement. You don’t want your shirt distracting from you.
And if you want to be extra daring, you can even mix patterns.
It is important to note that if you're going to mix patterns, make sure the prints are about the same size. This is less overwhelming to the eye.
Outside of an interview, do what feels best for you! If you want to wear big checkers and tiny spots, I’m not here to stop you!
3. TUCK YOUR SHIRT IN
Leaving your shirt untucked, especially if it is oversized, can look sloppy in an interview setting, and you want to look sharp!
Consider the difference here:
In both examples, the photo on the right looks more professional.
Also, wear a belt. It'll help pull your outfit together and create cleaner lines.
Ladies: If you don’t feel comfortable tucking your shirt in, I hear you (trust me, there are days when I don’t want to draw attention to my waistline either!). Consider a dress or a shorter (but not cropped!) tapered blouse or sweater. If the hem of your shirt isn’t much longer than the waistband of your pants or skirt, you’ll look polished.
4. MAKE SURE YOUR CLOTHES ARE FITTED
I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!
Clothes are incredibly powerful. The right outfit can take you from feeling like a troll to a complete superstar in an instant. However, clothes can also have the opposite effect. Celebrate your body with what you wear – don’t hide your shape!
I would never recommend going into an interview in anything oversized. You want to feel confident, and that oversized sweater isn’t going to do it for you, whether you like your shape or not.
This goes for men too. Working in fashion, I’ve noticed that men often wear a size or two too big. Don’t wear a large or an extra large when your size is actually a medium.
RECOMMENDATION: If you are in the market for a good suit, trousers, jacket, or dress shirt, I recommend Suit Supply. The store is hip and reasonably priced, the sales associates are trained to make sure the suits fit properly, and they offer in-store tailoring. If you like one-stop shopping, this is your spot. You can also design your own suit or shirt online.
Also, if you are going to wear a jacket, make sure the sleeves fit. You want the sleeve of your jacket to stop about half an inch before your wrist, so your shirt underneath shows. The little details make the difference, trust me.
Even if you are not wearing a jacket, you want your sleeve to stop at your wrist.
Whether you are going to an interview at an agency or production company, you want your clothes to fit you well. Ask a sales associate if you aren’t sure.
5. ACCESSORIZE YOUR OUTFIT [YES GUYS, THIS INCLUDES YOU]
You want to look like a boss when you step into your interview, and the details of your outfit will do this for you, from how you style your hair, to your shoes, to the accessories you choose. Don’t be afraid to be bold; you want to use any tools available to make an impression.
A great watch, tie, belt, scarf, or necklace can make a HUGE difference in how you present yourself, and the best part: Accessories are less expensive than buying a new suit, dress, blouse, or shirt. Even better, you can make about 100 different looks with the same pair of pants and shirt based on how you accessorize.
Consider the rule of three: The rule of three is the quickest and best way to look put together (interview or not). You’ll need one base on top, one over piece, and at least one accent to make an outfit look finished.
Bases: Collared shirt, silk shell, button-down blouse, turtleneck, etc.
Over Piece: Suit jacket, Cardigan, blazer, coat, vest, etc.
Accent: Tie, statement jewelry (needs to catch your eye), scarf, belt, statement shoes, etc.
NOTE: This rule doesn’t always apply to dresses (especially if the dress has a lot going on). If you are going to wear a dress, feel free to let the dress be the statement! You can still make use of three pieces (your dress then becomes your base), but it is not necessary.
How you combine any of these is up to you. But think three.
Below are two examples:
Even a small piece of flair can have a big impact:
Although subtle, the details make a difference. It all adds up!
A great place for accessories is Nordstrom Rack. You get the quality at half the price!
HELPFUL TIP: Shoes can really make you stand out. ALWAYS make sure they’re shined. If you don’t have time to get this done, Vaseline works like a charm. I rubbed Vaseline on these shoes right before I took the picture, and you would never know the difference:
I encourage you to let these little details help you stand out and shine even more!
I sincerely hope this helps you. Aside from your talents and expertise, how you show up to an interview matters. Clothing is a great tool that can help you feel confident and prepared as you walk into the room.
All right, now go crush that interview!
Lindsay Agnew is the founder of Well Beaming, LLC; a company devoted to improving the health and wellness of others through a deeper understanding of how the mind-body connection influences everything from how we eat, to how we dress, to our overall lifestyle!
For more information, follow @well.beaming on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, or send a direct email to Lindsay@wellbeaming.com.
You graduated from a great college, and now you answer someone’s phones while they throw staplers at your head. For $30,000 a year. Your parents, relatives, and friends back home wonder if you’ve completely lost your mind. Why can’t you just waltz into Steven Spielberg’s office, hand him your script, and win an Oscar? Okay, maybe that's a bit unrealistic, but couldn't you at least find a job that would cover a year's worth of your tuition?
To outsiders, the path to success in Hollywood seems completely insane (and they're right, we've just come to accept it somehow). But feeling like you constantly have to justify your life choices to your loved ones while simultaneously getting beaten down during your monotonous, 12+ hour work days can be stressful. Maybe you should just give up and move on -- it would make your parents happy, after all.
Okay, wait. Take a deep breath. You’re not alone in this thinking -- the very reason it’s so hard to make it in this industry is that you're competing with thousands of others in the exact same situation. Remember that every one of them is going through a similar thought process. You should definitely find confidantes in the industry you can vent to (shouldn't be too hard!), but you don’t have to cut yourself off from the people back home just because they don’t understand what you’re doing with your life. Nor do you have to give up on your dreams. But how do you explain to your loved ones that what you're going through is normal and will all be worth it in the end?
We like the analogy of grad school. No one expects a medical student to perform surgery one year after college. They have to put in time to learn. And sure, making movies isn’t anything like brain surgery, but there is still a lot to learn. Your time as an assistant teaches you what you need to know to develop yourself professionally and helps you build the network that will be essential to your future success. Listening to your boss’s calls, doing script coverage, taking notes in meetings -- it’s school you get paid for. Think of it as the equivalent of getting a PhD in entertainment, and the $30k is like a fellowship.
You could also use the med school analogy to help explain Hollywood's "pay your dues" culture. Much like a grueling medical residency, a Hollywood assistant position teaches you to be resilient and earns you the respect of your superiors who have all gone through the same thing. Your family members shouldn't be surprised that such a high-profile industry is extremely competitive, and you've got to do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door.
Now this analogy isn’t perfect. Grad school programs have a clear timeline, but it's hard to predict when you'll finally break out of an assistant position. But don't give in to your nagging parents who can't understand why you're still answering phones three years into your career. Instead, use the stress as a motivator. There are things you can do during your time as an assistant to get promoted to coordinator, or, if a creative role like writing/directing is more your speed, do something creative for every negative conversation you have. It can be hard to find the energy, but if you don’t, you’re proving your parents right, and no one -- especially them -- wants that.
You got a call for a job interview! Hooray! But there's one problem: You and the company you're applying to aren't in the same city. That’s a conundrum for many students looking for internships away from their college campuses and for many people hoping to relocate for new opportunities. Most likely, you’re going to have a Skype interview, where there’s more room for error and less personal connection than an in-person interview. Skype interviews take a little extra preparation, but with careful planning, you can shine.
MISTAKE #1: Signing on late
In an in-person interview, being late is a huge problem, but it’s even worse in a Skype interview. At least when a hiring manager is waiting for you to arrive at her office, she can work on another task while she waits, but with a Skype interview, the hiring manager has to stare at her screen waiting for you to sign on. If you make her wait too long, she’ll choose to move on to another task, and you’ll have missed your opportunity. But this is an easy mistake to avoid. Sign on at least ten minutes before your interview and accept the invitation from your interviewer (or confirm they’ve accepted yours, depending on what was arranged). When the interviewer initiates the connection, you'll be ready and waiting.
MISTAKE #2: Not testing your equipment beforehand
Technical difficulties will happen during Skype interviews, but if they do, be sure the problem is happening on the other end of the connection, not yours. Find a spot in your home or office with a strong wifi signal and test everything out with a friend the night before. If you're having trouble connecting or the image keeps freezing, do some troubleshooting to fix the problem. If something goes wrong during the interview, you can be confident that it's not your fault, and you'll be the one graciously accepting the interviewer's apology, rather than making excuses of your own.
MISTAKE #3: Having the wrong set up
While you're testing out your equipment, you should also figure out the perfect setup. It’s no secret that people don’t look their best over webcam, but you should try to appear as polished as possible during the interview. First, look for a non-distracting backdrop. Find a solid colored wall to sit in front of -- this way, you ensure that the interviewer doesn't get distracted by background clutter. You'll also want to choose an area where you have some privacy. You don't want you interviewers to catch a glimpse of your roommates wandering around behind you in their pajamas. Next, find a good camera angle. Your interviewer does not want to look up your nostrils or at your hairline. It’s always a good idea to stack books under your device so your eye line matches the camera. One helpful trick for Skype interviews is looking directly at the camera as you speak -- it will appear as if you're making eye contact. This will make the interviewer more comfortable, and the conversation should flow more easily. Finally, don’t use a handheld device -- you risk shifting yourself out of focus. If you must use a tablet, set it on a secure stand.
MISTAKE #4: Dressing like you’re at home
A Skype interview is still an interview, which means you need to dress like you would if you were meeting someone in person. Sure, it feels funny to sit on your couch in a suit and tie, but if that’s what you’d wear to an in-person interview, it’s what you should wear on Skype. If you’re 100% positive your lower-half won’t show up in the frame, you can skip pants, but most people find that it's easier to get into the interview mindset when they're fully dressed. Looking the part will help you feel the part -- you’ll be more confident and professional, and that will be reflected on screen.
Aside from these Skype-specific tips, treat the interview as you would any other -- research the company, practice answers to common interview questions, ask thoughtful questions, and send a thank you email. Skype doesn’t have to be a hindrance.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan