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.