Thursday, April 14, 2011

Uniform Dressing 7:1

Uniform Dressing is back, I promised it would be.  This month I'm going to address a uniform that is front and center in my mind now that I'm sending out resumes - dressing for interviews.  In my paralegal schooling it was a topic that was addressed at the beginning of classes and at the end of the certification.  Keep in mind that working in the legal field is a bit different than working in a super creative field (like I did previously).  But I think the same rules apply for any interview situation, and here are some basic ones that I try to stick to (if I'm the interviewer or being interviewed).
  • No jangly/noisy jewelry.  There is nothing worse than talking to someone with clanky bracelets, etc, incredibly distracting.
  • No super sparkly or ginormous jewelry.  Again very distracting, for example, I hate to see large dangly earrings swinging to and fro - I won't be paying attention to what you are saying just your earrings.
  • Super-duper high heels.  I love a heel, but people get really weird about super high heels/platforms.  I remember during one big trend/design presentation I had with our sales staff (and CEO *ahem*), I wore some high red suede platforms with a simple, light grey, pinstripe pants suit.  I got as many comments about my shoes as I did about the presentation.  The comments weren't negative, but I wanted the sole (ha ha) focus to be on my presentation and not my shoes.  Same goes with interviews - you want more focus on you and less focus on what you are wearing.
  • Black suits (in my opinion) are the best, they go with everything and when you land that job you can break the suit apart and it ends up being way more versatile (just remember to dry clean the whole suit at the same time so the fabric color/texture stays consistent).
  • Keep it simple - less is more.  You and your skills need to stand out, not what you are wearing.  Trust me, if someone wears something odd or out of the ordinary, that's what's going to be remembered, not their skills or what they said. 
I've assembled a basic interview uniform below.  I selected a couple of black suits with pants and with skirts.  I prefer pants, but that's my comfort level, if you feel more like you in a skirt then go for it.  I also prefer pants because I don't have to deal with the difficult "pantyhose or no pantyhose" question.  I would err on the wear pantyhose side especially in a conservative setting, you might be able to go without in a creative situation.  There's no cut and dry answer I'm afraid, but if there's any question I would go ahead and squeeze into the dreaded pantyhose. 

Ideally it would be great to have a suit set that includes pants and a skirt with the blazer that goes with both.  Just a thought.

Now for what goes underneath the jacket.  Again keeping it simple and neutral, a white button down or if you are like me and tend to get the flop sweats when you are nervous (ick) then a sleeveless shell works great. With either choice make sure it's clean (no spots, make up smudges) and not too sheer or see-through.  Sounds like a "duh" statement, but I've seen these issues.

Now for accessories, again, simple, clean lines and not too many doodads to distract.  A basic black bag works wonders, I like to keep it large enough to fit a folder with my resumes and my tear sheet binder, but not so large I look like I came from the gym or a weekend away.  I try to only carry one bag, though occasionally I have to schlep a large portfolio case if they want to see actual fabric samples.  Try not to look like a bag lady is the bottom line.  As for shoes, again simple black pumps with a low to mid heel.

I hope you found this helpful and stay tuned for next week's installment!

7 comments:

  1. this is a no-fail outfit, for sure. when i was in a more corporate office, i had several black suits and always felt good in them.

    rockoomph.blogspot.com

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  2. I couldnt agree more! I wore a black sweater, black slacks and black sandals. I walked in and landed the job first try. It amazes me how people have no interview skills or style.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perfect uniform! I still don't have any of that...haha...but I don't need it with the job I have so I'm good until I get fired ;)
    http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

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  4. Great tips. I never tought of dry cleanning both pieces to preserve color fading. Makes total sense. I know it is hard when fashion is such a big part of who you are to not wear anything that stands out but you are 100% correct you need to stay basic for interviews. I am more comfortable with pant suits. I like the flare legs with double breast blazers.
    great post.
    http://fashiondivamommy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great topic for your Uniform Dressing! And "sole focus"--hilarious.
    I agree about keeping things simple, and I also think it totally depends on what kind of job you're interviewing for. I usually break up a suit, because I'm just not really a suit person, but I understand that there are some industries where that isn't acceptable. Also, I like to keep the silhouette classic but add in some bold color just because it makes me feel more confident. Sorry, my two cents just turned into a novel :)

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  6. Great tips. I never tought of dry cleanning both pieces to preserve color fading. Makes total sense. I know it is hard when fashion is such a big part of who you are to not wear anything that stands out but you are 100% correct you need to stay basic for interviews. I am more comfortable with pant suits. I like the flare legs with double breast blazers.
    great post.
    http://fashiondivamommy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post! I agree that a black suit is perfect and can really carry you a long way. I work in a very corporate/conservative environment but because I do not have client contact I can wear jeans. But I still have a black and a navy suit...never know when you will need them! You have some good points about the interview as well!

    ReplyDelete

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