Dressing for Success: 9 Interview Fashion Faux Pas

by Annabel Rawson
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img source: www.pmbarobinson.wordpress.com

Img source: www.pmbarobinson.wordpress.com

So you’ve graduated! Perhaps you’ve even landed an interview for that dream job. First off, congratulations! By now you know that neither is any small feat and that the job market is pretty bleak these days. Call backs are difficult to come by, and scoring an interview can feel like winning the lottery—which is precisely why standing out from today’s competitive applicant market in is a professional necessity. Whether you like it or not, first impressions are made in just seven seconds according to researchers; and with that kind of pressure, it’s vital that your attire shows your potential boss just how serious you are about seizing the opportunity.

In short? Dress for the job you’re aspiring for and employers are more likely to picture you in the role. You may have an impressive resume and stellar skills, but show up to an interview looking unpolished and it could cost you the job. Not entirely sure of the interview style rules? No problem! Read on to find out which seemingly small style tips can help (and which faux pas can hinder) your chances of landing that coveted position.

Colour: As a rule of thumb, err on the side of caution and dress in conservative tones for the big interview. If you’re interviewing for a professional or corporate position, neutral colours are usually a safe bet (White, beige, tan, brown, black etc.). Further, choose solids over patterns to ensure that your ensemble isn’t distracting to the interviewer. Bored with beige? Add that pop of colour with a bright handbag.

Skirts: Hopefully this goes without saying, but never ever wear a skirt shorter than knee length or one that has a long slit. Conversely, a skirt with a hemline that falls just below the knee works well with skin coloured tights, a stylish blouse and a jacket. And don’t forget to take the ‘sit-down’ test prior to the big day. Some skirts look great while you’re standing up, but when you’re seated, you may find that it’s either too tight or eh-hem, revealing.

Fit: It’s important that your clothing has a flattering fit. This means no gaping buttons on your blouse and absolutely no over-sized pants. If you’re still in the process of building your professional wardrobe, start by investing in a stylish blazer. Look for blazers and jackets with sleeves that come down just past your wrist when your arms are at your side. As for dress pants/trousers, they should fall about ½ inch from the ground in the back- just short enough so that the hem isn’t dragging on the ground, but long enough that they still look demure. Pro tip? If you’re very short or taller than average, have a tailor fit your clothing accordingly. Trust us, it’s worth the extra cash.

bad nails

Img source: www.glamour.com

Well maintained nails: Your hands are used a lot during the interview process. You’ll be shaking hands, gesturing during conversation and it’s surprising how obvious ragged cuticles and chipped purple polish can be. If you’re a regular nail biter either commit to quitting cold turkey or fork up the dough for an occasional manicure.

Be a minimalist: We know, we know— you love your Tiffany’s necklace, and your rose-gold Michale Kors watch is the cutest grad present ever (Thanks, Mom!) But in a formal situation such as an interview or presentation, you don’t want gaudy or mismatched accessories to steal the show. Too much jewelry can be downright distracting (Um, Miss—your giant moissanite earrings are kind of blinding me.) Unless you’re interviewing for a fashion job, stick to simplistic earrings (only one pair), a small necklace or an understated headband.

Footwear: Shoes are another thing that many tend to overlook. But rest assured, those clunky, dirty sneakers don’t go unnoticed. Women should wear low, plain coloured heels or flats. However, under no circumstances should open toe shoes be worn to an interview. Whether they’re flip flops (God forbid) or dressy sandals, keep your pedicure to yourself. They’re simply inappropriate for a job interview. Men should purchase a pair of plain black loafers and lace-up dress shoes. They don’t have to cost a fortune, either. You can find suitable ones on a budget at Wal-Mart or Payless. You’re welcome.

Hairstyle: If you sport long locks then you’re well aware that it can be next to impossible not to touch, flip, or wrap your hair around your fingers, particularly when you’re nervous. A sleek, low ponytail is simple and professional looking. Plus, it suits just about any outfit.

Dress code: If possible, determine whether the workplace you’re interviewing for is formal, less formal or casual. If you’re unsure about the company’s culture, wearing a fitted pant suit with a jacket and a casual button up underneath is a safe option. If you arrive to the interview and the facility has a laid back feel, slip off the jacket and sport the button up.

At the end of the day, be mindful when choosing your attire for an interview. Not only can a well put-together, polished look boost your confidence, it’ll show your future boss that you’re detail oriented and have the ability to represent the company to clients. Now go knock ‘em dead, superstar.

Do you have a particular ‘power’ outfit for interviews or presentations? Share your interview style tips with us @FreshPrintMag!

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