As hard as it is to believe, summer will be here before we know it! That means sunshine, warm weather, time with friends—and, more than likely, job/internship interviews. We’ve all heard the rules: dress conservatively, wear neutral colors, keep the jewelry/makeup to a minimum, look professional, et cetera. Essentially, the rules say that we’re expected to dress as dowdily as possible. That’s nice and all, I suppose, “dressing the part” and whatnot. But after a while, monochromatic pantsuits get a little boring; how can you possibly expect your future employer to remember who you are if you look exactly like a cookie-cutter model of every other interviewee they’ve encountered before? I’m here to bend these rules a little. Yes, you should look professional, but that doesn’t mean that you have to look boring and drab! With these tips, you’ll be able to add your own unique style to your career-woman outfit. Most importantly, you’ll be able to make an impression on your future employers and land that position!
1. Ditch. The. Pantsuits.
Okay, I get it; this is the old “stand-by” when it comes to business-wear. But, ladies, we have come a long way since the days of shoulder-pads and pin-stripes! Try buying a couple of stylish blazers in neutral colors that you can mix and match with casual dresses, flowing blouses, pencil skirts, and cropped or straight-legged pants. A blazer is a staple piece of clothing that gives you a certain air of proficiency that you can always pair with bright, pastel, or printed tops. You could even do the opposite for a similar effect: pair a bright colored blazer with a plain, neutral top. The same principle applies to dresses. However, if you choose to wear a skirt or pants with a “fun” top, it’s best to keep them solid and neutral. This will prevent you from overdoing colors and patterns while still allowing you to add your own unique flair to the outfit!
2. Make sure it fits!
Please, please make sure that your clothing fits! It is important to do this on a daily basis, but is even more crucial to business attire. Make sure that your clothing is fitted, but not so tight that you can’t breathe. With that being said, also make sure that you don’t show too much skin. Make sure that your tops cover all visible cleavage and that your dresses/skirts fall slightly above or below the knee. Moreover, make sure that your clothing is the correct length. Make sure that shirt/blazer sleeves stop at your wrist. Otherwise, you’ll look like a five-year-old girl playing dress-up in her mother’s clothing. Should you choose to wear wide-legged trousers, make sure that they don’t drag the floor.
3. Don’t be afraid to wear cute shoes or jewelry!
We have been told time and time again to wear sensible shoes and jewelry. So does that mean that we have to wear pearls and loafers? Absolutely not! We don’t want to look like we’re 19 going on 90! It’s just a matter of finding what works with your outfit. Usually, it’s safe to stick with one statement piece of jewelry (such as a necklace, bracelet, or ring) and pair it with more delicate gold and silver pieces. As far as shoes go, just make sure they match and that they aren’t over the top! Waltzing (or stumbling, depending on your level of skill) into an interview in six-inch hot-pink stilettos is a definite no-no. Actually, you just shouldn’t do that. Ever. However, pairing a pair of pointed-toe flats or pumps with the color of your top/blazer or statement piece of jewelry is totally acceptable.
4. Find balance with your hair and makeup.
The bottom-line here is that you don’t want to look like you just walked off the set of The Jersey Shore; think Audrey Hepburn, not Snooki! You want to look classic, fresh, and effortless. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t wear makeup or style your hair. Just keep it under control. Wear just enough concealer/powder to even out your skin-tone and cover any blemishes that have popped up. You don’t want to cake it on! With that being said, make sure that your face is the same color as your neck. If you have to, blend your powder/foundation. This will prevent you from having the ever-dreaded makeup line. Opt for neutral shades of eyeshadow (browns, grays, et cetera) and minimal eyeliner. Use just enough mascara to make your eyelashes stand out without clumping. Finally, dust on a bit of blush and/or bronzer to give your face a bit of color. As for your hair, loose waves or wearing it straight is usually the best option, but make sure that your hair is kept out of your face! You can accomplish this by pinning your bangs to the side or wearing half of your hair up.
5. Comfort is key. As I’ve mentioned many a time before, being comfortable is absolutely the most important rule when it comes to style. If you feel awkward or uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll feel self-conscious during your interview—which employers are bound to notice. Make sure that what you’re wearing makes you feel good. That way, you’ll exude confidence and own that interview!