How to dress for a job interview

Job interviews are nerve-wracking encounters especially if you really, really want the job. There's even more pressure because you know that you're not the only one after it, what with hundreds of equally (or even more) qualified candidates out to get into the same industry if not the same job. So how do you get it? 

The no-brainer answer is, make sure that you have developed the right skill sets for the position (this is what college is for surprise surprise). Be fluent and relaxed while your potential employer is talking to you. Smile a lot. Look 'em in the eye and mean everything you say. But that's the thing with no-brainers - everybody knows (or should know) this! The real question should be: how do you set yourself apart from being just another person who wants a job?

I believe that *part* of the answer lies in how you dress, rather, in how you phsyically present yourself to a potential employer. I think that few new graduates or even old hands know how to properly dress for a job interview. I see them on the streets of business districts and I already know they're looking for employment; it is, to put it mildly, unimpressive. Familiar with this uniform? With matching brown envelope?

This outfit says, "I am not a creative person. I am probably competent as my resume will tell you but don't expect any initiative or new ideas from me. I will say yes to everything you say even if I don't agree with it." To me, at least. It's a hasty generalization, sure, but you have to admit that anyone who wears this to a job interview looks instantly uninspiring. 

So that's the trick: look inspired. Look sharp. Look smart. Walk your talk (literally with great shoes). That's how you dress for a job interview. And here are more tips!

  1. Learn as much about the company as you can and dress to match that company's culture. Google is your friend! Find out what kind of people work there by doing some stalking. Are they chill and laid-back? Are they stiff corporate types? Adjust your outfit and even your demeanor (how you talk and move) according to the job type and the kind of people you plan to work with. Dress one step better than they do - and no more.
  2. Leave the crazy stuff at home. The bright lipsticks, sequins, loud prints, as high as heaven heels - don't even think about it. Employers want to hire dependable-looking people, not glamour or fluff. Yes, this even applies to the fashion and beauty industry. You want to make a memorable impression but not in the "I'm a fashion victim" kind of way. We get it but your future boss may not.
  3. Polish, polish, polish. You have to be on your mental best when preparing for a job interview - but don't forget to let your appearance reflect that. You want to look like a well-oiled machine both inside and out. So, pluck your eyebrows, clip, buff and polish your nails, take care of chapped lips, style your hair, it's all in the details! Why would an employer believe that you care about the job if you can't even take care of yourself? Groom yourself and mean it.
  4. Wear nice shoes, bring a nice bag. Forget about fabric bags, sneakers, espadrilles, sandals or (god forbid) flip flops and related iterations. You're not trying for college. Go for closed/peep-toe/ thick-strapped shoes and a medium-sized, structured bag that says "I'm serious about this job."
  5. Choose the right colors. Colors are powerful yet have a very sublime (read: sneaky) effect on people. They speak volumes about a person without making a sound. My personal default colors are yellow and pink because they're positive, cheery colors that can instantly lift an employer's mood. Red is nice if you're applying for a company with strong Chinese ties and values - but don't wear red all over because it can look like an aggressive color. Go for a simple red dress then bring it down with neutral bags and shoes, or go neutral then add red accents. Navy is a reliable color - it says you're dependable. Black is a no-brainer but make sure to lighten it with other colors.

That said, here are some of my outfit suggestions.

Every girl needs a shift dress - or ten. Shift dresses look polished without looking overly formal. Idiot-proof choice.

If you're a pants type of girl, then make sure that you pick a great-fitting pair that elongates your legs and makes your body look more streamlined. Pair the slacks/ dark wash jeans with a polo, secretary shirt, or chiffon blouse. Add a blazer for good measure! Although you can do without it if you're going for a company that's not too rigid.

If the company has a very strict, formal dress code, then go for suits that are well-tailored.

Some suggestions for two-piece skirt ensembles. These are some of the key pieces you should try!

Shoe suggestions (all from Ferretti of course)

And that's it! Whew! This is longer than I planned it to be. But I hope you got some useful tips here. ;) Now, good luck on your next job interview! Knock 'em out!