We’ve all been there… frantically popping up to our friends on WhatsApp, asking for advice on what to wear for an interview. Sometimes they’re helpful, sometimes not so much (thanks though, guys!?)… So, what’s more important when putting together your interview outfit? Style or professionalism?
The answer is both! Being stylish doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice looking professional and perfectly appropriate. Think chic. For me, being ‘chic’ means your style is timeless, classy, and feminine. It’s also a wonderful form of self-expression, it allows your personality to shine through without even speaking. (Note: Interviewers, especially in the Retail Industry love it when you own your personal style.) Pop an oversized blazer over your shoulders, throw on a ’70’s inspired neck scarf and you’re good to go get that job, girl???…
But before we start with tips on dressing for success, let’s run through the difference between fashion and style…In short, “Fashion changes, but style endures” – Coco Chanel. Think of Fashion as dressing according to what’s popular and think of style as what you do with fashion, how you wear it and how you make it your own. Take the ‘over-the-knee boot (perhaps don’t wear these to an interview, though) and the slim cat-eye ‘90s vibe sunglasses for example. Those are fashionable, and will more than likely fade out the limelight but come back in fashion in the future. How you wear those boots, what you team them with, and what accessories you complete your look with is your style. It’s unique and about being yourself… That’s why I prefer to use the word style, instead.
Now we have that covered, let’s avoid those pre-interview outfit nerves with some key tips:
Do your research
This might seem like common sense, but I can’t stress enough the importance of gaging a feel for the company you’re attending an interview for. You’re not going to turn up to an interview for a call centre wearing a sequinned party dress and stiletto heels, but it’s more than that. It’s understanding the culture, the work environment, and company ethos. This will indicate how little or how heavily you can incorporate your personal style into your interview look. It’s true that your style never leave’s you, but its all about balance…
Perfecting the balance between style and suitability is also crucial as you need to ensure that yes, whilst you stick true to your unique style, it has to be appropriate and match the industry. Consider it in the way that you’d want your personal values to match those of the company. I’d say turning up to an interview for a Sales Assistant role at River Island, wearing a pinstriped tailored suit and white blouse wouldn’t really ‘match’ River Islands brand identity. Put a marketing head on and ‘know your audience’.
This one is simple. Be confident in what you’re wearing, when you look good… you feel good! Who doesn’t love self-confidence in people???♀️
Be the best version of yourself
It really is important to look your best for an interview — appearance is the first thing we notice, in both formal and informal environments. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and look at it from their perspective and don’t forget, it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.Here’s more of my all-time favourite quotes from the best…
“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace
“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” – Miuccua Prada
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.” – Yves Saint Laurent
“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression — there are hints about who you are in what you wear.” – Marc Jacobs
“Elegance is a question of personality, more than one’s clothing.” – Jean-Paul Gaultier
“Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” – Ralph Lauren
“Style is primarily a matter of instinct.” – Bill Blass
Oh, and remember… the most important thing is what you can bring to the company; your skills, personality, experiences, passion, and ambition… but I guess it doesn’t hurt to look fabulous whilst demonstrating all of the above, right?
Hope this helps you think differently about prepping your interview outfit! And if all else fails… ask yourself what Miranda Priestly would like you to wear for an interview (price-tag aside). “Florals? For Spring? Ground-breaking.”
Good luck! Keep a lookout for the next post where I’ll be giving you a breakdown of interview looks, and where to buy…
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