Interviews, from beginning to end, are tricky. Throughout law school, I’ve been to a lot of interviews and meetings with potential employers. With the help of school seminars, informational interview advice, and recommendations from those with more experience, I’d like to think I learned some essential “do’s” and “don’ts” about interview attire. My advice is targeted for professional positions (read: conservative), and if you’re interviewing with Vogue, you probably already know the dress code is quite different. The secret to a perfect interview presentation is simplicity - the less items in your outfit, the least likely you are to make a fashion mistake.
Do wear neutral colors like beige, grey, black, and dark navy.
Do find a well-fitting suit or dress even if it costs a bit more - I only have about four pieces that I rotate for interviews (it’s a smart investment!).
Don’t pick suits with distracting frills or details or bows or cut-outs or strange looking lapels.
Don’t wear platform heels or colorful heels - for shoes, pick a leather, non-patent black (my most comfortable, perfect height shoes are from Payless).
Do wear deodorant (interviews get quite stressful, who knew!) and use a very light, fresh scent.
Do add color to the ensemble with a long lasting lip stain or a thin, pink belt.
Do wear one, and only one, piece of jewelry and pick nondescript, delicate jewelry (I recommend no jewelry at all as these can be distracting in a conservative setting).
Don’t display any logos on your purse, accessories, or clothing - a leather bound padfolio is perfect to carry your resume, business cards, and notepad (the gold detailing adds personality).
Do pick a white, classic blouse with no distracting details (I find these a better, more comfortable fit than a button up)
Don’t wear your hair down, but choose a neutral hair tie and a classic hairstyle (this one is up to you, but my hair tends to shed all over).
Do sport a complementary lip color (a moisturizing balm is best because you’ll be doing a lot of talking).
Don’t over think your outfit - a neutral suit, black shoes, and basic accessories is all you need (simple is the key!)
Do be comfortable and be confident!
As an update to the post, I have noticed many of you searching for informational interview attire and informational interview suits. Informational interviews are no different than a regular interview when it comes to how you present yourself. While many informational interviews may happen in coffee shop, local restaurant, or office conference room, the guidelines remain the same. I recommend wearing a suit for your informational interview (if your interview is during the work week, chances are the person you will be meeting will be dressed in professional attire). And in the worst case scenario that the interviewer is wearing shorts and flip flops, you still present yourself in a professional manner - so, no matter the type of the interview, be sure to dress professionally in a suit. If you wish to be more casual, choose a suit or dress in a grey or navy color (because black pieces tend to appear ultra formal).
If you have any other recommendations for this post or the interview nail polish post, let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add them to this list!