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What to Wear to an Interview

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Interviews are tough. That's it. Hands down. There is simply no way around the police-like questioning, the perfect behavior, the judgmental eyes and the nervous jokes that we, even the most confident of us, experience when on the spot, showcasing our talents, skills and expertise for an audience that might quite literally hold the keys to our immediate fate.

Once you perfect your cover letter, apply for the position, ace a phone interview, make room in your schedule for an office interview with, you are told, three different team members, what you wear shouldn't be what is stressing you out.

True, true -- first impressions last. What you wear to the interview will be a key determinant in whether you get the job, but only if what you wear isn't what isn't appropriate. Walk in to an interview setting in clothes that showcase your confidence and competence, and what you wear will be forgotten soon after they show you to your new desk.

Now because industries have different standards, and unfortunately this isn't the time or place to talk about some of those industries' workwear inequality policies, it is important that you dress the part for the sector you are working in. This may seem like common knowledge, but the rules differ depending on your line of work, office culture and even area code.

Follow these tips, though, and you're sure to ace the style portion of your interview. So stop stressing about what you'll wear and get to showcasing your talents!

Corporate/Finance

Here, you're better safe than sorry. Always dress more conservative than you think necessary and go for the basics: a white button-down blouse and a black suit. Make sure that everything is well-steamed or dry-cleaned. All you want standing out in the interview is your brain.

Be sure to pull your hair up and out of your face to keep it from being a distraction both to you or the interviewer. Keep your makeup light, accessories to a minimum and always, always wear closed toed heels.
 
To sum up, for a finance interview, keep everything sharp, neutral and streamlined. If you choose to go for a skirt suit, make sure that you never wear a skirt that hits above the knee. The goal here is to let your capabilities shine -- rather than your personality. You can show that once you get the job.

Marketing/PR

For marketing and PR positions, you are fine playing up your fashionable side a bit. You want to emphasize that you know what is new, hot and chic. But, don't overdo it. Keep things professional. Wear something that hits below the knee and keep a fitted dress work-appropriate with a blazer.
 
Use your accessories to play up on your personality and give you a nice icebreaker between multiple interviews with different people in the company. And of course, be sure to bring in your smile to add the final, and the most important, piece to the position: your want for it!

Start-Ups
 
For a start-up culture, like we have here at Shoptiques, it is OK to get a little bit more casual with your interview wear. Start-ups are hot right now and everyone understands that with a start-up comes long working hours with a potentially huge payoff. With those long hours, co-workers become family so personality and the right "fit" within the company culture are key! Your outfit shouldn't be a side-thought, but your personality, your passion and your qualifications are much more important.
 
Go ahead and wear something that you are comfortable in. Most likely, the interview will last a few hours as you meet different people on the team and are put to the test with different tasks.

Of course, be sure that your outfit showcases your personality. If you have an urban style and love wedges, go ahead and bring them in! Talk to your team about them and start building friendships and connections ASAP. Use jewelry and accessories to play up your personality, but don't necessarily have them overrun your look.
 
The key to a good startup interview is knowing the company well, having a vision and showcasing your passion. Your fashion can help to show this, but it doesn't have to.

Whatever you do -- don't wear sweatpants. Seriously -- this has happened.

The Public Sector

For the public sector, be sure to keep things casual, but professional. Don't wear anything that hits above the knee and go for dresses and tops with longer sleeves, even in the hotter summer months. Here, your passion for the position and your vision for what you can bring to a government or a teaching position is key.
 
Keep your accessories minimal, but don't be afraid to have a little fun with it too. Yes, you should keep things conservative, but play around with different prints to showcase your personality in a more subtle way. Again, your smile and how you fit into the already existing culture are big determinants for how you will contribute to the already existing working environment! Be sure to come in with your best foot forward!

Short and Fast Tips

- Opt for hemlines that hit below the knee
- Keep accessories minimal, but unique. An heirloom piece, for example, can be a great talking point and help you to tell more about your family, your responsibility or your travels.
- The more neutral your makeup the better. Studies have shown that when women wear no makeup and too much makeup at work, the way they are received is the same: negatively. Again, no time to go into the anti-feminist aspects of what that says about our culture. Instead we'll save that for the weekends when you have your new job to support your financial freedom.