What to Wear to an Interview: The Female Wardrobe

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In terms of what to wear to an interview, men and women have the same rules:

Conservative. Smart. Appropriate.

Here are the suggestions for ladies. (For men, please click here)

1. Stay Conservative

This is the number one rule in any interviews. There are many ways to look good and smart, but wearing few pieces of cloth isn’t one of them. At the very least, don’t show cleavage and red bra straps — it kills your interview immediately if meeting a female partner.

2. Look Smart

So, how do you look sharp? Remember these 3 rules: good fit, good color and good fabric.

For ladies, I would go for a pant suit or a skirt suit, with a blouse.

The Suit

suits-in-80s-1bI generally prefer the skirt unless you feel uncomfortable showing your knees and calves. The suit should have a good cut. This means two things:

  • Fitted to your build: If the clothes are too big, you look sloppy; if too tight, you look intense (and worse, your undergarment shows). Not the type of personalities you want to show to interviewers.
  • In style: please invest in at least 1-2 suits bought within 2 years so the cutting matches with the current style. Never borrow a suit from your mom.

I would also pick a darker color. Unlike the man, I think girls can pull off with a black suit as long as it goes with a blouse with lighter color. If wearing a suit without a blouse, then you may consider charcoal, a darker shade of ash gray, midnight blue, maroon or raw umber depending on your skin color.

The Blouse

A simple design and a light natural color would work for most ladies. I probably wouldn’t go for pure white because it looks austere and unfriendly. A color that is too close to your skin tone isn’t a good choice either. Some girls look fabulous in bright colors so you may consider that, but bear in mind the first rule on conservatism.

Accessories

A pair of good quality stud earrings and possibly a simple necklace can add an air of elegance to your appearance. I would skip the bracelet and anything that dangles. Definitely no ankle bracelet.

For bags, try to stick with a darker and more conservative color. Also, skip your Prada  — if your bag looks more expensive than the female partner’s, not good.

Shoes

Again, conservatism rules. No open toes and super high heels. Anything opposite to CFM pumps. Don’t don’t forget your panty hose for a formal business look. I would bring a pair of extra for long office interviews.

3. Dress Appropriately

In most cases, wear business formal. This applies to career fairs, Meet the Firms, pre-interview dinners and the actual interviews.

In some cases you may be invited to an occasion that is obviously more causal, such as a BBQ lunch at a partner’s home. Then you wear business casual or even casual.

If not sure, always ask the recruiter before hand. If for some reason you are unable to contact her, wear something that looks business formal with the jacket and business casual when without.

Conclusion

If you know you look good, it will instill confidence in you, which will come across in your personality when you interact with interviewers. This is a huge psychological advantage that you should have in your court going into the interview process.

For Your Further Reading

About the Author Stephanie

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