It is a well-known fact that first impressions are everything, and unlike with acquaintances, potential dates etc., at a job interview you only have one chance to make a great first impression. As if mental preparation for a job interview is not mind-bending enough, there is also the added stress of looking the part. Your goal is to look professional enough to get hired (or at least get a second interview), but also to maintain a sense of personal style, because being in an outfit that does not feel like you can make you feel even more uncomfortable and nervous.
In order to put your mind at ease and help you get through the big day, here is what you can do to achieve a look that says ‘I am the person for this job’, yet still reflect your personality.
Professional Is Not Necessarily Bland
As Lou’s mother says in the movie Me Before You: Styles may change love, but smart remains smart. Smart clothes are the backbone of professionalism, but they are often perceived as dull, bland and impersonal.
Yes, there are some ground rules one must follow when it comes to the office dress code, but thanks to many women’s clothing retailers, big and small, the office look has gone through some major makeover. Yes, some things never change – the work-designated part of your closet will always have to have some basic pieces such as a crisp white shirt, or several single-colour shirts and a pair of high-rise, well-tailored pants.
However, there are also new pieces that are professional yet hip. One of them is the gorgeous midi or knee-length full skirt that not only looks elegant and feminine but also work-appropriate. One of the items that has absolutely been stealing the show lately is the vest dress. It is classy, polished and its defined lines are the absolute epitome of sophistication. And of course, let us not forget about the timeless wrap-dress that has made a huge comeback.
Last but certainly not least, is your outerwear. You can never go wrong with a classic trench coat. A couple of quality blazers in neutral colours are also highly advised. A bonus tip in the clothing department – be careful when selecting your colour palette as busy and loud outfits tend to seem unprofessional. Stick to colours and patterns that are not too ‘out there’, and use accessories to emphasize your personal sense of style.
Accessorize Powerfully, Yet Subtly
The accessories department is where you can truly make a personal statement. Pieces that are in style now are not only workplace-friendly but also powerful and elegant; they are pieces that you will love and embrace even outside the office. To that end, say goodbye to chunky plastics and imitation pieces and replace them with golden lockets, subtle silver pendants, discreet rings, platinum charm bracelets, and gorgeous pearl earrings.
As for bags, nothing says elegant and professional like a solid satchel or tote with clear lines and sturdy composition that does not lose its shape (not to mention that they are big enough to accommodate all your things). Feel free to own them in bolder colours; you need something a pinch louder to elevate your outfit.
Finally, we have come to the shoe. Sensible mid-heel oxfords, moccasins, Mary Janes, ballerina flats, and kitten heels are the perfect choices. They are comfortable, polished and practical, and with the right colours and the right details, they can be fun as well.
Now that you are all set as far as your appearance goes, go back to revising those potential interview questions, walk in there with a smile and sky-high confidence and knowledge, and knock them off their feet.