Ask Team KULALA: How Should I Dress For An Interview?
If you need a visual, we'd say somewhere between pre-makeover Andy Sachs and post-makeover Andy Sachs. But really, confidence isn't so overrated after all.| April 30, 2018
A new season brings new opportunities and for some of you, it could mean a new career path. That first interview is daunting for most and landing one is hardly the battle won. You need to arm yourself with facts and questions, you need to anticipate what you might be asked and you have to watch your body language. Finally, you need to dress for and look the part, the final piece of the armour. There isn’t a one-size-fit-all solution to this, but if left to us – and in response to a question from a reader – here’s how we would go about it.
You probably spent the night thinking up interview questions and practicing your responses, which means little to no sleep at all. Mornings like these, all-in-one pieces like jumpsuits settle the outfit problem in no time. If it’s a long, flare leg, even better – you don’t really have to think about the shoes. We say go with a platform that you’re comfortable with. Boilersuits which are typically quite casual can be interview-appropriate as well if you match them to heeled boots with a pointed toe.
When one thinks office, the pencil skirt comes to mind. Look, no shade on the pencil skirt, but they’re almost too common. Too expected. Too stiff. To up the ante, go for one that is high-waisted and goes past the knees a little so that it flatters your figure. Then, try to go for prints or colours outside of black. Consider a sporty side stripe, checks, buttons, monograms, belts or even a slit (just make sure it isn’t too high). We show you the many ways to wear a pencil skirt here.
The button-down shirt is an interview classic. In an interview setting, they’ll go with anything from high-waisted cigarette pants to cropped jeans to pencil skirts. Blue and white are choices that will stick with you for a long, long time, but if you want a little more detail, think about cold-shoulders, pussy bows and exaggerated sleeves.
Yet another classic, but so many ways to spin it. Over a simple slip dress, cigarette jeans, straight leg black pants, culottes, even a pleated midi skirt á la Celine Spring 2018. Compared to short blazers, we recommend a longer one with a boxier fit. A more borrowed-from-the-boys look. If you do prefer something fitted and shorter, think about pairing it with long, flare-legged pants. See how to style a boxy blazer here.
What’s up, fancy pants? Don’t limit yourself to black cigarette pants. Fancy pants – printed, wide-legged, coloured, boxy fits, paper-bag waists, belted – are very much like jumpsuits in that they do all the talking, so you can fuss less about the rest of your look. Depending on your prospective workplace, you may even wear it with a t-shirt, though lightweight turtlenecks are always a safe bet. (Uniqlo is a great for these.) Want to up the ante even more? We show you five ways to pair big pants with small bags here – just remember not to leave your important documents behind.
The accessories matter as well: it shouldn’t be that one bag or shoe that you’ve worn to death. Interviewers see good organisational skills as an asset, so the little things count. For instance, stuff should not be falling out of your bag. Avoid flat, open-toe shoes as it looks too casual and informal. Sneakers might work, but that depends on the company culture. Regardless of what you feel about heels, they do give you a boost in the way you stand and hence, carry yourself. Don’t like them? Go for a mid-heel, simple boots or loafers or oxfords with slight elevation.
Ultimately, while the type of job has a part to play in determining what you will wear, an outfit that you feel comfortable and confident in is just as important, if not more. Think about what you want to project and pieces that help you with that. Then, breathe, step through those doors and conquer.
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