So we've gone over the 6 things you think people don't notice (but they do), commuting fashion, and the different types of blazers - all good things to know for the business world. But I'd like to take a moment to help out all you ladies that draw blanks when they need to dress for a job interview.
But instead of going over every item that works, here are 5 things I see all the time, that in my unprofessional opinion, don't work.
I can't believe I even have to mention this - never, under any circumstances (I don't care if you're applying at a Fortune 500 company or McDonalds) wear denim to an interview. This including but not limited to: jeans, a denim jacket, a denim skirt, a chambray button-up, a chambray dress, etc. No. Denim.
You're probably thinking, "oh man Suzanne, you're such a square. I am so hip and cool, and I want to show that off in my interview". Yes, I am a square. I am also a square with a very good job and interview experience behind me. And I have been told after securing two different jobs that the outfit I wore helped secure that job. So if you heed one piece of advice from this article, be it this - no denim.
First of all, open-toed shoes are hardly ever appropriate to wear to an interview; the only exception I make for this is a very nice pair of peep-toed shoes in an interview with a very hip and urban company. But I usually err on the side of caution and don't wear open-toed shoes. And I especially don't wear sandals. Even if you paid $500 for a gorgeous pair of Louboutin sandals or whatever - sandals are too casual to ever be worn to a professional interview.
My very wise mother once told me, "always wear shoes with a heel to a business event; it announces your presence as someone not to be trifled with".
3. Anything that could possibly, in any universe, be called "revealing".
Everyone has different standards of what is "revealing". Some girls put on a tank top and jeans and that's about as crazy as it gets - others wear sequin bikinis and furry boots and feel completely comfortable. When it comes to an interview, you need to raise your standards - and this especially applies to all you ample-bosomed women. Do an extra button up, don't wear a low v-neck, and don't wear a loose-necked shirt that gapes away from your chest when you bend over to shake their hand.
4. Bangle bracelets.
Jewelry is one of the key components to creating a well put-together outfit. But there are certain pieces of jewelry that, while they look great, just aren't very practical in real life. Bangle bracelets are one of these things. The last thing you want is for your jingling jangling bangles to be distracting from what you have to say and what you're trying to convey about your personality and professionalism. What I mean is, they're loud and annoying. Don't wear them.
5. A skirt.
A lot of you will probably disagree with me when I suggest not wearing a skirt to an interview. The first reason is that a lot of people aren't quite sure on the appropriate length of a skirt (the answer for an interview is knee length or slightly shorter; your skirt should cover your thighs entirely when you're seated). The second reason is, I see a lot of women fidgeting with their skirt (smoothing it out, pulling it down, making sure it's not tucked anywhere it shouldn't be). But the biggest reason for me is that a skirt is overtly feminine.
Don't get me wrong - I love a skirt as much as the next girl, but there is a time and a place. But when I'm going into an interview, I am walking in confidently with a purposeful stride, a firm handshake, unwavering eye contact and a pair of freshly pressed slacks that show them I mean business.
Take these pointers with a grain of salt, of course - maybe you will walk into an interview tomorrow with a short denim skirt, a low-cut t-shirt, bangle bracelets and flat sandals, and score a CEO job for a Fortune 500 company. Feel free to prove me wrong.
And now, some interview inspiration: