Everyone appearing for an interview has to ensure proper attire. While the same adage is true for men, dressing well for an interview assumes slightly different dimensions for women.
For the simple reason that women have lots of choices when it comes to attire. And it’s somewhat natural that an interviewer would expect your dress is befitting the occasion.
Generally for women, choosing the right clothing to wear at an interview can prove stressful. For the simple reason that women have several kinds of dresses. Hence, you might be confused over what to wear and make that killer impact.
If you’re among such women who’ll be appearing for an interview shortly, follow these simple tips that could guide you on interview attire.
Interview Attire For Women – Tips to Dress For Job Interview
The first thing we should bear in mind is that attire doesn’t merely depend upon expensive clothing. Instead, it depends upon lots of other factors. In this article, we’ll discuss some of these and what you can actually wear at an interview.
Consider the Weather
Weather of the season is the first consideration that you should consider while dressing for an interview. Obviously, a blazer or jacket would seem out of sync if your interview is during summer months or cotton clothing during the winter.
Look at formal and smart casual wear that’s trending during any season. This should give you a good idea about what to wear at an interview for making a lasting impression. If wearing a blazer is inevitable, carry one to the interview venue. You can always wear it indoors, if an office or the venue has air-conditioning.
Nevertheless, carrying a blazer for any interview is worth the effort. Regardless of the season, it does create a good impression. In fact, a blazer worn over other clothing can lend you that professional look.
Choose Comfortable Attire
This is the most important factor to consider while selecting what to wear for an interview. Always wear something that makes you comfortable. This means avoiding everything that’s tight fitting or restricts your movement or makes you lose the natural gait and posture.
I’m not implying you wear pajamas for an interview: that would be ludicrous. Yet, find something that’s almost formal or formal and won’t make you feel uneasy when fielding questions from the interviewer.
Simple yet formal cotton clothing with black colors and shades are the best. You can wear a full-sleeved blouse with black or dark cotton trousers. Avoid reds and other jarring colors. I also suggest you shun brown and certain other duller shades since they reek of nervous character and diffidence.
Smart Casuals is in Vogue
And if someone insists that formals are the only way to dress for an interview, think again. A lot of clothing brands- I mean big brands- now have extensive range of casual attire mainly for working women. That’s because an increasing number of employers are now dispensing formal wear in favor of smart casuals.
If you’re seriously considering smart casuals, then visit your nearest boutique to check what would suit an interview. You needn’t buy anything but a mere visit can provide a lot of superb ideas on how to attire smart casual for that impending interview.
Now don’t be unnerved at the prospect of turning up with a chic blouse and skirt or trousers. You can always carry accessories such as shawls, stoles, wraps and scarves to add that serious look to your style.
Actually, carry an accessory that attracts some attention with its design and color. That way, you’ll also be taking away some focus from your main attire.
Study the Job Profile
The best way to dress for an interview is by studying and understanding the job profile. For example, dress in casuals if you’re applying for a work-from-home job but need to appear for an interview. But if you’re going to be working for a financial institution, I would recommend full formal attire.
Understanding the role you’ll play helps prepare well for the interview. Obviously, you can’t bother with formals that would spoil quickly if your job involves a higher level of physical activity such as teaching.
Nor can you go in minis if the work involves customer service. Imagine how you would like to present yourself to your colleagues and customers as well as other persons you’ll be interacting, to decide on what to wear.
Expensive yet Simple
This is a fabulous trick that always works. Dress in simple yet expensive clothes. Why does it work? The reason is simple. Expensive wear is cut and sewn in a special style, unlike cheaper or economical clothing that follows a set pattern.
Expensive clothes are expensive because the fabric they’re made with is finest available in the market. Even an untrained eye can distinguish between the style of expensive clothing and those of typical run-of-the-mill types.
This doesn’t mean you go and splurge on expensive clothes immediately. Instead, you could look at online and offline stores that sell used clothing.
Usually, these stores buy branded wear only. Hence, you would find quite a large selection of such stuff. And it’s possible to trade in some of your old clothing for these.
Go Low on Accessories
There’s an old phrase: “dressed like a Christmas tree.” It refers to overdressing or wearing lots of accessories including trinkets. Regardless of whether you’ll be dressing formal, semi-formal, smart casual or even outright casual, avoid dressing like a Christmas tree at all costs.
Because it imparts a very poor impression to any interviewer. Unless of course you’re applying for a job as Santa Claus or a clown.
Therefore, the best thing to do is wear a smaller pair of earrings that match a slender necklace and a slim bracelet or bangle. Preferably avoid costume jewelry because it looks inexpensive. Instead, try and wear some genuine platinum, gold or silver stuff. Avoid ethnic accessories at all costs.
Wearing Ethnic Dress
Having lived in a multicultural and multiethnic society in the Middle East, I’ve observed that ethnic wear takes away a lot of stress of selecting attire for an interview.
In fact, ethnic wear looks good if you wear it the right way. Remember, every ethnic style also has its own formals and casuals. Therefore, if you’ll be wearing something ethnic, make sure it’s right for the occasion.
At the same time, I’ll caution you that ethnic wear or traditional dresses don’t really go well with a lot of people. That’s because people outside a specific community are somewhat unaware about how to carry about that style of attire.
Hence it makes them appear gawkish and uneasy. If you’re very serious about wearing something from another ethnicity for an interview, make sure you’ve adequate practice in wearing such clothing and are able to carry with ease.
Another vital thing that you need to bear in mind is that you’re dressing for an interview and not some costume party or Halloween. Therefore, consider ethnic sensitivities before you turn up in ethnic wear.
It’s okay to wear ethnic clothes from your land and community but wear those from other cultures only after thorough consideration.
The question of whether or not to wear makeup is something I choose not to answer. That’s because it depends a lot on your personal preferences, skin tone, color and other factors.
While millions of women won’t venture outdoors without makeup, others fastidiously avoid covering up their skin with any sort of artificial embellishments.
Makeup, however expensive or cheap, comes with its own pros and cons. While it can effectively camouflage age lines and wrinkles while lending that fresher look, makeup also boosts the appearance superficially. Anyone can sense you’re wearing one.
And if you choose to shun makeup, there’re equally good chances the interviewer might view you as slovenly or disregardful of your own grooming. Unless they’re able to see the natural beauty in you.
Regardless, the choice of makeup is solely yours and depends on personal preferences, likes and dislikes.
How about Fragrance?
Countless women ask me about wearing fragrance or perfumes to various kinds of occasions. My response is simple: wear a fragrance that’s subtle and doesn’t trigger violent allergies such as sudden sneezing bouts among others.
Surely, you know what could be the outcome of an interview where your perfume triggered allergies in the interviewer and possibly others.
While the perfume should be mild and subtle, meaning one can smell it only in very close proximity, never use one to mask your body odor.
Because fragrance plus a strong body or sweat odor can prove to be a repugnant combination that can cause your disqualification at an interview. Nobody wants smelly staff around unless you’ll be working at a fish market.
Often a good deodorant spray would suffice but take care it’s not used just before the interview.
Handbags Speak Volumes
Clearly handbags are an integral and inseparable part of a woman’s attire. And interviewers know that. Therefore, pay extra attention to the kind of handbag you’ll be carrying to the interview.
A large handbag can indicate you’re careless or have that unmistakable female habit of dumping everything inside, from car keys to lipstick, coins to pills inside. A large and bulky handbag is a telltale sign that you’re unorganized. Worse, it also indicates a tendency to brush everything under the carpet.
Therefore, carry a smart, smaller handbag that matches your dress. A small satchel would fit the need perfectly. Carry your Resume, CV and certificates neatly in a separate file instead of cramming them in a giant handbag.
A small satchel forces you to carry such documents separately, which imparts a superb impression.
Things to Remember
There’re quite a few things a woman needs to remember while dressing for an interview. Main among these is that never attend an interview during workhours at your present job.
That’s because dressing well on any particular day tends to attract undue attention. And not dressing for an interview means you’ll be attending one in attire that’s not really fresh since you wore it at the start of your day.
However, if you’re forced by any reason to attend an interview during workhours at present job, carry a set of dress and wear it discreetly somewhere.
And never appear for an interview if you’re wearing uniforms or carrying an identity tag from your present employer. That’s unacceptable by any standards.
The best way to dress for your interview by getting your attire ready well in advance.
I would also suggest you keep two or three sets of your favorite dresses ready, so that you can wear whatever suits your moods on that specific day. Remember, clothes dictate moods. And moods decide how we interact with others.
Other Dress Basics to Watch
Whether you dress casual, smart casual, semi-formal, formal or even outright ethnic, here’re some dress basics to watch.
First and most important is ensuring your attire doesn’t carry any odors or smells. These may not be evident in your daily life. But stranger can actually smell your clothing when they encounter you for the first time.
Secondly, take care enough to see that your attire doesn’t carry those unmistakable perspiration stains and marks. Underarm sweat that wets a blouse makes you look very shabby and leaves an overall poor impression with interviewers.
And finally, take the help of some other woman to select the attire you’ll wear for an interview. That’s because we don’t see ourselves as others do. Hence, they’re in a better position to guide us about what to wear for an interview.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t spoken about footwear, here’s the reason. You can select the footwear that matches your attire. There’re no hard and fast rules about it, though good footwear leaves a superb impression.
You can select any of the dresses I mention above for the interview, by observing some of the points I’ve listed. That could help better prepare for an interview.