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When you meet someone, the first five minutes usually makes an immediate and lasting impression. When you go for a job interview, the same holds true, only more so. While personality and experience can’t be overlooked, your appearance sets the tone for the whole interview.
A job interview is your time to stand out and shine, so it pays to give careful consideration about what to wear. Don’t worry if you don’t own a pantsuit or skirt ensemble. You can look fabulous and professional – and have the confidence you need to impress your potential boss – with these options:
Black pants are the sophisticated yet comfortable option. Make sure to wear dress pants or slacks, as jeans are not appropriate for this occasion.
A high-waisted or pencil skirt projects a feminine yet classy look. Be sure to keep the length at the knee or below. Short skirts do not look professional, so even if you have great legs, this is not the time to show them off. If you opt for the skirt, be sure to wear nude, tan, or black stockings.
Whether you decide to wear pants or a skirt, the top should also be appropriate and not expose your shoulders. Three-quarter length knit sweaters and blouses will make you look composed and elegant. When wearing a high-waisted skirt, tucking your top into the skirt will give your outfit a dress-like effect.
Down Below. Complement your clothing with the proper closed-toe shoes, such as a basic dark pump. Avoid bright colored shoes and stick to black, beige and brown. When wearing pants, heel height should not be an issue. When wearing a skirt, however, make sure you don’t look like you’re going to a nightclub. You may look great, but sexy heels can distract in an office setting.
The Other Fun Stuff.
Jewelry. If it jingles, don’t wear it! Loud jewelry will distract you and the interviewer. Also, you don’t want to find yourself playing with a long fashionable chain while answering an important question. Short simple pendants, bands and stud earrings work best in an interview setting. If you wear a watch, keep it small and not flashy so that it will not reflect light off the window.
If the job entails working with clients, you need to come across as well groomed and pleasant. Paint your nails a light tone, such as beige, light pink, or the classic French manicure. Avoid bright colors and what’s “in style” for the interview. You can dabble in wild colors after you’ve secured the position.
Perfume and Makeup.
You can wear perfume, but be subtle. The entire office does not need to smell your presence. A light lotion or one to two spritzes is enough. Makeup should be neutral and light-a basic foundation and powder, mascara, and a light lip-gloss is appropriate. Save the heavy eyeliner and red lipstick for after-hours drinks once you get the job.
The Purse. You may want to bring a copy of your resume to the interview. If so, swapping your purse for a solid-colored briefcase will show you are organized and prepared. Again, stay with basic neutral colors. Do not bring designer bags to the interview. No one needs to know about your obsession with Coach or Louis Vuitton.
Posture & Body Language.
Finally, don’t forget about posture and body language. Your posture will give your outfit life, so walk into the room with your head up high, knowing that you look sharp, professional and classy. Once you’ve made a great first impression, listen carefully, answer cautiously, and get that job!
write by JOHNATHAN GIPSON