How to Dress for an Interview: From an Intern

Let’s be real- the days of ill-fitting matching pantsuits are over.

But that doesn’t mean anything goes when it comes to interview dressing. As the age-old phrase says, it is important to “dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” That being said, while it is still imperative to look professional and put-together, oftentimes you can afford to be more creative with your look. It can be beneficial to set yourself apart from other potential candidates, if done in a tasteful yet memorable way.

            Though we are firm believers that one can never go wrong in a well-made black pencil skirt or dress, there is certainly more variety to chose from. I have broken down what we at Black Benak believe to be the most important factors when selecting your interview attire:

The way the clothing fits can make or break any amazing outfit. Your clothes should not be too saggy or too seductive. Even a Plain Jane jet-black suit can take your look from professional to provocative in no time if the fit is bad. If finding the perfect fit means going up a size, then so be it.

It is crucial to be comfortable during your interview. Wear shoes that you can actually walk in, a dress or skirt that doesn’t ride up, and a blazer or sweater that fits across the arms and chest-if you choose to wear one. Almost everyone has made one of these mistakes before. For my interview with Black Benak, I wore a fabulous Anna Sui dress and strappy heels, but grabbed the wrong blazer on my way out the door. It wasn’t until I sat down for the interview that I realized my arms were paralyzed in the much too tight -and not the least bit stretchy- material. I spent half the interview wondering if my arms looked huge, if the poor fit was obvious, and if the seams were going to bust and leave me in a weird Larry The Cable Guy-esque cutoff blazer.

Wearing the right color is key. Find out if you have warm or cool tones in your skin, and build an outfit around the coordinating color palette. The right colors can brighten your skin and eyes, while the wrong colors can make you appear washed-out and sick. Sticking with neutrals is a sure way to avoid this problem.

You can add accessories to your outfit, but with limits. A colorful scarf or necklace can quickly perk up an all-black ensemble. If you choose to bring a bag, a timeless color and shape can do you no wrong.

Finally, do some quick research on the company before you show up. You may think an office culture has a casual-cool vibe, but find upon arrival that is not the case. If you are still unsure what to wear or feel you need to purchase a new interview outfit, stores like Anthropologie, Madewell, Ann Taylor Loft, and Banana Republic all have free in-store stylist that will get you on your way quickly and with confidence. Good luck!

Posted on October 10, 2014 .