How to Transition From Carefree College Clothes to Put-Together Interview Attire

June 22, 2015

We all love the nonexistent college dress code, where you can walk to class in your PJs and no one cares. Or wear your warmest fleece jacket and comfiest leggings multiple days a week. Unfortunately, this carefree dress code doesn’t last forever, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself wearing what other people want you to wear. That starts with your first job interview.

Soon-to-be grads have all kinds of questions about what to wear for first job interviews, so our list of tips should provide a few answers:

1. Suit up. You might not even have a suit in your closet, but it’s always been the popular choice for a first job interview outfit and it’s still your best option. Find a suit in a dark or neutral color like black, navy blue or gray, with a jacket and pants or a knee-length skirt. If you don’t have a suit, create one from the pieces you already have. You’ll still look professional and put-together if you pair a blazer with slacks or a solid-colored pencil skirt.

2. Keep it simple. The chunky earrings and floral print skirt might “wow” your friends at a college party, but they’ll send the wrong message to your potential employer. Instead, go for a low-key look when dressing for the interview. Suits and separates should come in solid colors like blue and black, while earrings and other accessories should be understated. If you want to wear one bold piece, such as a colorful bracelet, that’s fine – just make sure it’s not so bold that it takes the focus away from you.

3. Put your best feet forward. The interviewer probably won’t be looking at your feet, but your shoes can still make or break your appearance. Ballet flats can appear too casual, while spike heels are distracting and may be too suggestive. The best bet for interview shoes is somewhere in the middle with a simple, low heel.
If you don’t already own a pair of classic pumps, buy them now. They’ll go with any outfit when you need to give a more serious impression. While you’ll have plenty of colors to choose from, a neutral tone is an ideal choice — you’ll be able to wear them with a variety of outfits for years to come.

4. Choose appropriate lengths. You work out every day, so of course you want to show off your figure. However, it can work against you if you show off too much during an interview. Sleeveless shirts are fine since you’re wearing it under a jacket, but always be careful of your neckline. Ideally, your skirt should fall below the knee, but just above the knee is acceptable, too.

It’s normal to be nervous about your first job interview, but there’s no need to panic about your outfit. Start with one-of-a-kind items from Dainty Hooligan, and you’ll create a career-ready look in no time. We carry shirts, dresses and other pieces you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, our exchange policy allows you to try a new outfit if the first one doesn’t suit you! Browse our selection today.

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