Dress to Impress

I like to dress up. However, I am more comfortable in my denim skirts and sweatshirts – who isn’t? ( I do miss wearing jeans, they were the most comfortable piece of clothing ever. Sigh).

I will never forget, I once went to a meeting wearing a suit – my first meeting with the company, I wanted to impress – and everyone else there was in tee shirts and jeans or khakis. I felt horribly overdressed in my power suit and heels.

I am once again seeking employment opportunities – particularly in the social media field, but open to other avenues – and will hopefully be interviewing for a few positions soon.

How do I dress to impress, without totally over or under doing it? Can one show up to an interview in office-casual clothes? Or is it best to suit-up (thanks, Barney) every time?

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31 Comments

  1. Amy Jacobs says:

    no jeans on an interview unles you are working in a camp.

    you don’t have to go the whole suit route, a shabbos afternoon outfit will work, or a weekday dress.

  2. fncmullin says:

    Dress up. Doesn’t need to be your dressiest suit but you should look nicer than going to lunch with your friends. I work in clothing sales, appearance matters a ton, we’re allowed to wear jeans/denim at work but I’d never hire anyone who showed up to the interview in jeans. An interview is about presenting your best self, not your casual comfy self.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      It IS all about presentation, isn’t it? At an interview one is really selling oneself so the packaging is important too.

      • fncmullin says:

        Exactly. A dress with a cardigan or a skirt, blouse and sweater are really all that’s necessary. Interviewing in a suit is necessary for some positions. It’s all about knowing the corporate culture. I’d never interview at a place like Deloitte in anything less than a suit and heels because that’s the company standard. My current job meant that I interviewed in conservative but fashionable clothes. In fact, 90% of the time interviewing for a retail job in a suit and heels makes you look unprepared. When I worked at an ad agency dress pants and a sweater were the interview norm.

  3. Emily says:

    I’m a fan of the skirt/sweater set. Dressy enough to show you’re serious but not suited out. But, the biggest thing is knowing your audience. I’ve been on interviews (at ad agencies) where jeans/blazer was as dressed up as I needed to go. Good luck!

  4. Fashion-isha says:

    There is no reason you need to fit into either ‘box’. I definitely would NOT go in a denim skirt but there’s no reason to wear a full blown suit either. There are so many fun and creative ways to get dressed ‘up’ and feel great about yourself without over doing it and still being comfortable. I would suggest a nice pencils skirt, possibly a button down or kiki riki and a cardigan in a fun and bright color like coral or yellow. Add a neutral belt and a great necklace and you’ll feel professionally dressed, but not stiff. If color is not your thing than mixing grey and beige is super sophisticated way to move out of the black and navy blue ‘box’ and still be taken seriously!

    Good luck and please take pictures!!
    xo
    Sharon
    http://www.fashion-isha.com/

  5. mrsmelissasg says:

    The rule of thumb that I was taught is to dress one step more formal than what the employees wear. Now, thats a bit easier said than done obviously if you don’t know anyone who works there you won’t know the attire of the company but I’ve found I’m normally able to gauge it pretty close.
    If I’m interviewing somewhere which seems business casual, I go business. If it is casual, I go business casual. (If I ever interviewed somewhere with straight up business attire I’d be in trouble because while I own a lot of blazers, I do not own a single power suit.)

    • HSaboMilner says:

      I feel like wearing a power suit does not give any idea of who I am – the funky female with a dash of moxy…. i think business casual seems to be a win win.

      • mrsmelissasg says:

        You and your orthofoxy self will rock it out. I have faith.
        Try like what Sharon mentioned – the pencil skirt, shell/button down, with cardi (or blazer if its a more formal setting) and cute accessories. (As you may recall from Talia on Purim, thats pretty much what I wear every day. Only I wear mostly a-lines b/c pencils are hard to find long enough.)

        • HSaboMilner says:

          methinks I have a shopping trip in my future – I have hardly an accessories… what are three or four pieces you would suggest to have as basics?

          • mrsmelissasg says:

            Top three: short somewhat chunky necklace (but not choker length. like, rest on our shell but above a v-neck length), long necklace (chunky or simple), skinny belt – in metallics so they are the most interchangeable. (A lot of ppl would say something about a bracelet, but I hate them as someone who is always typing something or other.)

  6. Stella says:

    i used to wear dresses to work all the time

  7. Stella says:

    definitely a nice shabbos outfit is good enough for most places. depends on the company. if in NYC, probably a skirt suit

  8. Fashion-isha says:

    Go to my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/fashionisha and go through some of my divine and refined albums to get some creative ideas!!

  9. Hadassah, I think this time of year especially (Spring) you can wear a dress with a cardigan to an interview in pretty colors. If you want to go for hot pink (and I love color myself, so I understand 100%), mute it a little bit by wearing a cardigan or kiki riki in a softer tone. I don’t think heels are necessary, even when wearing a suit, as long as your shoes are smart and not scuffed. FTR, when I worked at KPMG in London (before they went business casual) I wore suits with flats, never heels almost daily.

  10. bedrestrants says:

    I personally think the suit is passe unless you’re interviewing for a very conservative type job ie: lawyer or accountant. I also diasgree with a cardigan being professional. I can’t believe that noone has suggested the deconstructed suit ie: a really great blazer with a pencil skirt and blouse or fun top. I like to take a staple ie a great well cut blazer and use my accessories, and maybe my top to bring color in. Being in a creative field you have a little but more leeway and besides one of the best indicators of who a person is, is what they wear.

    Keeping that in mind don’t get stuck in a boring suit rut. break out of the stuffy box and allow yourself to shine.

  11. bedrestrants says:

    I think that the suit is passe for interviews unless you’re interviewing in a very conservative field like say lawyer or accountant. I agree that a great dress in small print with a cardigan can be a great option, but I think a cardigan skirt combo is unprofessional for an interview.

    I’m much more a fan of what I call a deconstructed suit, which is a great tailored blazer with a pencil or a a-line skirt. It breaks up the stuffiness of a traditionally matchy-matchy suit, while still looking put together. I also think color is totally fine even pink. You’re in a creative field they want to see that represented in you. In fact I have a pink ralph lauren blazer and there’s nothing unproffessional about it.

  12. Rachel says:

    You can never go wrong with a suit but u can go wrong in casual clothing. Especially suits are now coming back in style… When you apply for a job, they wanna see you as a serious, responsible person, which I think a suity image portrays rather than looking “cool”. Good luck!

  13. Rivkah T says:

    You’ve got some great advice here. I just want to note that hot pink is in, and it goes great with coral. I have a cardi from Macy’s in these colors that I wear with a black shell and skirt (my wardrobe is limited, I need skirts!). You don’t need a sweater set (just look at Michelle Obama).

  14. Ya Know says:

    No more Joy of Kosher? Good Luck!

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