Colgate Couture: Cute Shoes. You’re Hired!

Colgate Couture: Cute Shoes. You're Hired!

Emily Johnson

When I think of spring, several things come to mind: longer days with more sunshine, flowers that begin to pop up in surprising places and the springtime uniform that is pastels, florals and trench coats. Unfortunately, spring also comes with the beginning of another season: interviewing season. Not everyone is lucky enough to have secured their summer job or internship by the end of winter. This causes most to scramble around second semester, applying to every opportunity under the sun.

So after sending out dozens of resumes, you finally get an e-mail back asking you to come in for an interview. The next thought on your mind should be, “What am I going to wear?” I’m sure you’ve heard the whole “dress for success” cliché a million times, but the reality is that this statement is true. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is to dress for the job. You’re not going to get hired wearing jeans to a law firm, but don’t you dare show up to a fashion PR interview in a black work suit. It’s not going to happen.

First thing’s first. Do your homework! It’s really important to research the company you’re applying to and familiarize yourself with the office dress code. Are employees wearing pencil skirts and pearls or leather leggings and Louboutins? If at the end of the day you still have no idea what to expect, play it safe. Go for something that’s simple and classic and remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Step two. You’ve completed your research and now it’s time to tackle the perfect outfit. If you’re looking to be in finance or law, take note that these are two of most conservatively dressing fields. Personally, I don’t love the whole suit pant-and-jacket combo, but these jobs are likely to require them. If this is the case for you, consider Theory and J. Crew your new best friends. I have to admit, I am often impressed with how they can make suiting look both professional and fashionable. Opt for a classic jacket with straight leg trousers and simple pumps. Then add in a piece of your personality with a patterned blouse or statement necklace. It’s important to look serious, but who said boring has to be apart of the equation!

For those of you who are interested in more creative industries, you’ll have greater freedom in your interview outfit of choice. Careers such as advertising, entertainment and music tend to dress more casually in the office. However, remember that although jeans might be appropriate for some workdays, they are not okay for any interview. Check out designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg and Tucker for patterned wrap dresses that will impress under a solid cardigan or fitted blazer. Keep it classic with the shoes – nude pumps will always work – and add in some simple jewelry for a chic finish.

The last field, and possibly toughest to plan for, is the fashion industry. You will be interviewing with individuals whose job it is to know clothing inside and out. Take this into account! While you want to impress, the last thing you want to do is overwhelm. Research the designer or PR firm to see what their aesthetic is. Some design houses would prefer a cleaner look, while others will fall over your Givenchy black leather booties. Regardless of the place, it is your job to at least look like you know what you’re doing. Be aware of designers and trends, but please do not wear them from head to toe. I think your best bet would be a classic sheath dress, but make sure to pump up the volume with your shoes and handbag. This is dress to impress after all!

If you can’t find the perfect outfit in your closet, but your funds aren’t ready to hit the stores, don’t panic. The Internet has made it possible to look like a million bucks without spending it. Websites such as BagBorroworSteal.com and RentTheRunway.com allow you to rent everything you will need, from clothing, to handbags and even jewelry. Wow them with the latest Proenza dress or Botkier bag. There’s no reason they have to know your secret! As for hair, makeup,and nails, think clean and simple. Neutral colored makeup is best, and tone down the volume of your hairstyle. The only thing we want your interviewer to be distracted with is how impressive your resume is.

The key to the perfect interview outfit is to dress like the company’s ideal employee, while still maintaining your individual style. You need to be comfortable in your own skin and also confident with the way you look. First impressions do mean a lot, so dress for success and step into your interview with your best foot forward!