January 21, 2010

Dress for Success (Part 2)

    Lindsay is our second model.  She is wearing a great gray pant suit that fit her really well.  However, because she's 5'10", off the rack, the pants were too short for her to wear heels with the pants.  We used her as an example of a very low cut blouse, a too large necklace, a distracting headband and flat shoes.  Even though her look is almost entirely appropriate for an office, for an interview she would stand out, and not in a good way.  
    First off, her pants are too short.  When the panelists mentioned it, Lindsay explained that she has had to order all of her pants for suits.  Like many women who aren't "standard sized," whatever that means, she has to have her clothing fit to her.  In her case she has to order her pants long.  For other women it means hemming pants.  Regardless of what the fix is, fitting clothing to you is definitely worth it.  A suit tailored to your measurements is exactly the type of suit you want for an interview.  It may cost more to get a pair of trousers or a skirt hemmed at a tailor, but the finished product, a professionally fit suit that you won't have to worry about during an interview is worth it.       
   If the pants had been long enough, Lindsay would have worn heels.  Which brings us to the second problem with her attire, she's wearing flats.  You don't need 3 inch heels for an interview, but because interviews are formal, a shoe with some heel is expected.  Yes, even if you're as tall as Lindsay.  This actually came up when Lindsay was modeling.  One of our panelists, the judge, asked how tall women felt about heels.  He wasn't sure if they made tall women feel out of place or too intimidating.  Lindsay and the female attorney on the panel both said they were fans of heels on tall women.  I have to agree with them.  Knowing that a woman has enough confidence to wear heels on top of being super tall makes me happy.  I guess I'm living vicariously through tall women, but when I think of a tall woman wearing heels I think of a confident woman who is confident and isn't afraid of intimidating the boys or the other girls.
    The most glaring issue with Lindsay's outfit was her neckline.  Not only was the blouse cut too low, but the large and long necklace drew everyone's attention to that fact.  I'm pretty sure the top would never be office appropriate (unless worn over a button down for example).  However, the necklace could be office appropriate with the right blouse.   Nonetheless, neither of these would work for an interview.  A low cut blouse sends all sorts of wrong messages to an interviewer and the necklace is too distracting.  The reason pearls are almost always recommended is that they are a classic look that match everything and don't call too much attention to themselves.  So rather than showing off your new super funky necklace you found at a thrift store, its best to go for the classic standby of pearls for an interview.  
    Lastly, the headband Lindsay is wearing is too much.  It screams little girl rather than accomplished attorney.  And trust me, you don't want an interviewer thinking you're a little kid during an interview.  A better bet would have been a plain black headband, which is perfectly ok.  What matters is that you look polished and under control of your appearance.  If a headband is what you need to do that, then go for it.  Same with wearing your hair in a bun, french twist or a barrette.      

What do you think about Lindsay's outfit?  Anything you would do differently besides what I pointed out?  Is what she's wearing appropriate for an interview your field?  How about for a normal workday?  

Thank you Lindsay!  

1 comment:

La Historiadora de Moda said...

A big no on the headband for interviews.

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