January 29, 2010

Dress For Success (Part 3)

    So the next model is yours truly.  I was put in a brown skirt suit with a pink button down.  The major flaw with this outfit is that it truly did not fit.  The skirt was WAY too long, the jacket was too big, and the button down was too small.  It looked like I was playing dress up.   Had I been able to shop for my own clothes and tried things on, I'm sure it would have worked out, but I didn't have that luxury.  So my recommendation is ALWAYS TRY THINGS ON!!!  If it doesn't fit, its better to find out in the store than on the morning of an important interview or event.
   Assuming I had been able to try things on, I probably would have gone with a smaller sized skirt making it a high waisted pencil skirt.  This would have fixed the length issue, at least somewhat anyway.  As for the jacket, I would have tried on a size smaller and compared the two.  Regardless of which size jacket, I would have to get the sleeves shortened as I have short arms.  As for the button down, there is no remedy other than going up a size.  And even if the shirt fit, I would have a tailor put a pair of snaps between buttons to ensure that there is no gaping.  All of my button downs have these snaps even though they fit.  The reason is that I know that I'll be confident wearing a shirt that just won't gap, ever.   
    The really cool thing about this suit is that it is machine washable.  The saleswoman that came with the clothes told us that the suits really are machine washable and they turn out nicely.  So next time I need a suit, I may just go to Dillard's and try one of these on.  Also, I peaked at the price tag, and they're not terribly expensive (as suits go anyway).  If I remember correctly, I think the skirt + jacket would run about $250.
   A seriously surprising thing was that the panelists were perfectly ok with my dark blue nail polish.  In fact, they didn't even notice it until I pointed it out.  They explained that because of my coloring (ie dark hair, light skin) dark nails didn't draw their attention.  In fact, the female attorney thought it was pretty cool that I was so trendy and could take advantage of that because of my coloring.  What is most remarkable is that The Judge had explained about 5 minutes prior to my modeling that no one should EVER wear black nail polish and then said that my nails were perfectly ok.  That being said, regardless of your coloring or trendiness, do not wear dark colored nail polish to an interview.  Even red might be too much.  I'm a big fan of nude or very light pink nail polish on myself.  This means wearing nail polish that matches your nails so that its not obvious you're wearing it.  The reasoning is this: if you talk with your hands, doing so talking with  with dark nail polish on can get distracting.  Also, wouldn't you question the judgment of someone who came to an interview wearing dark nail polish?  Even though I would think they were trendy or an individual, I also know that because an interview is a formal event, I would definitely question the interviewee's judgment. 
    The subject of my hair didn't come up, but the general words of wisdom from the panelists were to keep your hair out of your face so that the interviewer can look in your eyes and you don't look like a cyclops.  Personally, I tend to wear my hair straight or in a bun or french twist for interviews or other important career type events, but I keep my bangs out of the updo and carefully pin them back in a side sweep.  I do it to keep it all under control and look polished but to make sure that my face isn't completely bare.  I'm not a fan of keeping my face bare of my bangs when its up because I feel like it looks like I'm about to go running, but that's just personal preference.  
How do you feel about showing some individuality in an interview?  Better to express yourself subtly, loudly, or not at all?   

6 comments:

La Historiadora de Moda said...

I think the level of self-expression you can get away with in an interview is strongly correlated with the type of position for which you are interviewing. In academia I say go for subtle.

A-C said...

I think you're right. If you're interviewing with a creative field or attorneys that represent creative clients, then more individuality may be helpful. If you're a boring conservative lawyer, wear fun undies and keep them to yourself. :)

Law Girl said...

I feel you on the boring conservative lawyer look. When I interview I wear a black skirt suit, an oxford shirt in white, pink or blue, stockings, pearls and low black pumps. SNORE.

Now that I'm working I still dress pretty conservative but sometimes I mix things up with a fun necklace or shoes.

As for the hair issue...I usually wear my hair down and straight. BUT I've been told that I have a tendency to play with it so if I'm doing a trial competition or have a really important case it goes up in a ponytail so I can't obsessively tuck it behind my ear!

A-C said...

My interview suit is a dark blue pinstripe skirt suit. I LOVE it! It's dark and power-suit-y, but not as harsh as black. I wear a white button down, pearls, and black shoes with it. As I said, I've worn my hair both down and straight or up in a bun of some kind. The latter is for days when I just didn't have enough time/energy/motivation to iron my hair but still want to look like I've got everything under control.

The ONLY thing in my interview suit that I think I can get away with some individuality is the color of my pearls. I wear freshwater pearls and I have strings in peach, dark pink, light blue, light pink-pearl, brown and lavender. I could wear the dark pink, light pink and brown strands without them looking odd to an interview, because they're still pearls.

Tzoules said...

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Yicke said...

What a big difference there seems to be between the US and Europe...

I'm a lawyer myself and after 4 years on the job, I can say I only wear a suit when:
a) interviewing
b) going to a very important meeting with corporate clients
c) going to a court where you can't wear your toga.

Off course, the fact that most of the time before court, we are completely covered by our long and loose toga, we can get away with a lot. Most of the time, I'm business casual, although I try to look put together.

Suits have been a non-obligation for about 10 years now around here. A lot of female lawyers even wear jeans to the office and to court!

I love my suits, but would hate to wear them everyday, the whole day, especially when just working behind my computer all day, not talking to any clients...

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