132 What to Wear: Job Interviews

After being quizzed on what to wear for a job interview by a friend, and after facing that very same difficulty myself, I have compiled a collection of 4 looks for job interviews of varying levels of formality. I must disclaim two things: (1) these are assuming you are a fresh graduate, looking to intern or do simple admin jobs: this (at least, according to my mother) affects the level of formality that is in turn expected of you; (2) I am not an expert by any means. If you somehow have the advice of a style expert at hand, who is very familiar with etiquette at the workplace, by all means discard this guide, and tell me what you find out!

I myself went for a job interview a few weeks ago, and successfully landed an internship at an e-commerce firm which sells clothes. I will not reveal its name yet as I somehow don't feel it's right at this juncture, but suffice to say it has been featured here before and I am a big fan, so I am very excited to start work come the new year! My work will generally be learning all I can, but from my talk with the founder I can surmise it will comprise marketing, graphic design, writing, and other bits and bobs; all of which I love, of course.

What I wore: a grey cotton 3/4-sleeve top, my white Melanie skirt from Missypixie (reviewed here), a pair of white canvas loafers from H&M (bought at $5 and then worn all over Chiangmai on my recently concluded holiday-- what a steal! though it is right now very grubby and needs a scrub), and my much loved Kenix clutch, also from Missypixie. Kenix is cobalt blue, and hence served as my pop of colour in an otherwise greyscale outfit. As you can see, I've pretty much stuck to the plan with the second set above, 'Just Popping By', except reversing white for black. I think it's a pretty fool-proof look for someone just out of school!

Okay, just a few general tips, if you're completely clueless (this serves for general day-to-day 'WHAT DO I WEAR' conundrums, too):
  1. Find out your body type, and Google for what flatters you most. This is important, as it helps you carry yourself better with more poise and confidence. They say looks don't matter, but they certainly help cement a good first impression. Right off the top of my head, high-waisted skirts that hit one or two inches above the knee are good for hourglass or pear shapes with thick thighs. 
  2. Google is your best friend. This works in any case. Be resourceful! If it doesn't give you answers, it will at least give you a clue as to what to expect, or give you a nudge in the right direction to figure things out for yourself. Goes for 'what does smart casual mean', 'what does XX company do', 'what to expect at an interview', etc. etc. 
  3. Look at the right people. Not the competition, but those who have already landed the job! That's who you want to emulate. Hence, if all the people working at the firm you're applying to wear buttoned-up shirts and pencil skirts (as they do in law firms), you should expect to meet that level of formality if you land the job too. Then again, do take note of seniority: as an intern, you do not need to be as dressed up as, say, the partners of the company, though you still do need to take into account that as an employee you will be representing the firm. 
  4. Stock up on good basics. Light shopping before the interview is good if you have just graduated and have zilch workwear, even those you can pinch from your parents. Just one set of separates (a button-up blouse in a solid colour and soft material, and a flattering pair of trousers/skirt) will do until you land your job. Then do your research and fill your closet with things than can work both in and out of the office. When I went for my internship interview, the girls who weren't at the forefront of customer service were basically wearing shorts as they edited spreads, etc. So I haven't been busying myself with formal wear, but have gotten myself clean ballet flats and low-heeled sandals that will look presentable, but not too formal. 
  5. When in doubt, wear a white button-up blouse. Google (or search your wardrobe) for what shade of white works best for you. For me, it's a very, very light cream: just a tinge of off-white. Roll up your sleeves and undo a button if everyone around you looks super casual; cuff your sleeves at your wrists and button up all the way if everyone else (at the workplace) is doing so. Such blouses also go with jeans (preferably straight-leg, to mimic a trouser) or flippy skirts (once again, about two inches above the knee, nothing too short) well when you don't want to be too formal. 
I keep emphasizing formality, but really it's all about appropriateness. Keep things appropriate for your age and your target audience. Keep silhouettes clean and simple, and stay away from anything overtly trendy: fringed bags, studded collars, and the like. Then again, this could be my classic preferences talking...

To further illustrate my point, here're two pictures of items I own and love, and two paragraphs of me blathering on about why I love them:
Clutch: Missypixie 'Kenix'
At the most I've pushed it, Kenix can fit: passport | cardigan | book | pen, plasters, hair ties | valuables (iPod, wallet, phone | water bottle, for travelling; or: cardigan | umbrella | pen, etc | valuables, and, I'm sure, even more. Plus its sling can be adjusted or even removed for a night out! I sound like I'm selling this, but really I'm not; I just love it that much, and am tempted to buy the other colour (cream) and/or the same colour to hoard and keep forever. I find myself dressing in blues just so I can carry this out!
Shoes: Charles & Keith (scores at the outlet store in Anchorpoint Mall today!)
I found these two beauties for $19.90 each. Which is amazing, because (1) they usually cost twice that much; (2) these actually fit my humongously huge feet; (3) they have 2 inch block heels, which are so rare to find! My only quibble is that these seem to be factory discards, as the anti-slip stickers on the soles seem more bubble wrap than anti-slip. Hopefully with prolonged wear they will be better! :) I've loved the shoes on the left since I saw them on Drea Chong way back in August, and then on Cleo in November. I even emailed Charles & Keith to ask about them, but got no reply, and hunted physical stores to no avail. Seems like providence was waiting for this very moment to deliver these babies at a steal! :)

Okay, very chunky post, sorry sorry sorry, verbal diarrhea is one of my key problems. Hope this post has helped anyone who needed it! :)

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