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PHOTOS: How to dress for an important interview


The substance of your interview is, of course, key. Your patter, affability and subject knowledge are essential, but arguably your attire will also play a vital role in dictating the final outcome. First impressions are, by definition, instant and it takes seconds for a complete stranger to formulate a positive or negative opinion of you based on your appearance alone.
Knowing what to wear to a job interview is an age-old conundrum. Fashions come and fashions go, but style remains, and, for both formal and informal interviews, there are a few hard and fast rules.
Now, I'm gonna delve a little into fashion blogging a little, so relax and assimilate these fashion tips..
Once upon a time, almost everyone wore business suits to job interviews. However, over the years, our society has become less conservative when it comes to dress code. Certain industries still require dressing conservatively but others have a more collegiate atmosphere and it’s not unusual to find employees wearing shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops to work. You probably don’t need to wear a suit and tie to a job interview at a laid back company, but that doesn’t mean you should dress too casually, either.”
What you wear to your next job interview might be more important than you think. Why? Whether you like it or not, your appearance is the first thing people notice about you–and first impressions are usually formed within the first 30 seconds. Appearance affects hiring decisions and plays a major role. Hiring managers need to be able to visualize you in that position they are trying to fill.
On a job interview, your attire makes a statement about yourself before you even open your mouth. A scuffed shoe, a messy bag, or a low cut shirt can speak volumes. You need to wear your ‘power outfit.’ Have a favourite skirt that always makes you feel great when you wear it? Why not pair that with a blazer? It’s okay to show off your personality through your clothes, as long as you aren’t wearing a lime green mini skirt. Stick to business-professional looks.
Many, if not most hiring managers believe that people who dress appropriately for a job interview are more likely to be successful because they look the part. Conversely, those who dress inappropriately–too informal, for example–may be seen as having a more casual attitude toward work and authority, as well as possessing a lack of understanding of business etiquette. “It doesn’t matter if this is true or not; what matters is that this is the perception of many hiring managers. Make no mistake–you are being judged as soon as you walk into the room and the interviewer has made an initial impression of you in the first few seconds they see you based on how you look. That may not be fair but it is reality in many cases. An interviewer is expecting you to dress appropriately for the interview. If not, you are showing the interviewer that you don’t understand the basics of what it takes to be successful in the workplace. If this is the case, you already have one strike against you.”
Your appearance not only shows that you’re taking the opportunity seriously, that you are eager to make a good impression, and that you’d fit in nicely within the corporate culture; it can also communicate that you have respect for the interviewer. About 80% of job candidates get it right; 20% don’t. “Some dress on the dumpy or casual side, while others are too made up.”
Other common mistakes: Skirts that are too short or tight, too much cleavage, scuffed shoes, excessive perfume or makeup, “or looking like you walked off the set of Working Girl circa 1985,” #Lol.
The most important thing you bring to an interview is confidence. What you wear and how you wear it helps convey that. If you aren’t comfortable in your outfit – that will come across in an interview.”
Ferguson Hodges says for many people, their “dress for success” training started with their parents, “but now, due to the state of the economy, people are so busy and are crunched to find a job, that they are not taking the time to get trained on the appropriate dress for interviewing.”
Why else might they fail to dress appropriately? Lack of interviewing experience, lack of knowledge, lack of common sense, and lack of research, Teach says. “But there really is no excuse for not dressing appropriately for a job interview.”
Another reason a job candidate might have difficulty determining what’s appropriate: The days of the “interview uniform” are over, Williams says. As mentioned earlier, a suit isn’t always the right thing to wear anymore.
The workplace has changed in leaps and bounds in the last 15 years, she says. Start-ups and tech companies have embraced a much more casual approach to what is appropriate at the office. It’s imperative to check out the office attire prior to showing up for the interview. It’s another bit of research that you can arm yourself with to give you an edge. If everyone at the office is wearing shorts and a T-Shirt and you arrive in a three-piece dark suit, you’ll be out of place and won’t fit in. Half the battle in interviewing is proving that you belong and can be part of the team.
Strong says if you’re interviewing at company with a most casual dress code, dress as if you were going to a dinner party on a Saturday night. “When in doubt, bring a jacket and carry it with you. You can throw it on to formalize and leave it off to be more casual.”
There's no room for experimentation in your interview wardrobe, so here's a guide to make sure you choose the winning outfit for the job you're applying for.

The formal interview
You should be aspiring to dress one notch above what you would normally consider suitable for work. And that of course means the job that you're interviewing for. You could hang around the car park at clocking off time to get a clear indication of what people are wearing, but as a general rule of thumb, for both men and women, it's going to be a suit.
Suits never go out of fashion. There's always some rock star or hell-raising actor sporting a two (or three) piece on the front page somewhere. A particular trend of the moment appears to be, what I like to call the shiny suit. These are made of a cloth that looks like it could coat a frying pan and, while it's perfectly acceptable for a wedding or a nightclub, it should not be attempted for a job interview – unless that interview happens to be for a boy band.

 

Women

 

You have the choice of trousers or skirt. The rule with a skirt is that the hemline should be no more than one biro length above the knee. You can't go far wrong with black. Black is the new black after all. Navy, brown and, in the summer, a lighter plain colour are also perfectly fine.
Patterns should be avoided. Add a splash of colour with a scarf, but don't get too adventurous with the shoes. Keep heels at a sensible height. Shoes can be the female equivalent of the shiny suit. Going for a plain blouse or one with a simple stripe is the safest option.

Men

 

Dark, sober colours are always good and cotton wins over linen, even in the summer – linen creases ridiculously easily. Shoes should be brown or black – black with a black, grey or blue suit, brown with a brown or blue suit. Avoid mixing black and brown and always go for leather, not suede.
Similarly, avoid garish patterns on ties that can distract an interviewer. Ideally the tie will complement the whole ensemble, so it should be matched with the shirt as well as the suit. It's always easiest to go with a plain, white shirt and a non-patterned, single-coloured tie. Not one that features Captain America or Homer Simpson. The same applies to your socks and yes, the interviewer will notice.

Business casual

Some companies like to test your ability to interpret fashion etiquette by setting a business casual dress code. For both men and women, casual trousers and blazers can be mixed and matched, ties dispensed with and even shoes can be less formal. But if it seems confusing, just follow these rules:
No jeans. No trainers. No T-shirts. Business casual – the clue's in the title.
In the final analysis, if you look great, you'll feel great and if you feel great, there will be a much higher chance of you storming your interview. Whatever you decide to wear, I would recommend that you start with a fairly safe, uncomplicated canvas and add a splash, but no more, of your own personality with a well-chosen accessory.
If you get the chance to try on your outfit a couple of days in advance, you will be able to get any dry cleaning done and come up with a contingency should something either not fit, or have a rip or hole in it.
And my own personal bug bear – make sure your shoes are polished.
Goodluck!!
photo credits 

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