Wardrobe Essentials for Nailing That Interview

Wardrobe Essentials for Nailing That Interview

Amanda Light
We've all heard the saying "Dress for the job you want." Though it's meant to encourage you to dress above and beyond what your position considers professional, it can also be applied to the interview process. When building a wardrobe for job interviews-and the job you're interviewing for-you want to find key pieces that impress your future employer but remain true to your personal style.

Interviewing is different now than it has been in the past. It may not be necessary to buy a full tailored suit if you're looking to be hired in a creative field. It's up to you to gauge how formal you will need to be in an interview based on what type of job you're applying for. However, we've listed some super-versatile, career wardrobe must-haves that can be styled for a variety of careers.

Dress Pants: This may seem obvious, but there are so many looks that can start with a dress pant. From classic black to a pair of business-casual skinny cords, find a comfortable pair in a flattering cut and start building your outfit around them. Dress them up with a blazer for a traditional office position, or pair them with a colorful blouse for a more creative role. For less formal careers or internships, you may find that a simple pair of khakis and a collared shirt is all you need.

Button-Down Shirt: Whether crisp and white or printed with a colorful pattern, a button-down shirt comes in handy for almost any job interview. This may be a conventional choice as far as your work wardrobe is concerned, but it will ensure that you're prepared for an interview and any meeting you may have while on the job. It pairs with just about everything-use it to complete a full suit, dress up colored denim pants or balance out a trendy skirt.

Tailored Blazer: A fitted jacket or suit blazer will be one of the best investments you can make for your professional wardrobe. Picking a classic neutral color such as black, grey or navy will ensure your blazer works well with a lot of other things in your closet. Alternatively, you can opt for a bold color to add your signature flair to a traditional outfit. Consider adding your blazer over a patterned sheath dress and heels or pairing it with dress pants in a similar color for a makeshift suit. A blazer also pairs perfectly with denim for casual Friday or a nice dinner out-it's that good!

Functional Shoes and Accessories: You may not think that your shoes and accessories have any bearing on the impression you make with a potential employer, but you'd be wrong. Carrying an old backpack or wearing ratty sneakers will throw off your professional look. Instead, find a versatile pair of dress shoes that are also comfortable enough to walk in. When looking for the perfect interview bag, consider what you'll need to be carrying. A sleek messenger, roomy tote or all-in-one briefcase in a professional color can ensure you've got space for your resumes, laptop and anything else you may need to bring along.

Confidence: This is arguably the most important wardrobe essential when headed into an interview. When you look good, you feel good. Being comfortable with what you're wearing encourages you to be confident in your credentials, your skills and your ability to do the job will bring you a favorable outcome in the workplace. Any potential employer will be impressed with your "certain something" and hire you for looking great and emanating confidence.

When it comes to nailing an interview, it's up to you to make that great first impression. Taking time and care when selecting your attire will ensure that you're making the best choice and setting yourself up for success.

Good luck!

Amanda Light has had her share of job interviews, and she provides advice on choosing an outfit that will give you the first impression you need to land the job. Amanda writes for her blog, Prim and Propah, and for thredUP, an online and offline thrift store that offers a large selection of women’s clothing and accessories.

Career Topics