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Preparing for an interview can be beyond stressful, especially when you really want the job. Many already know the importance of researching the potential employer and anticipating certain questions, but the interview outfit can also make or break your fate. It may sound superficial, but according to Psychological Science, it takes approximately one-tenth of a second to make a good first impression at a job interview. That means to ace your next job interview, you need to come up with the perfect interview outfit. Looking the part is just as significant these days.
What Not To Wear
When putting together the best interview outfit, it's important to know what not to wear. Your outfit may might not be worthy of a glitzy Instagram photo, but your clothes must be professional and put together. That means no wrinkled button-downs, stained t-shirts, or anything that hasn't been washed. That's why it's vital to pick out your outfit in advance.
If you're a nervous sweater, or are taking public transportation, try not to wear something that is going to show signs of perspiration. That shows signs that you're nervous, and your future boss doesn't literally want to see you sweat. Straying away from light colors is a matter of personal choice. Dark colors are more forgiving if you know you're accident prone or have a tendency to spill on yourself.
Keep the Company Dress Code in Mind
Growing up, your parents probably told you you had to wear a suit to an interview, but this is not the golden rule anymore. Try to suss out what the environment is like in the office before your interview. If you're interviewing at one of the big four accounting firms, definitely wear a suit, but if you're interviewing at a startup, then a suit actually might make you stand out in the wrong way.
Rocking a suit when everyone is wearing jeans screams you're not going to fit in with the company. Ladies, it's a bit easier to dodge this rule. Whereas blazers used to seem like a formal piece, now you can really make them casual. I would recommend wearing a skirt or a pair of khakis with a rolled up blazer if the office you are interviewing for is informal. For all of my guys, you can still wear a button-down and pants, but you don't have to wear a suit jacket or tie.
Thoughts On Jewelry
When choosing which pieces of jewelry to wear, go with the motto "less is more." Ladies, all you really have to wear is a nice pair of simple earrings. Just make sure to stay away from anything that is super dangly, colorful, or a pair that would be worn on a night out. You can wear a necklace, but a simple pair of dainty earrings is enough. Definitely stay away from bracelets. Bracelets can be super distracting and the sound of them clinking together will annoy the person that's interviewing you.
Guys, the same goes for you. Stay away from anything that is flashy. Wearing your college fraternity ring isn't going to get you points with the hiring managers. If you know you pledged the same fraternity as the person that's interviewing you, drop that in the convo instead of wearing your regalia.
The ABCs Of Shoes
For guys, it's pretty standard when rocking a pair of shoes. Stay away from anything that you would wear to the gym or the beach. For the ladies, there are more things you shouldn't wear then should. The shoes you would wear on date night, or out with friends are not the same as the shoes you should wear for your interview. You don't necessarily need to wear heels. You can wear a nice simple pair of flats, especially if you can't wear heels.
There's nothing worse than falling while trying to wear a pair of heels you can't walk in. My general rule is to wear an inch lower than you usually would. You don't have to wear kitten heels, but stilettos are a definite no. Also stay away from anything that is flashy, colorful, or brandished with logos. A black or nude shoe is always the safest way to go.
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Allanah Dykes has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Politics from Fairfield University. She started her freelance career in 2016 and has written about how to land a job post-college, internships, and the interviewing process. She has pieces featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, and Popsugar.