What NOT to wear on an interview

I’ve had to get dressed for my fair share of interviews. I work in a fairly creative field (communications and graphic design) so I’m able to break out of the “MUST WEAR PANTSUITS” model for interviews. I still tend to wear a blazer and either a dress, long pants or a skirt. I suppose I still have a uniform of sorts when going on interviews. I feel regardless of what type of job you’re interviewing for, there are some general rules you should follow about what to wear and what not to wear. Today I’m going to talk about what NOT to wear on an interview. Unless you don’t want the job, then, by all means.

what NOT to wear for an interview

1. If it looks like something you’d wear to prom.

2. If it’s ripped, has holes, or is some kind of denim.

3. Anything short. If you can’t bend over without flashing your panties, save it.

4. General rule- if it’s shorter than an inch above your knees, don’t wear it. Some people are very conservative and that’s not OK in an office environment. (It’s always better to err on the side of caution/conservative until you learn the rules of a specific environment.)

5. Six-inch heels or heels you can’t walk in. Seriously. Just don’t.

6. A wedding dress. I know you want to wear it more than once, but unless you’re working at a wedding dress shop, not a good plan.

7. If it looks like you’re going clubbing or stayed up all night drinking, no.

8. Anything with sheer panels or cutouts. Save that for later.

9. Tops with words or phases on them. It’s great that you love unicorns. But you don’t need your potential employers to know that until you cover your desk with figurines.

10. Anything that resembles lingerie. Unless you’re working as a stripper or a lingerie shop. Then, by all means!

11. Sneakers or flip-flops. Or anything spiked.

Basically you don’t want to look like you’re going to the beach or a party or a wedding. You want to look professional and polished, and it’s possible to do that without sacrificing your own personal style. I usually pick something neutral, like a grey blazer, dark pants, or a black dress. Add something with flair and color, like a printed top or a statement necklace. You want to look comfortable in your outfit and you don’t want to give an interviewer a reason to not invite you back for a second interview. It’s always better to head off to an interview dressed more conservatively. My previous office was casual to the point where the CEO wore sweatpants, except when it came to interviews. If it was an interview day the CEO, directors and managers would dress in suits, dresses, etc. They knew they were presenting themselves as a potential place of employment and also needed to dress the part.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.


The long and the short of an explaination

some favorite outfits
Some of my favorite outfits

Over the past two years I’ve had quite a few of you inquire my whereabouts and make sure I was doing OK. I also promised to give you an explanation of what happened and why I stopped blogging.

My life has changed in many ways in a short amount of time. Most of you know that I lost my dad and subsequently started a new job. That job was a great learning experience, both personally and professionally. I stopped feeling the need to blog my outfits because the dress code there was very open and flexible. The CEO wore sweatpants, as did a handful of other employees. I’ve never been one to wear sweatpants to work and even though it was OK to do so there, I never did. However, I did end up with a uniform of sorts in the form of jeans, t-shirts and cardigans. So that’s what I wore nearly every day. At some point I decided that this type of outfit wasn’t worth documenting, because it wasn’t anything new or exciting. I figured that unless I was showing a variety of outfit types, I, along with readers, would get bored.

I was also faced with a coworker who would consistently question my sartorial choices and make fun of them, to my face, if she deemed them unworthy. For example, I do not wear matching socks very often. No one sees my socks and I always seem to get a hole in one sock, but not both. Rather than get rid of both socks, I keep the good one and wear it with another that doesn’t have a match. I don’t think it’s odd, but she did. I wore a pair of Halloween socks in April and she started informing me how it’s not Halloween and how stupid they looked. She did this in front of other coworkers and made me feel about three inches tall, because they’re socks, yet I felt embarrassed for wearing them. They didn’t affect my ability to do my job, but the fact that they impacted her life so much so that she had to tell me why I looked stupid made me begin to question why I wore them.

On another occasion, this coworker told me that I needed to make sure I “ didn’t look better” than her, as we were going on a presentation together, and I traditionally wear a suit for presentations. After this type of verbal harassment continued on a strangely consistent basis, I was in no mood to take photos of a mediocre outfit I had worn that day.

Around this same time Joe and I began house-hunting and packing up our belongings with the hopes of moving into our very own house before the end of 2012. Then, one week after my 27th birthday, I went into work after putting an offer in on a house and I was told I was being laid off. You’d think with all my newly found free time I’d have time to blog again, right? Not exactly. Now I was wearing yoga pants along with my t-shirts and spending my time applying for new jobs, reading books and sorting out all the stuff Joe and I had hurriedly packed up to move into a house, which we obviously didn’t get because we lost my income.

And that brings us to today. I’m still looking for a full-time gig, and have been applying like a madman. I’d love to be able to showcase my style again, because it’s changed, as have I. I am not pairing insane color combinations together any longer, or wearing bright colors all the time. This week I’ve worn mostly black, grey and white, if you can believe it. My style has become less “WEAR ALL THE THINGS!” and has become much more “how can I look like an almost 30-year-old, while maintaining my sense of self and level of professionalism.” I’ve also started trying to maintain a master list of what I own, so I can choose better items to incorporate. Right now that lives on Pinterest, and is nowhere near an exhaustive list. I’m working on it. I have some plans and ideas to revive my wardrobe, my blog and myself. Hopefully I’ll begin to feel more like myself again, and more like myself than I have in the past two years.


2013 goals


2012 wasn’t my year. Let’s be honest, neither was 2011. I refuse to let 2013 be a failure. I’m not one for resolutions, because I feel like they’re things I think are a good idea for about five minutes, then I kind of get over it (like going to the gym or getting consistent haircuts).

Instead of making a resolution I’ll never follow through I put together some goals that I want to work on this year, and hopefully they will help my outlook on life.

1. Get better organized
I am terrible at organization and terrible at keeping things tidy. TERRIBLE at it. I’d really like to get better organized and use the space Joe and I have more efficiently. I’d also like to streamline the things I own and get rid of clothes, shoes, etc that I don’t wear/use. I feel like it’s more of a clutter issue that I need to combat first, then I can figure out how to better store the crap I’m keeping.

2. Focus on happiness instead of negativity
I didn’t realize how negative I’d become over the past few months until Joe pointed it out to me. Once I realized it, I started to wonder who else had noticed it but didn’t feel like they could tell me, and it made me really sad. I’ve always been more of a happy (albeit cynical) person, but lately everything has just become a big pity party. And frankly I’m sick of it. My life isn’t any worse than anyone else’s and positive, happy things happen everyday. Those are the things I need to focus on. So I’m going to share something every day (maybe via twitter?) that made me happy. If I force myself to think of the positive things it should become second nature, right?

3. Find a job I enjoy
This one might be a little harder to accomplish, but I’ve been searching for a job in general and am hopeful I’ll be able to find something soon. I am also hoping to find something I enjoy doing, regardless of what it is. Who knows, I might really enjoy working at Starbucks!

4. Find a hobby
I really enjoy reading and writing, but these are both things I’ve been neglecting lately. I want something to do that doesn’t involve spending money or staring at a TV. Maybe that’s writing, maybe it’ll involved being super organized, or maybe I’ll become fantastic at painting designs on my nails (don’t count on it, ha!). Whatever it is, I want to find something that’s fun that I enjoy doing.

Do you have any goals or resolutions? Do you stick to yours or find yourself giving in by February?