Thursday, January 6, 2011

Interview Attire

(Disclaimer: This entry isn't about teaching. Those of you who prefer the teaching posts should probably move right along...)

In these last few days of copious spare time before school resumes next Monday, I want to make sure that I nail down the last few details about job searching, so that I wouldn't have to worry about it later this month when everythingstartstohappenatonce. One of those details is picking out some appropriate interview outfits -- not an easy/trivial task, mind you! I want to make sure that I would look extra sharp in London, so that in case a school has a hidden interview slot (as they often do... they always hold out, in case someone sparkly comes along at the last second), they would be willing to give me a shot when I approach their interview sign-up table.

So, I went out and got a haircut this week (a mistake, because as it turns out, my hair is shorter and wavier and less manageable now), bought some new high heels (my old ones are broken at the heels part, after I made the unfortunate attempt to walk across the city of Buenos Aires with them on New Year's Eve), and set out to find some new shirts to replace the stained "money" shirt I had worn to some previous interviews. And, curses! After wasting hours at the mall, I decided that the stores here generally lack professional-looking shirts for women, likely because rich Salvadoran women don't generally wear cotton button-down shirts to work. In fact, a vast majority of well-off Salvadoran women don't work at all! Nooooooooo...

(I am very sure that it's a gender bias thing, because those same stores here sell plenty of dress pants and button-down shirts and ties for men!! For women, all they had were sexy, frilly silk shirts and tight jeans to go with, that would definitely not look very professional in an interview setting.)

So, I was back to square one. I came home and jigsaw-pieced together, to the best of my ability, three outfits that would carry me through a long weekend of interviews. In the end, my sister (the style guru) told me to try to handwash again the stains that never came off of my dry-cleaned clothes. I did that in desperation, but we'll see how well that works when the clothes are actually dry tomorrow.

Anyway, that was a very long-winded intro to this question for you ladies: What do you typically wear to an interview? Or, do you think that it matters very little and you just throw on whatever you normally wear to work?

(I find that my best-looking interview clothes come from Ann Taylor. They're so much more expensive than regular work clothes, so I generally keep them in the closet and try not to damage them. But, the material is so great and sturdy; I feel like even if the world started to fall apart in front of me, I would still look cool and collected. Is that silly??)


  1. I confess I'm a traditionalist here-- I always wear a suit for interviews, usually with a sweater or nice top underneath depending on weather (I hate blouses). Not sure if I buy all that advice about "dressing above the job you want" or first impressions, but I figure it can't hurt. Plus it makes me feel smart :)

    Banana Republic was my go-to for a while, but lately I've been disappointed in selection and quality. I have an old suit from The Limited which I love, even though I haven't seen a Limited in a mall in nearly a decade.

  2. I don't like suits but I always wear a jacket/blazer/cardigan to pull the outfit together. I think pants with pointy toe heels looks sharp as long as your pants are long enough. I usually wear solid colors with a little pattern somewhere, lace at the bottom of a cami, a little stripe or something to make it pop. I love jewelry but not too much. I think it's important to dress how you usually dress. It doesn't seem smart to look super dressy for interview if you don't plan on keeping it up.

  3. @grace I have enough trouble buying clothes that look right on me, I can't imagine buying a suit that has two pieces that both have to look right! ;)

    @misscalcul8 I agree with the cardigan/blazer bit, and also the pants with pointy shoes! But, I think you're probably far more fashionable than me normally. :) I'd love to say that on a day-to-day basis I have the time to make my outfits pop! But, that seems to be not as much a priority for me at 6am. :)