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Let's Talk Business

By Falaknaz Chranya

Photograph courtesy of Carina Lee

As interview season rolls around, especially for those who are going to their first or second interviews, it’s important to have some insight on what to wear––after all, the saying ‘dress to impress’ does resonate for a reason. Whether you’re going for a job or an internship, in retail or in corporate, there are always some things to be mindful of when it comes to your outfit. I talked to interviewees and interviewers to bring you some perspective on how to dress professionally.

Anusha Kavuru (Questrom ’20) interviewed for UBS, a Hedge Fund, as well as other wealth management fund firms. Keeping it simple, classic and professional is a number one tip when it comes to interview fashion––especially in the corporate world. Kavuru’s experience has been similar as she finds herself falling back on a classic blazer and flats combo. She also likes to wear her hair in a clip because it ensures that she will be less likely to touch her hair. Hence, she won’t look fidgety, and she will look more confident throughout the interview. As for shoes, flat are a great idea too because there is less fear of tripping or falling. Also, professional looks are all about clean lines and tidiness, so shoes like sandals or Converse may not be appropriate in such as setting.

Visual Manager at Brandy Melville Annabelle Welin said that the most important thing at an interview is to make sure to look “on brand” for the respective company. It would be inappropriate, for example, for a Brandy Melville candidate to wear an extremely formal suit or suit combination because the Brandy Melville brand portrays a comfy, casual, ‘stick to the basics’ image. She also says that this is probably one of the most significant differences between interviewing for anything in the fashion industry, like this retail brand, and something in the corporate field.

One specific concept of interview fashion that Anusha and Annabelle both stressed was appropriate attire. Welin says that the most bizarre and unprofessional outfit she ever saw at an interview was on a girl who came in a denim micro-mini-skirt. Apparently, you could even see her underwear when she sat down. It was just not appropriate, said Welin. She suggests that the interviewee should not look like they are about to go out to a party or anything close to that.

Anusha makes sure she is conscious of the cut and covering of her clothing before an interview to avoid this mishap. She makes sure that any top she wears is not too low, there is always something covering her shoulders (a blazer is a great idea if the shirt or dress is sleeveless) and any skirt or dress is well within the knee range. Additionally, she likes to pick dresses and skirts that are made of “stiff material” so that the fabric neither rides up nor sticks tight to her body, but it looks put-together and clean.

There are a few key takeaway points to keep in mind when interviewing for any company. First, dress the part––know the company, and know what they expect from their staff members. Second, anything that will distract the interviewer from your awesome personality and exceptional interview skills will only take away from your success. Therefore, leave at home anything that will make you fidget, fall or fumble! Lastly, dress appropriately––sexy is good, but save it for after office hours. Good luck to everyone interviewing this season!

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