If you're reading this, chances are that you have a pretty big day coming up on your calendar. Preparing for an interview can be challenging, time-consuming, and exhausting. Not only do you have to think of any and every question that your future employer could potentially ask you, but you also have to plan out an outfit that leaves a great first impression. Your outfit actually serves as much more than just a first impression. Studies show that what you wear affects how you feel, which is why the outfit you wear to your interview needs to pack a huge style punch.
The last thing we want you to have to worry about on the day of your interview is what you're going to wear. So, this style guide is full of tips that will help you determine the best interview look for you and the job you're applying for. Whether your interview is in person or over a zoom call, you'll definitely leave a lasting impression with these office-appropriate looks. We have the style portion of your interview covered so that you can focus on preparing and becoming your best self for the job. So, grab a notebook because these are style tips that you'll want to keep forever.
Getting to Know the Workplace Wardrobe
Before you start styling plus-size professional clothing for your interview, it would be beneficial to do some research on the environment of your future workplace and how employees usually dress. Don't get us wrong. You can always go with a more formal look for any interview, but sometimes it will make you feel more comfortable to dress similarly to the other employees. And you definitely don't want to show up to an interview under dressed.
If you feel comfortable doing it, you can always ask the hiring manager or the person who is arranging your interview about the tone of the interview and the office dress code. Many hiring managers will tell you before your interview whether or not the office is a more formal or business casual setting.
In this style guide, we will include outfits for both occasions—whether you're visiting an office that has a more business casual vibe or an environment that has a strict dress code. Doing research on the office environment could really help you create an outfit that will make you look like you already belong, and that will, in turn, boost your confidence.
Stick to the Basics
If you're the kind of fashionista who loves to make a statement, you may want to take a more reserved approach for your interview look. Sticking to neutral or black color schemes will ensure that you have an interview look that isn't too distracting, but which will still make you feel confident. Plus, the more neutral, work-appropriate pieces you have will mean that you'll be able to create endless looks once you get the job!
Black is a power color, and it could make a really positive statement and impression during your interview. In fact, if you want a sure-fire interview outfit that will be both appropriate and sharp at the same time, you can't go wrong with an all-black outfit. However, if you're interviewing in an environment where your personal style is important—for example, being a fashion editor at a magazine—you'll want to wear something that conveys your personal style and also makes you stand out.
If you're interviewing for a position like this, you'll want to stick to staples that you can't go wrong with—like a black blazer and a pair of fitted tuxedo pants. But you can elevate this outfit just a touch to show your personal style by adding a pair of hot pink pumps or prioritizing a blazer that has satin lapels or a tuxedo pant that has a stripe down the side. There are little ways that you can show your personal style without being too over-the-top.
Let’s Talk Shoes
While your shoes may be an afterthought when you think about creating an interview outfit, they're definitely important. You could have the sharpest look in the room, but your shoes have the potential to make or break your outfit. To ensure that any interview outfit you put together looks great, let's go over some possible shoe options.
- Close-Toed – You are going to want to wear close-toed shoes no matter which job interview you’re attending. Whether it’s a business casual environment or a formal office, open-toed heels or sandals are usually a little too informal for an interview, even if the rest of the office is wearing them.
- Appropriate Heels – When we say appropriate heels, it may not be what you think. We're talking specifically about the heel height and your level of comfort walking in these heels. Of course, you want to come across as confident as possible in any interview, so make sure no matter what heel you wear, it's a heel you feel comfortable walking in. If you're wearing something you feel wobbly or unsure in, it will show, and you could put your confidence at risk. With that being said, even if you do feel comfortable walking in 5-inch heels, they may not be the most work-appropriate gear.
- Flats – You really can't go wrong with flats for any occasion. If this is a shoe that you feel most comfortable in, make sure to keep a couple different styles on hand so you can find a pair that goes perfectly with your outfit.
How to Accessorize for an Interview
Unless you're interviewing at a fashion magazine or for a fashion- or style-related position where designer pieces and flashy jewelry may get you far, you'll want to keep accessories down to a minimum. Less is more, especially when you're going for a sharp and sleek look.
Another important part of accessorizing for an interview is the handbag you decide to bring along. Instead of wearing your everyday purse to the interview, consider getting a laptop bag or a minimalist handbag that isn't too flashy, but which also looks sharp. Your whole look from head to toe needs to look neat and polished, and your handbag should follow suit.
Powerful Interview Outfits
Now that we have some of the basics down, let's jump to the outfits. You can copy and paste these outfits right into your life or you can put your own spin on each look. Remember, the most important style advice we could give you is to wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in. We like to say that it's rarely about the outfit; it's always about who is wearing it!
1. Pant Suits
We're not talking about your grandma's pant suit. These office staples have evolved to reflect the style of the modern woman, and, today, you'll find color-coordinating sets or all-black suits that give you a sleek and sharp look. To find a pant suit look that works best for you and every occasion, stick to darker, neutral colors like black and gray. If you feel like the pants suit is too bland or one-dimensional, you can always add a pop of color with a statement blouse or with your shoes.
2. The Statement Blouse
If you're looking to leave a lasting impression, and you're interviewing for a job that requires you to show off your personal style, you'll want to focus your attention on plus-size blouses. You can keep your pants or skirt pretty simple and monochromatic, and then pack the style punch with a bold printed blouse or a top that has intricate details like a neck bow-tie or emphasized sleeves. Tuck this blouse into a high-waisted skirt or your favorite pair of tuxedo pants for a polished look.
You can also add a blazer to this look if you want the blouse to be a little bit more understated. Make sure the color of the blazer ties in well with the top, your bottoms, and your shoes. You don't want too many colors or different shades clashing at once.
3. A Blazer and Jeans
If you're interviewing at a more casual office space—for a customer service position at your favorite restaurant or at a tech startup—and you know the office usually dresses more business casual, you could wear a sleek pair of jeans, a blazer, and your favorite blouse underneath. For the jeans, you'll want to stick with a darker wash, as these usually look more professional, and you will want to keep destruction and embellishments to a minimum. To make this business casual look more formal, stick to darker hues and make sure you don't have too many colors in the outfit all at once. The more monochromatic your look, the better.
4. Pencil Skirt and Statement Blouse
If you love dressing up for work because you get to wear chic pencil skirts, this is your dream interview look! Pair a midi pencil skirt with a blouse that you feel confident in. Make sure that the skirt falls either just below the knee or just above it. Similar to the outfit above, you'll want to make sure that you don't have too many colors or bold patterns clashing at once.
5. The Midi Dress
Midi dresses are ultra-chic, and they were made for the office environment! These dresses have a modest hemline that usually falls perfectly in line with every office dress code, but they still feel super chic and stylish. Make sure your dress has sleeves for a more appropriate look or top it off a tank top dress with a blazer.
For an interview, you'll want to stay away from mini and maxi dresses because neither of them look professional. Depending on your interview, you'll also want to make sure that your midi dress is either a solid color or a minimalist pattern. Top this look off with your favorite pair of closed-toe block heels or a pair of flats.
6. The Blazer Touch
No matter what you decide to wear for your interview, adding a blazer to any look will make your outfit appear more professional. Blazers are structured and can elevate any ensemble. For example, if you love wearing tunics for women with a pair of dress pants, you can easily bring a more professional look to your outfit by topping off your ensemble with a blazer. This is a good staple to keep in your closet for interviews or for any day at the office. We also love wearing blazers outside of work, as they bring a chic edge to any outfit.
7. Statement Jumpsuit
If you have an interview at an office that requires you to show off your personal style and make a statement, you may want to wear a plus-size jumpsuit during your interview. Jumpsuits are very fashion-forward and there are so many styles that are perfect and appropriate for the office. You can always add a blazer to your jumpsuit to formalize it a little bit more.
If the job you're interviewing for allows you to show your personal style, you can prioritize a bold print. However, if you're not sure whether the bold print would be too much, it's probably just safe to stick to a solid color.
If you're looking for an interview-appropriate jumpsuit, you'll also want to prioritize a thicker fabric. You don't want to wear a lightweight fabric that wrinkles easily or which is see-through. The ideal jumpsuit will also come down past your ankles. There are many work-appropriate capri-style jumpsuits, but, for an interview, it's best to stick to floor-length jumpsuits.
Here’s to Your Home Run!
Whether your interview is tomorrow or in a week, we hope this style guide gave you all the confidence you need to knock it out of the park!
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Source: Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock.com