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What to Wear for that Winter Interview

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07/14/14 | Posted by Administrator

Even though the blustery cold of winter has arrived, that’s no reason to let your ability to dress for success slip. Guest blogger Julie McMahon shares her tips for making that first impression count when attending a job interview.

First impressions count, especially in interviews. Keep your interview outfit simple and conservative.

In the business world, a tailored look in dark colours is expected. Men’s suits are currently cut to a slim shape and should be accompanied by a cleanly tailored shirt in a solid or a faint pattern such as a pinstripe.

Women’s suits allow for slightly more variety than men’s, but clean lines and neutral colours remain the rule of thumb. A slight pop of colour is acceptable in a scarf or in a tailored shirt, but steer clear of bright patterns. Consider the job environment; law and accounting firms still expect women in suits with matching skirts and in all environments, keep the skirt no shorter than just above the knee. Tights should be neutral and in line with your suit.

In winter, footwear must meld function with professional style. Men should stick to a basic dark dress shoe and women to a simple black heel of medium height. Boots are tricky and should be treated with wariness at interview time. A boot in a dark, neutral color that matches your outfit may work in less conservative environments, but a safer bet would be to leave the boots at home.

Consider a common northern hemisphere practice when the weather is particularly bad: wear a practical, weatherproof shoe to your destination and change into your interview footwear just before you enter the building.

Wear a professional looking coat in a dark colour. This is not the time to throw your puffy coat over your suit. Coats should be well fitted (too tight will produce wrinkles in your outfit) and reach to mid-thigh or longer to cover the bottom of your suit coat or blazer. As an alternative, a tailored trench coat is always a classic look, just stick to neutral-coloured solids.

When heading to that all-important interview, keep a small umbrella handy. Winter weather is known for surprises and you shouldn’t be caught unaware.

Limit accessories to a bare minimum to prevent distractions. Men shouldn’t wear anything more than a tasteful watch and a possible wedding band. Women’s earrings should be simple such as classic pearl studs or small sleepers in gold or silver. Save anything trendy for going out with friends.

To carry your CV, use a simple bag or briefcase that will keep your paperwork unwrinkled, or purchase a leather (or faux leather) portfolio or note pad holder with room for a notepad and an inside pocket for extra copies of your CV, business cards and references.

Finally, if your outfit isn't comfortable, you won’t be able to hide it. Take the care to choose clothing that not only projects a professional image, but is comfortable enough that you can forget about it during the interview. Tugging at your clothing does not convey confidence- let your background, experience and capable personality come through instead.