ASK KIMMY: Is Wearing A Dress To An Interview Pushing It? What Should I Wear To Get A Job in Fashion?

Name: Rebecca C.
Age: 23

Question: Hi Kimmy! I was wondering if I could get some of your expert advice. I have an interview next week with a clothing brand company and I definitely want to look my best. I was wondering how far I could push the envelope with my attire? I wanted to wear something other than a suit (blazer and pants) but is wearing a dress pushing it too far? Or do you have any clothing recommendations that I would still look cute but make a professional/good impression? I was thinking of wearing a longer dress with black tights and a blazer? Thanks so much in advance Kimmy, sorry for all the questions! I just really want to dress for the part! 😛:P

Congrats on landing such an exciting interview and thank you for your questions! Any job interview is a little nerve wracking, but all the more so when it’s in the fashion world!  What you wear is just as important as your experience, personality and education and fashion peeps are certainly expecting some sort of statement about the industry. You’ll want to strike the right balance of trend and modernity with classic silhouettes.  What you’ll want to convey is a sense of individuality, appropriateness, thoughtfulness and general sense of color and trend. That’s not to say you should be super trendy. Oh no. This is your opportunity to show off a classic piece in your own way. If you dress right, you’ll make your interviewer feel instantly at ease and get your interview off on a perfectly heeled foot. So what should you wear?

As pictured, J.Crew has a fantastic way to mix a classic boucle suit in a pretty red, white and navy with what is seeming to be the decades major staple: a chambray shirt. It’s bold but if it’s a tailored chambray shirt that’s wrinkle-free and a great fit, I say go for it!  If you are going to work with your suit, make sure the leg is current (ankle crop or a straight leg are great) or the skirt fits well (a not too tight pencil or pleated A-line is flattering!). Wear the jacket open and find a shirt that suits you with great collar detail and pair it with a small drop earring. A wavy ponytail or stick straight hair is an easy way to make the “I tried juuuust hard enough” statement.

But to answer your question, yes, you can wear a dress! Your gut instinct is spot on (which means you better be all the more confident you’re going to nail that interview!). A dress that is longer (meaning knee-length, below-the-knee or calf-length) is totally appropriate and can certainly be worn with a matching or coordinating blazer. Dresses can absolutely be as strong of a contender in a job interview as a pant or skirt suit and in fashion, dare I say, more so. J. Crew makes the same boucle shown above in a fabulous sheath dress ($198) and jacket ($278), which is the shape I’d recommend for any body type, age and interview.

J. Crew’s memo dress shown here ($99) is the perfect example. Form flattering, it allows for a simple modern necklace or embellished statement necklace or vinage find that holds a story. The V neck shape is flattering to all bust lines and looks fantastic with a contrasting color jacket (Eggplant, black, olive green or textured black and white boucle are all great choices). Pop on some black, charcoal or navy opaque tights and a camel pump. And, after you land the gig, it will look great with a boyfriend cardigan and short booties!

Charcoal and black are always safe colors, but I love the way Basler combined them for this fantastic boatneck sheath wool dress ($795). Since the fabric is so thick, I’d balance the look out with sheer black hose and a close-toed heel. Bonus points for switching out the belt with a vintage Hermes or YSL. A black crew neck cardigan would be a fantastic, prim and proper layer.

QUICK TIP: Avoid the following: Peplums, lace, ruching or shirring, anything tight, prints, feathers, studs, stretchy fabrics.

I’m superstitious about Diane von Furstenberg’s dresses. I’ve landed every job where I’ve worn one of her dresses to the interview! This season, I think the cap sleeved high-neck wool crepe (my fave figure-flattering work fabric)  is so pretty and the shape is just gorg!($398). If you opt for a blazer, short and boxy would be best. I could see something like this blazer  from 3.1 Phillip Lim ($650).

A lovely color block could also be an option. BCBG’s short sleeve ivory and black dress ($248)could be spiced up with a red pump or you can play it safe with a black shoe, too.

For further inspiration, peek at Princess Kate! She perfectly nails down fashionable workwear. She has to keep her legs in tights, shoulders covered and wear closed toed shoes. Channel her with a fab mid-arm sleeve!

For accessories, keep jewels to a minimum, and use small jewelry! Make sure none of your jewelry makes distracting noises or distracts you when you move around. And finally, make sure that you keep a copy of your resume in a pretty portfolio and that you have something prepared to hand them if they need examples of your work! Good luck, Rebecca! I know you’re going to nail it.

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