It’s that time: you’ve spent weeks applying to open positions, perfecting your resume and drafting cover letters, and you’ve finally received the call. You have an interview! Once you’ve set the interview, though, you’re probably thinking one of two things: Either, “I have to stay up all night to prepare!” or “what will I wear?” You might be on your own for the first question, but there are four key style essentials to rocking any interview:
The Versatile Blazer
Twenty years ago, they were synonymous with lawyers and financial analysts. Luckily, we’re in 2016, and almost everyone has (or should invest in one very soon) a nice blazer. They’re an essential piece of outerwear for any young professional and can dress up even the shabbiest clothes. Not to mention their versatility; as style has evolved over the years, so has the blazer. While an oversized navy blazer might work out best for an editorial assistant at a publishing house, a classic black fitted one is more appropriate for a CPA. These can vary in price and quality, so you have the option of trying out different styles before investing in the pricier option. For a great starter, check out the LC Lauren Conrad collection at Kohl’s.
The Statement Necklace
Coco Chanel once said, “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” If you’re a firm believer in this philosophy, avoid removing your statement necklace at all cost. While not every necklace isn a good fit for a job interview—last year’s Mardi Gras beads, for example—there is strength in a well-styled piece of jewelry that reflects the position you’ll be interviewing for. With a creative position—like that of a copywriter or a music instructor, you can wear a more personal necklace that reflects your personality. But during an interview for a teaching position at a private school, you might want to tone it down with a simple strand of pearls. One of the biggest advantages to wearing a good necklace is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to appear put together (just like those pearls don’t have to be real). When looking for one, aim for pieces that don’t appear too gaudy, flashy or jingly. Something simple but noteworthy—like the statement necklace at H&M—will compliment your outfit without distracting from it.
The Timeless Dress
While the case can be made for wearing pants or a skirt to an interview, a dress will offer you both a timeless and easy-go-to outfit. They can easily be dressed up or down. If you’re interviewing with a local tech start-up, pairing a black dress with your favorite cardigan will look down-to-earth while remaining professional. And if you’re looking into working as a flight attendant, a nice dress and blazer combo—in a similar color pattern as the airline’s uniforms, preferably—is the best outfit to rely on. If you find the right dress, you’ll save both time and effort in making sure everything else is in order. And, as an added bonus, you can tone it down with nude flats and a light cardigan for celebratory drinks with your friends afterward. You don’t need to look farther than your local Target or Old Navy for a reliable option.
The Complimentary Bag
While the blazer, dress and jewelry are there to make you look good, your bag serves a practical purpose. You want to find a bag that is the perfect size and a complimentary color to your outfit. The perfect sized bag will vary from person to person, but you ideally want to find something that can fit anything you might need without being too bulky. There are so many useful items to pack for your interview—additional copies of your resume, water bottle, body spray, pens—that a future version of yourself will be so incredibly thankful for. And if you match your bag’s color family with the rest of the outfit, you’ll have more freedom to play around with bag shapes; satchels, messenger and saddlebags are a few popular styles. If you’re looking to invest in something new, going for higher-end options offer a lot of great options like BCBG or Kate Spade. Or you can go to an online retailer like Modcloth, which offers multiple styles for more affordable rates.
With these four items, there’s no doubt you’ll have the necessary style to feel confident in rocking any interview. Or add any of them to your look and you’ll feel more than ready to take on potential job, internship, or grad school program. If you dress for the life you want then you’re already halfway there!