Dressing Up For a Fashion Interview
Even the most stylish fresh graduate will have qualms during her first fashion interview! Just like in any other job interview, the job seeker’s desire to make an impression is almost palpable. Your potential employer actually expects this mindset but unless you are fully prepared to blow the interviewing Senior Editor’s mind away, leaving a lasting impression can be quite tough. In other words, an interviewer who’s been through hundreds of job applicants over the years will be rather hard to impress.
Let’s assume you have ticked off all the boxes in the qualifications list! You are smart and witty, with a mile long list of credentials and referrals in your resume. Your application merits the attention of the fashion magazine company and calls for an interview. You’re simply ecstatic! However, be reminded that all other applicants summoned for an interview must have a track record similar to yours.
Having excellent academic ratings will not guarantee a coveted position in a fashion company. As much as they would want to hire an intelligent person on the spot, there still are other equally important characteristics that they give extra points for. Do you have that unyielding yet charming personality that’s fit for an executive? You don’t only have to be smart up there; you have to look the part too! Fashion companies prefer those who, at first glance, exemplify their culture. They will single out an applicant who looks the most organized and one with that distinctly reliable yet chic look. The kind of look that would say “I can handle anything you throw at me without breaking my heel” or “I can represent your company in a press conference right now.”
Dressing up for a fashion interview needs some serious thought, even if you already consider your style as trendy. Trendy can sometimes be tacky, too! What the interviewer will be looking for is something polished – fashionable but with a classic twist. Here’s a checklist of the most critical tips in prepping for a fashion interview:
Choose a nice pair of shoes. Most interviewers aren’t impressed with old, scruffy shoes – this is a fact! Use your best pair of pumps, preferably closed and in a neutral color such as black, nude, brown, grey or navy blue. If you doubt how it looks, invest in a new pair. You don’t have to splurge on exquisite Louboutins (and I definitely don’t recommend blowing your savings before getting the job!), a stylish and sensible pair will do.
- BCBG Generation Cielo Pump, $88.95
- Franco Sarto Cicero Pump, $79.95
- MIA Bennett Pump, $69.95
- Stuart Weitzman Now Pump, $335
- Charles David Cosmo Pump, $104.95 $69.90
Wear minimal makeup. You want to look fresh-faced on interview day, not like a party animal getting ready for a night out in the city. Unless you want the interviewer to think you’re only making a side trip, skip the smoky eyes and red lipstick altogether. Instead, choose a palette that’s light and natural BUT not pale. Dab a hint of blush on your cheeks and glide a tinted gloss on those puckers.
Opt for classic and crisp pieces of clothing in neutral tones. If you’re planning to make a dramatic entrance by striding to the interview room dressed in the latest fashion trend, think again. Keep in mind that you are there to be considered for a job – even if it is at a fashion company. Aim to look professional by pairing classic pieces. However, contrary to what others believe is unacceptable, dressing in colors or prints in a fashion interview is actually fine as long as you don’t cross the line. A dainty printed scarf worn over a basic shirt will look smart.
Steer clear of stuffy or outdated suits. Elle Magazine’s current style news editor Britt Aboutaleb says, “They should wear something expressive–whether expressive means a silk blouse and jeans or a colorful dress and heels. It should probably be one of your go-to favorite outfits…Anything BUT leggings or a suit.” It would be a mistake to dress like a veteran attorney when you’re actually a visual artist by heart! The lesson is – always show your true self.
Don’t flaunt your designer labels all at once. A look-at-me Hermes handbag, a glamorous pair of oversized Prada sunnies and an armload of logo jewelry may look oh-so-chic but it will get your interviewer doubting your intentions and capabilities. Instead, choose your less conspicuous designer pieces for subtle elegance.
Keep your accessories minimal. The last you thing you want to happen is distract your interviewer with jangly jewelry! Wear a pair of stud earrings whose size is no bigger than your earlobe, a classic watch and a simple necklace. If you’re the bracelet type, choose a no-fuss, no-frill piece such a matte cuff. Do avoid stacking bangles on top of the other or wearing a ring on almost every finger!
Avoid busy prints and patterns. Toting a trendy printed handbag or wearing an 80’s inspired geometric-patterned blazer, for example, will not help much in making a good impression. Clean lines such as pin stripes are more sophisticated. Think white and navy blue! If you want to inject some color into your too-neutral outfit via your purse, opt for muted hues like teal, olive or blush pink. If you believe that expressing yourself means a floral blouse and dark tailored jeans, this is perfectly acceptable as long as you don’t go overboard with the prints and colors.
Wear a smile! They say that the best accessory is what you wear from ear to ear. Entering the interview room with a confident smile matters greatly especially if you’ve been waiting for hours in line. Any interviewer will appreciate a friendly face because after all, she might be just as tired as you are. When your confidence and optimism shows, your fashion choices will take the backseat.
Fashionista, got something on your mind? Leave a comment!