Well, it’s here! Med school, residency, academic…all sorts of interviews! It’s “interview” season. I attended a scientific conference earlier this week and met a young woman in the elevator who was in town for a medical school interview. She was dressed in a black pants suit, with a green silk top. Simple, conservative, safe…all in all, she looked great and very put together. Any interview candidate is likely to be stressed about “what to wear”, given that a first impression is usually the ONLY impression they are likely to make! So here are some of my tips and suggestions for possible interview outfits:
You can’t really go wrong with a black suit. It’s also great because you can switch out the top and have multiple outfits. Here is one not-so-expensive option:
This suit is available at JC Penney, with the jacket and pants totaling $58.98. Not bad, right? Add a skirt for an additional, $19.99 and you have two suits under $100. For the top, I personally prefer a short-sleeved top. You never know what the temperature variability will be once you get in a building, so IF you should have to remove your jacket, a short-sleeved top is always better than a sleeveless top. A long-sleeved top is also great, especially if you’re out interviewing now with temps dipping below zero in some parts of the country. The short-sleeved top featured above is a nice option. It comes in 3 different colors and 1 print, AND is only $12.95. Perfect!
If you’re not a big fan of black suits, then grey, navy, brown, or tan suits are also a good options. I would not stray from those colors, though. Here are some other pieces that I think are quite nice and also affordable:
NY and Company
You may be thinking, why is B suggesting we buy our interview suit(s) at places like JC Penney, H&M, etc?? Well, the truth is, nearly 100% of the time, what will give a great first impression is the fit of your suit, not the cost of your suit. I once interviewed in a $10 suit and was asked if I purchased it at J Crew, where suits often retail for nearly $200 – at least. The suit fit me impeccably and was styled with accessories from Forever 21. Moral of the story: You don’t have to spend a million bucks to look like a million bucks!
So, pay attention to how your clothes fit. Here are some tips to consider about the fit of your interview suit:
1. Walking and sitting
- Can you walk and sit comfortably in your suit? This is going to sound silly, but practice sitting and walking in your suit before wearing it to your interview.
- Does the skirt ride up as you walk? If yes, then wear a different skirt. The skirt will not stretch or lengthen once you get to your interview.
- Perhaps you are considering wearing tights under your skirt. If so, does the skirt stick to your tights and bunch up? Wear different tights, or wear a different type of skirt. Or forgo the tights altogether if you can get away with it.
2. The hem
- Pay attention to the hem, for both your skirt and pants. Your skirt should be AT LEAST knee length. If you sit down and you need to pull your skirt down, then yes…IT IS TOO SHORT!
- Decide what heels or flats you are going to wear with your pants. The bottom of the hem should sit right on top of the toe box of your shoe. Anything longer or shorter, then the pants should be hemmed accordingly.
3. The top
- The top I recommended above is a v-neck top. Make sure that when you bend down, you don’t give everyone a view of everything on the inside! If the top is too loose up top, where a thin, fitted tank top underneath. Or go with a button up or crew neck. Crew necks are nice because you don’t have to worry about buttons popping off, or fitting so tight that your shirt forms gaps between buttons.
- With crew necks, make sure to wear a bra whose outline is not going to be visible. T-shirt bras are nice options for crew neck tops.
- Okay, this may be a bit too TMI (aka too much information), but if you tend to sweat a lot, you may consider wearing either a really dark top, or a white/cream colored top. The last thing you want is to take your jacket off and have sweat stains because your nerves are throwing your flight or fight response into overdrive!
4. The suit
- Make sure that you can breathe, stretch, etc. in your suit.
- Also make sure that no panty-lines are visible with either your skirt or pants! If they are, go up a size. No one will know that you wore a 6 instead of a 4 to your interview. All they care about it that they didn’t see the outline of your panties while walking from one interview to another. 😉
- Try on your jacket. If you can give yourself a hug, the fit of the jacket is just right. If you can’t cross your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug, it is too snug and will be quite uncomfortable to wear the day of the interview.
- Sleeves. The sleeve should end right at your wrist. Do not fold the sleeve over or tuck the sleeve underneath. The options I gave you above are pretty inexpensive, so use the money you saved and have the sleeves tailored to your fit.
So what do you think?? Let me know if you happen to come across other affordably-priced options. To all of you reading this post and actually going on an interview soon…good luck!! This is an exciting time in your life. Make the most of every interview you go on, and ROCK THEIR SOCKS OFF!
Until next time! Stay Chic!
6 thoughts on “Thrifty Thursday’s – The Interview Suit”
Love this post B!!!!
I agree with everything you said. A well fitting suit is key and can make such a difference. I wish I knew that when I went for me dental school interviews over 10 years ago!!…I was so suit clueless and it was definitely too big!! Not something I would be caught dead in now!! Thankfully I still made it through!!
I also agree with the sweating comment…..Definitely something to plan ahead with.
We remember going through this process and finding the right suit can be stressful. Feeling confident and comfortable is important as you suggest, which is why it’s so important practicing walking around and sitting in your suit. Kt had multiple interviews in hotel rooms (her field does some of its job interviews at the national conference), and it mighta been ugly if things didn’t fit probably. 😛
KH and Kt
Hello! I was just moaning to my sister that I should’ve stuck with my plans to enter the medical field – Dentistry or Psychiatry. Alas, I’ve been in serious interview-mode myself. I’ll heed your advice. Shall I call you, Dr. Fashionista? 😉
P.S. Awesome, informative blog.
Didn’t get a chance to say earlier this morning, but I applaud your accomplishments, especially creating and maintaining a blog with such timeless, informative content. You go! Nothing like #GirlPower.
Continued Success Inside & Out,
Great tips friend, definitely going to remember this next time I need one. xoxo
These are great tips! I have an interview for residency next week (!). I loved reading your thoughts :o)