If you’re interviewing for a job within the fashion industry, you may feel the pressure to step up your style game. Balancing professionalism and showing off your personal style can feel tricky, especially when heading into an environment where demonstrating a trendy aesthetic is key. There’s certainly a few elements to consider when approaching this situation.
You have questions, we have answers…from a fashion recruiter, nonetheless.
Enter Alex Wilhelm, fashion recruiting extraordinaire. She has years of experience working with clients in the fashion space, as well as with sending candidates on interviews to mega-brands.
Here’s her advice:
Q: Do I wear the label or designer that I’m interviewing for?
A: It’s imperative to look fashion forward. Very different interview attire rules apply when going to an interview with a fashion company than any other industry. There is more freedom to express yourself while still looking professional. If you have something from the brand you’re interviewing with, why not find a way to incorporate it in, but I don’t think it’s necessary to go out and buy something just to wear the brand. Do not wear an obvious competitor to an interview.
Q: Should I play it safe with my outfit or try to stand out?
A: I think it really depends on the role. If it’s a creative position I think you want to give the company a sense of your personal style and aesthetic. I think if it’s a more corporate position it’s better to play it safe the first time around, see how everyone else dresses in the office on the first interview, and then if you get a second interview and think you can add your own flair do it, while still dressing professional, of course.
Q: What are some go-to options that will work universally?
A: The most play it safe outfit is classic fitted black denim jeans with a great blouse and heels. Throw a blazer on or over your shoulders. Otherwise a dress and heels. Make sure the dress hits the knee. Nails are important. Either have a nice manicure or keep it very cleaned up with no polish. Above all, wear something you’re comfortable in and know that you wear well. You don’t need to spend the whole time leading up to the interview and during the interview worrying about how you look.
Q: What are ideas for statement pieces I can incorporate in my interview outfit?
A: Jewelry or shoes can make an outfit. It’s so easy to find earrings that look really chic for cheap. There is so much you can do with earrings too. You can wear statement, edgy, glamourous, etc. Otherwise keep your outfit more classic and muted and then have a great pair of pumps. A classic crisp white blouse with black pants and a killer pair of shoes will show you’re fashionable and professional.
Q: What should I avoid wearing?
A: Anything distracting. Don’t wear clothing with any type of lettering or patterns that are too intense. I think it’s important to be careful about open toe shoes as well. I think that’s pretty much a no. Nothing that’s wrinkled or looks like it’s been worn a ton. You want the person to feel like you dressed up to meet with them.
Q: Any other tips?
A: Always pick out your outfit well before the interview and prep it in case you do need to go out and buy something or send it to the cleaners. It’s important to put thought into how you’re presenting yourself. You want to mentally feel good and make your outfit work for you. If you love what you’re wearing you will feel that much more confident.