Interviews are always nerve wrecking, and the months leading up to internship, post-doc, and graduate school interviews can be very stressful. What should be the least of students’ concerns is the day-old question, “What am I going to wear?” Don’t fret; I have some great tips on how to feel confident in your outfit—and how to look chic yet conservative. All on a budget!
Women: your closet should always have what I consider staple pieces, a black pencil skirt, a button-up ivory blouse, a bold jacket, and black kitten heels. This is an outfit that I have worn and feel absolutely confident in. If you have these key pieces in your closet, it doesn’t matter what color your skirt, blouse or shoes are. Create a look that shows who YOU are. If you want to keep the look simple, great; if you want to accessorize, do it. Just make sure you stay true to you. This is just as much an interview for you as it is for the site or school. The examples that I provided are from one of my favorite stores, Banana Republic. Yes, the prices may be a bit over a grad school budget, but they tend to have sales frequently (if you sign-up to receive emails from them, you will be notified of their sales). Keep in mind these pieces are staples, meaning they can go with more than what I recommended. And, they are always great to pair for an interview.
Men: I did not forget about the male demographic – let’s head to Macy’s! Macy’s always has great deals and often has terrific sales. Wearing a suit is always the go-to for interviews. But you can make yourself stand out with a pop of color, and maybe skip the necktie and sport a bow tie instead! Try this navy suit as a suggestion. Not only can you wear a variety of different colored shirts with this suit, but the option of a necktie/bow tie is all yours. And this price is a steal! The suit will last several years and is well worth the cost—think of it as an investment. You can wear this to a wedding, future interviews, etc. Just make sure to add your personality to this statement suit.
The outfit should be one thing that will make you stand out—but, like all of my suggestions, it can only help accent what you already bring into the interview room. You are the one that will set yourself apart by your knowledge, enthusiasm and confidence.
Words I live by from one of the best designers that lived: “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel. Remember this when you are out shopping for your ensemble. Best of luck on your interviews!