Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Not to Wear- Job Interview Edition - Part III- Women's Suits

Women's suits have a reputation for being dowdy, unflattering and indistinguishable. In recent years, mainstream stores have started selling suit lines with many different cuts and styles that flatter women's bodies and allow them to express their personality while still meeting dress code standards. Women are lucky to have far more suit options than men, but this also leaves room for confusion, as different suits suggest different things.

When purchasing your first suit, it's best to get one in a neutral color (black or gray) in a basic fabric like triacetate or a wool blend that you can wear year-round. When you start building a suit wardrobe you can add more interesting fabrics like herringbone and tweed.

Get a jacket that is fitted and shows off your shape, but is loose enough that you can move around without feeling constrained. Lift your arms and dance around in the dressing room to try this out. You want a jacket with full-length sleeves and 2-3 buttons. It's always better to buy a bigger jacket and have it tailored later, so don't worry if the sleeves are too long.

A skirted suit is the most traditional, so for your first suit it's best to have a skirt. If you love the jacket, pick up the matching skirt and pants and just wear the skirt to interviews.

The most flattering skirt is a pencil skirt. Make sure the skirt hits your knees, or right above or below it, so that when you sit down no more than 3 inches of your thigh is showing. If it feels too baggy or is too long, take it to a tailor.

Pair your suit with a button-down dress shirt. Colors are acceptable, but avoid bright colors or shiny fabrics if the industry is more conservative, like finance or law. You can't go wrong with a cotton shirt in a light color like pink, blue or yellow.

As a tall woman, I often have a problem finding shirts that are long enough for me to sit and stand repeatedly without having the shirt come undone. Try this out at the store to make sure you won't have this problem. One trick I use is to tuck the bottom of the shirt into the top of my hose so that it stays flat and tucked into my skirt all day long.

Wondering which shoes are acceptable for an interview or how much makeup or jewelry is too much? Check back tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

hi, how about some links to these sensible interviewing clothes? i like the bag, and have been looking for good pumps for months. why not give us a jump start intead of making a clickable photo that goes nowhwere? thanks

Meg said...

Sure, I'll post them late today. All similar posts in the future will have links to the pictures. I'm new at this, so thanks for the feedback!