This Is What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Be Wearing to Nail That Big Interview
There’s probably nothing more exciting (or nerve-wracking, for that matter) than scoring an interview for your dream job — you go, girl! Your stellar resume (which boasts some seriously amazing summer internships — just sayin’) will no doubt give you an edge over the competition, but what will really win ‘em over is a little confidence. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Interviews can sometimes feel like you’re standing on trial with question after excruciating question being thrown your way. It’s enough to send anyone’s nerves into overdrive. Luckily, it’s nothing a little sartorial intervention can’t fix. You know — the whole dress to impress thing. To help you find your way around the in’s and out’s of interview dressing, we’ve pulled together 15 work wardrobe essentials — sleek skirts, fancy flats and stylish jackets with go-get-‘em appeal — that will help you look the part and put those OMG-what-am-I-doing freakout sessions to rest.
1. C/meo Collective Charged Up Skirt ($190): No work wardrobe is complete without at least one office-ready pencil skirt on hand. A classy alternative to the expected shift dress or pants, a pencil skirt has a fierce, feminine aesthetic that exudes don’t-mess vibes. Skip figure-hugging styles that have the potential to ride up (you don’t want to spend the entire interview adjusting your getup), and ensure the hemline is at an office-appropriate length. If you’re set on showing off some personality (and heck yes, you should!), look to unique embellishments, like these geo numbers, to add visual intrigue in a subtle, unobtrusive way.
2. Express Edition Drapey Boyfriend Blazer ($198): When in doubt, bring a blazer. A sleek, well-fitted blazer can transform even the most basic closet essentials into an ensemble worthy of the corporate world in a snap. Clean lines and proper sleeve length are key to achieving a put-together aesthetic. Layer one over a streamlined shift dress, or team it with belted high-waisted trousers, a silk blouse and stylish pointed-toe flats.
3. J.Crew Colorful Crystal Foliage Necklace ($128): Accessories are a great way to showcase that killer sense of style, but you definitely don’t want to go overboard. Stick with smaller gems that will elevate your outfit by adding just a hint of sparkle or a pop of color without totally stealing the show. You want your potential employer to focus on what you have to say — not be distracted by over-the-top bling around your neck. In the same vein, leave the bangles or jangly jewelry at home.
4. Reiss Lily Printed Blouse ($230): Why stick with white button downs when you can rock a printed blouse instead? Delivering all the polish of a standard white collared shirt, but with a whole lot more personality, this tonal floral top is guaranteed to go over big with your boss-to-be. Wear it with tailored ankle trousers, sharp-looking loafers and a smart jacket for a flawless working-girl effect.
5. The Horse Classic Rose Gold & Grey ($165): Dressing to impress becomes practically pointless if you show up to your interview late. This sleek rose gold timepiece won’t just keep you on your toes — it’ll instantly infuse your on-the-job ensemble with an It-girl-approved edge.
6. & Other Stories Tailored Lyocell Trousers ($115): Fuss-free and fierce, a pair of tailored, neutral-colored trousers is always a foolproof option. To reach peak polish, avoid too-tight trousers (which can be incredibly uncomfortable and come off as unprofessional) and ensure the hem comes off the ground about a quarter to a half inch when you’re wearing heels — dragging, pooling hems can look seriously sloppy. Style them alongside a sophisticated printed blouse, block heel pumps and minimalist jewelry for an effortless look that nails it every time.
7. Mango Saffiano-Effect Tote Bag ($80): Coming prepared is a whole lot easier when you have a chic tote in tow. Ditch the bright crossbody for this structured buckle tote that has plenty of room for all your interview essentials: a notebook, pens, your portfolio, copies of your resume and a freshening-up kit that will send those last-minute jitters packin’.
8. Kenzo Zig Zag Embroidered Dress ($646): Plan on rockin’ a frock? Neutral tones like black and navy are the way to go — they’re professional and timeless. For a more modern edge, opt for an eye-catching print (skip the polka dots) or graphic detailing that will set you apart from the rest. If you’re taking this route, choose classic silhouettes that strike the right balance of elegance and contemporary cool. Avoid loud colors or overly out-there prints that might be distracting or feel out of place.
9. Equipment Adalyn Printed Silk-Twill Shirt ($270): Unless you’re applying for a position in a corporate setting, you don’t need to suit up, but you don’t want to look messy either. A jazzed up button-down will certainly do the trick, especially when paired with a sharp pencil skirt and (comfortable) don’t-mess heels. Plus, you can easily mix and match it with the rest of your wardrobe. Boyfriend jeans and lace-up ballet flats, anyone?
10. Zara Medium Heel Pointed Shoes ($30): On the shoe front, a pair of navy, nude or black heels — or any structured steppers for that matter — is a flat-out foolproof option. These no-frills pumps offer just the right amount of lift, keeping you feeling grounded and confident, no matter what questions come your way. If you go for a pair of peep-toes, make sure your toes are looking their best — hit the nail salon before heading through the office door.
11. Ann Taylor Multi Stripe Wide Leg Crop Pants ($98): Sticking with the essentials is certainly safe — and won’t draw any inquisitive looks from HR or your potential future employer — but they won’t give you the opportunity to show off your creative side or personality either. To land a job in the arts, elect unexpected silhouettes and subtle-yet-funky prints that push the envelope without going overboard. Style these striped stunners with a bow neck blouse, block heels and asymmetric drop earrings for an ensemble that is polished and totally you.
12. Zara Embroidered Jacket ($169): And speaking of personality… A blazer isn’t the only way to layer in style. Seemingly glamorous gigs call for threads with a bit of extra oomph. A feminine blouse will give this clean-cut embellished jacket a put-together vibe, especially when teamed with elevated culottes or refined dress trousers. Boost your getup in seconds with muted metallic pumps or a platform heel that toes the line between traditional and cutting edge.
13. Whistles Jade Wrap Over Dress ($270): Sophisticated doesn’t have to mean snoozy. Show off that incredible attention to detail by sporting a classic wrap dress with unique circle fastenings and an asymmetric hem that exudes RN vibes. Pair with new-age Mary Janes and statement stud earrings for a sleek, so-easy look that just might become your interview signature.
14. Topshop “Jinx” Mary Jane Pointy Toe Pump ($85): Who needs a power suit when you have a pair of hot steppers like these on hand? Blow the competition out of the water by strutting into the boardroom with these bad boys in tow, along with a pretty patterned blouse, pencil skirt and a briefcase-inspired satchel.
15. Iris and Ink Claudia Pussy-Bow Silk-Chiffon Blouse ($165): Fake it ’til you make it with a billowy blouse that is equal parts girlboss and fashionable femme. Bust it out with an updated take on the traditional suit, styling it with silk jogger-inspired trousers, a streamlined jacket and statement accessories that are just as sleek as they are show-stopping.
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It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.