What to Wear to Job Interviews, According to 10 CEOs
You know the saying when it comes to first impressions — you only get one, so you better make it count. There is no occasion where the stakes are higher than at a high-pressure job interview. So who better to ask about nailing a fashionable first impression than these ultimate #girlbosses who’ve made it to the top? Heed their advice when it comes to dressing not only for the interview but your dream career.
Erika Wasser, CEO of Glam&Go:
“Interviews are about showing an employer who you are and giving them a sense of your personality and what kind of energy you’ll bring to the office environment. It’s as much about culture fit in most industries as it is about competence. Have great style? Show it off! Never see yourself in formal business attire? Don’t wear it to the interview. People want to recognize the person they hired when they’re on the job. I’m a really casual, but stylish, person (who doesn’t own a suit or a blazer), so interview attire has been about showcasing my point of view while at the same time showing my employer I know how to dress appropriately for work.”
Jenny Miranda, CEO of Jenny Miranda Public Relations, LLC in NYC:
“Before you dress for a job interview, it’s imperative to research the company’s culture. If the company has a casual dress code, ditch the full suit and keep the blazer or wear a trendy business dress (knee-length, no spaghetti straps). If you’re interviewing for a fashion company, you should try to wear an outfit that’s on trend and shows off your personal style. Don’t forget to accessorize! Something as simple as a statement necklace could be a conversation starter. This doesn’t mean you should dip into your savings account to buy an expensive outfit — you can find some great buys at retailers like Century 21, H&M, and thrift stores.”
Rakia Reynolds, CEO of Skai Blue Media:
“When you go into an interview, know WHO you are meeting with and what the brand of the company represents as it relates to that person. Personality always reigns, but employers are looking at how you can be an extension of their brand, so being polished and poised in some instances precedes that. As the founder of a creative communications company, I look for pieces that tell a story. For example, a blazer or cardigan shows me that you’ve taken an extra step to complete your look. A necklace — whether it’s a statement or trinket — shows more of your personal side. Shoes show your game… I can tell if you’re a weekend warrior (more relaxed) or a get it done by any means type of person, by what you step in.”
Kelly Howard, CEO of EightSixtySouth:
“Do a little research on the company and the people that work there — there’s so much information available at your fingertips these days, you no longer have any excuse to walk into an environment uninformed. Your look should be polished and sophisticated, while still expressing your personal sense of style. I’m personally a fan of a nice tailored top and/or blazer, dark pants, and a killer heel.”
Nadia Boujarwah CEO of Dia&Co:
“Finding the perfect outfit to take on the day is essential to putting your best foot forward. Whether you need to impress and land your dream job, or want to easily transition from the office to date night, it’s all in the details! Just add your favorite shoes and accessories to make the look completely yours.”
Emily Holmes Hahn, CEO of LastFirst:
“A blazer, OTK boots, and structured bag say ‘boss’ like no other, but I like to soften the power suit elements with a feminine hem and beautiful (professional) jewelry. This is just who I am and what I feel most comfortable in; but when I interview job candidates, I definitely keep an eye out for posture and overall ease, so any outfit that you feel great in, should work as a sous-blazer base. It’s also important for women to dress on the more conservative side at job interviews, and to respect the particular company’s culture/dress code when choosing an outfit.”
Orit Hashay, CEO of Brayola:
“The person sitting across the table from you will not only be evaluating your aptitude and skill sets but also your overall body language and presentation, so dress the part. More often than not, women are busy choosing which button down and dress pants to wear with what blazer. What’s often overlooked (and probably plays the biggest role in helping you feel confident) is support — from your underwear. Wearing the right bra might help relieve back pain, letting you stand up taller and have better posture. Choosing the right pair of underwear can ease your mind of anyone seeing your panty line. A smart woman always knows how to make her intimates work for her.”
Hailey Harmon, CEO of Aitch Aitch:
“Working in fashion, I think my interview style was edgier, because my potential employers appreciated a sense of style, and looking put together. Also, there’s nothing like a great outfit to give you that little extra boost of confidence. I wore a lot of Helmut Lang and Theory, which is incredibly tailored and looks put together, but with an edge. I also invested in good shoes, which last a lifetime if you take care of them properly. And, of course, The M.K. tote.”
Jessica Hendricks Yee, CEO of The Brave Collection:
“I recommend clean and chic with a little hint of your personality. For me, I’m always wearing a few layers of jewelry that are meaningful to me and that give my look a little bit of a cool, gypsy feel. I like to mix high-low, casual, and refined for an easy, yet polished look. For my last meeting, I wore faded black denim fringe jeans from H&M with a black silk top from Reformation and this killer cream wool blazer from Rag and Bone that I snagged on sale. Ultimately, it’s about how you feel, so wear something that makes you feel like the boss that you are.”
Julia LeClair, CEO of Orchard Mile:
“I love a classic, crisp poplin blouse with an edge to it. You can never go wrong with a classic and I love how these have a little more style and flare, which makes you stand out and show some personality. These are perfect if you are going in for the ‘corporate’ or ‘creative’ interview. As for a purse, a structured bag is a must when it comes to an interview. It shows professionalism and will go with almost anything. You can wear it with a more fun, flowy outfit and use it to tone it down. I’m obsessed with the Givenchy Horizon bag, and this nude color for the spring is so beautiful and versatile. The band around the top has just enough personality to take the traditional tote to the next level. The Perrin Paris bag is a really fun twist to a classic structured tote.”
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