New Castle News

Fashion: Sarah Stright-Hartley

September 26, 2012

Sarah Stright: What to wear for your big job interview

NEW CASTLE — Congratulations on scoring an interview for your dream job!

Now the big question is, what do you wear?

A couple things you should keep in mind: it's better to be overdressed than underdressed, and always research the company dress code before the interview. Because it's always advisable to research a company in-depth before an interview, make sure that you're taking note of the dress code as well.

Sometimes you can find employee pictures on a company website or Facebook page, or if you happen to know an employee at the company, ask what the typical dress code is. Try your best to keep with what the employees normally wear.

Also, think about the industry you're interviewing in. Is it a conservative industry such as banking or legal? Do the employees dress in a more business casual manner like advertising or sales? Or are you interviewing in an artistic environment like fashion or graphic design? This is very important to think of when planning your interview attire.

Here are some other guidelines:

•It is OK to show personality through your wardrobe, but make sure that isn't the only thing the interviewer notices. Keep your personality touches to accessories, like a great scarf or shoe. A great piece like that can be a conversation starter, but you still want the interviewer to notice what you're SAYING, not just what you're WEARING.

•Less is more, for the most part. You don't need to be wearing the newest trends. In fact, this could be a distraction. Instead, stick to classic pieces that are still modern and updated. Black suits are always classic, but the silhouettes have changed since the 1980s. You want to make sure you look like you're still living in this decade. Also, be sure everything fits you well, it'll make you look much more polished and put together.

If you look to the right, I've put together three looks that represent the different industries I've previously mentioned. First is the conservative environment. A suit is an absolute must. As I noted above, make sure it fits you perfectly. Tailors can make a suit look like it was made for you even if you happened to get a great deal.

If you notice in this outfit, I've kept the whole look fairly neutral but have added a bit of extra color in the shoe. The color of the shoe also ties into the scarf that is tied to the briefcase. It's a way to show personality without going overboard.

The second look is for the more business casual environment. This may be a bit more dressy than you would wear to the office. However, as I said earlier it's better to be overdressed. A classic pencil skirt and tie blouse is flattering on most everyone. Because the pencil skirt is a bit trendy with the burgundy color (very popular for fall) and leather trims, I kept the rest of the accessories very simple.

Finally is the artistic environment. Sometimes this is the hardest industry to dress for because you don't want to be too casual but you also don't want to look too "suited up." For this outfit I again stuck with classic pieces but with a twist — the peplum top is a classic shape but still very on trend, and the burgundy skinny leg trousers are also very trendy. Adding a scarf in a great print to tie the look together, and classic mary jane shoes make your look more sophisticated.

If you don't feel you're dressy enough, just add a blazer to the outfit, though in a different color than the pants so it doesn't read as a suit.

Now that you have the outfit picked out,  it's time to go in and snag that job you've been dreaming of.  

(Have any fashion questions for me? Email me at And check out my personal style blog,


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Fashion: Sarah Stright-Hartley
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