The best way to disqualify yourself at "Hello!" is to show up for an interview wearing completely the wrong thing. Few things say "I have no idea whatsoever about this industry" like that stuffy suit when you should be professional yet feminine (marketing assistant jobs), too feminine when you should be in business casual (media jobs), or in business casual when you should be in designer (the catty fashion biz).
To avoid being sidelined by a sartorial snafu, when you're researching your hoped-for job in order to be a dazzling interviewee, make sure to do some photo research as well. How are the industry big-hitters dressed on their Linked-In Page? What about Facebook pics of company functions & events? Can you describe the dress code?
If your industry is Creative & Chic, go with classic pieces that have some edge. For instance, a wonderful pair of black "cigarette" trousers (think Audrey Hepburn) with a slouchy black tee made from leather. Top with a black tuxedo blazer and make sure your bag rocks. Fashion people especially are all about bags & will notice if yours is cheap, boring or the deathknell: a fake. If you have to, rent a designer bag or try that old fashion stylist trick: buy a bag at a department store that has a good return policy, be really careful with the purse and when you've killed it at your inerview, return it. (It goes without saying to keep all the tags and the receipt.)
If your industry is Feminine But Professional, dresses are always a good choice, but separates will give you more wardrobe mileage plus more room to dress with flair. A black pencil skirt is never out of place, and looks low-key but sophisticated with pieces like a cashmere sweatshirt in the same hue. Tights, flat equestrian boots, some low-key earrings & a really cool coat (maybe a vintage animal-print trenchcoat) send the right message.
- Lesley Scott
[Note: This was written in partnership with Office-Angels.com. The words are mine.]