We’ve all been told how to dress on a job interview before—but an interview in fashion? That is a whole different beast. Yes, the basic rules of modesty and cleanliness apply, but you also need to learn to avoid sacrificing your personal style for professionalism. There is a fairly simple recipe for an outfit that makes you stand out as someone who understand fashion without going overboard or feeling like an imposter: be comfortable, capture the look at feel of the work environment, and don’t overdo it! If you’re interviewing for a job in fashion, chances are the interviewer understands that style comes in many different forms, but as long as the look is neat and you feel confident, you can’t go wrong!
Before we begin, I would like to point out that the modern men and women of the fashion industry have an advantage when it comes to dressing the part because business casual trends have taken over the runway. Tailored suits, blazers, button up shirts, and trousers are not hard to come by, and while each piece can be mixed with more casual counterparts such as a t-shirt, jeans or sneakers, worn together it is the perfect interview look!
One of the best pieces of advice I can think of is just be comfortable—and no, I don’t mean in a sweatpants and band tee kind of way. (Wouldn’t that be great though?) By comfortable, I mean within your comfort zone. If you are not one to wear heels, your job interview is not the time to test them out. Do you prefer a more natural makeup look? Your job interview is not the time to experiment with winged eyeliner and a bright red lip. It is natural to want to impress people with your sense of style, but make sure it is truly yours, and not your idea of someone who works there. The hiring manager wants to see how you will present yourself in their work space, not the costume you will only wear once to impress them.
So you scored an interview at your favorite design house—do you have to wear their label exclusively? While it may be nice to invest in one of their pieces, I think the people at Chanel would rather have you show that you have elegant taste regardless of the label you are wearing, rather than see someone purchase their entire spring line to prove they belong. That being said, your outfit choice is highly dependent on the job you are interviewing for. Each fashion outlet endorses a very distinct style, and you want to show that you understand their brand—for instance, what I wore to interview at J.Crew was very different than what I wore to my interview at Alice+Olivia.
Let’s get to specifics. One of my tried and true looks is a simple pair of black ankle-length trousers, a printed blazer or trench vest with silver hardware, some silver studded loafers, and a mock-neck sweater. I have also gone with an oversized blazer, a nice blouse with a collar and some lace details, and black pants. The key to looking put together are the clothes that fit! I am a huge advocate for getting clothes tailored —small alterations make a huge difference in your overall appearance. Nothing says “You can count on me” more than an outfit that fits like a glove. On occasion I am able to go into a styling meeting with a very casual look. On these days I can get away with loafers, jeans, a fun tee and a thrifted coat. This is where interviewing in fashion gets a little confusing, because landing a job is all about the vibes you give off—especially as a stylist because you more than anyone should embody the brand. When you confirm a meeting, some brands will specify the dress code, but if no one clues you in, I would say a more conservative and professional look is the way to go. No one will ever fault you for looking too professional.
All in all, if you take anything away from this post, let it be that your clothing should act as a clean slate for your personality to show through. You want to present yourself as clean and professional, but while your clothing does do some of the talking, it is how eloquently you preset your ideas that ultimately land you the job. Make sure to follow our “Office Chic” Pinterest board for more outfit inspiration.