What to wear for an interview, what is business casual, and what to wear with green pants?
Yes, these are some of the top-searched phrases on the internet every day.
You’re getting ready to head to a big job interview, you have no idea what to wear to an interview for this company, and you read online that you should be following that vague and dreaded term, business casual.
It’s difficult enough to figure out what to wear on any given day (although, planning ahead the night before is always a good idea). But what happens when you’ve got a big meeting? A Zoom™ call from home with an important customer (or your child’s teacher)? An evening award ceremony for a non-profit? There are an infinite number of event possibilities (yes, even with social distancing and quarantine!), and just as many outfit options!
We’ve put together an easy-to-use guide with options and suggestions for some of the main situations in which you might find yourself.
Still looking for ways to wear those green pants you bought on an impulse? Here’s a great place to start.
It's all in the details.
No matter the situation, pay attention to the small things (they make a big difference!). Here are a few great places to start:
- Brush your teeth
- Wash/comb your hair
- Make sure clothing is ironed or pressed with no wrinkles, stains, tears, etc.
- In a business setting, dress so that you would feel comfortable if you had an unexpected meeting with a client or your boss.
- When in doubt, dress it up … a bit. You don’t want to be under-, or over-, dressed.
What does this even mean? It’s probably one of the most common dress categories in existence. The worst part? It doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere, but it’s generally one of the most flexible categories of dress and can be tailored to many situations (like what to wear in an interview!). Generally speaking, we like to view business casual as the following:
- Button down/casual collared shirt/blouse
- Dark jeans/pants/slacks/skirt
- Modest dress
The idea behind this level of dress is to present yourself in a clearly professional way. Many companies see business professional as the norm. Accounting offices, banks, government or law offices, or finance companies may see this as everyday dress. Some items to consider:
- Modest-length dress/skirt
- Suit (pants, skirt)
- Professional dress shoes
Evening event? (Lucky you!) Think award ceremonies, benefits, special dinners, etc. This is where “Business Formal” might come in. Looking at the list below, it sounds a lot like “Business Professional,” but think of it as a notch above.
- Modest-length dress
- Dark suit (pant, skirt, or dress)
- Professional dress shoes
What happens when there’s no dress code?!
The best solution for no dress code is your very best educated guess. Ask others who are attending the same event or meeting, or … when all else fails, use Pinterest™ (or your favorite search). Use search terms based around the situation, like “business casual men” or “business professional women.” Obviously, searches like this will bring up all kinds of results! Many of them will not be feasible financially, so just make something work with what you already have! If you do wind up wanting to purchase something new to add to an outfit, there are a lot of different options: Try a local consignment shop, borrow from a friend or family member, or shop the sales!
Another option to help guide your direction is to find someone you look up to in a “fashion” sense and ask them a few questions! More than likely, if you like the way they dress, they’ll love to talk about it. Ask about which stores they shop, or even maybe what they might wear to the upcoming event or meeting that you’re gearing up to attend.
You don't need it all.
Minimalist fashion is IN (always), and a few basic wardrobe pieces can really get you a long way. Tailor these ideas to fit your schedule and situation. Got a Zoom meeting with your boss or a big client or customer? Go with business professional (at least from the waist up!). Got a FaceTime call with your child’s teacher? Business casual is probably your best bet. Again, there are no set guidelines to strictly follow, but we’re sure you can find something for every occasion to make you feel comfortable, fit the situation, and be confident!
Need a boost in that self confidence beyond a good outfit? Read our blog post on Self Confidence Building in Ten Steps.
What's your favorite place to get inspiration for fashion?
Share with us in the comments below!