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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Find the interview ensemble that suits you best

    Ginny Polin
    Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Katie Kahler a junior in the college of marketing and Alex Feldman senior also in marketing, demonstrate what you should ware to a job interview.

    We’re nearing the end of spring, which means we’re quickly approaching summer, which means it’s time to figure out what to do once we survive finals week. Some students will return to their aprons at a restaurant in their hometown, while others will prepare for hours and hours of summer school. For some students, April means interviews — real ones in a conference room for an internship or (heaven forbid!) a real job.

    Imagine it: A brigade of human resources personnel grills you about how you’ve proven yourself as a leader just weeks after you danced on a bar in Mexico during spring break. Not exactly the easiest task in the world.

    Now, more than ever, how you present yourself is just as important as your resume. From the moment you check in, you’ll be watched and judged on how you act and what you’re wearing. Unless you’ve been told or forced through the business college, sometimes it’s hard to know what constitutes as “”heck yes”” or “”hell no”” when it comes to what to wear for an interview.  Feeling confident in an outfit means you can worry about your intellectual assets rather than your physical ones.


    Men are a lot luckier in this respect. From cocktail parties to professional interviews, what you gentlemen have to wear is essentially the same. Generally suits are a staple for more formal interviews. While fitted suits from Express and J. Crew are much more youthful and fashionable than those from Men’s Wearhouse or Dillard’s, they tend to be pricier. Either way, a nice outfit is an investment you’ll wear for years.


    Pay attention to your dress shoes. It’s easy to get shoes dusty in Tucson, so spend some quality time with the shoeshine.

    Have a belt color that matches your shoes. Black shoes and a brown belt are a no-go.

    Wear white or light colored button ups.  

    Visit a tailor. Even with a relatively cheap suit, a nice fit looks like a million bucks. Otherwise, you’ll look like a little boy wearing your dad’s clothes.


    Don white socks. Period. Never, ever, ever. Just no. Same for ankle socks.

    Buy obnoxious suit colors. While black, navy and even dark gray are popular, brown and white suits are not. Also, no obvious pinstripes. You’re a student, not a gangsta.

    Go crazy on the tie front — no greens or purples. Save the Miller Lite, light-up or crazy colored ties for costume parties.

    Forget the iron. It’s not the plague. YouTube it.


    When it comes to what to wear for interviews, picking out an outfit as a woman is a much more daunting prospect. Should you wear a silky blouse or a button-up? What about wearing a jacket as opposed to a long-sleeve shirt?

    And then there’s always the pantsuit vs. skirt suit debate. From Marie Claire to doctorate theses, the issue has been highly debated in terms of how it affects your interviewer. Even now, it’s hard to prove that sexism is not still an issue when it comes to white-collar jobs and interviews. Skirt suits are more traditional and undoubtedly more feminine than their legged counterpart. Most experts suggest wearing a skirt suit to stay on the safe side for the first interview, though that call is really up to you.  

    Thankfully, with so many different options, it’s hard to really go wrong as long as you avoid the big no-nos. There’s a lot more that you can do right than wrong for that first meeting. More choices mean more places to buy different pieces — New York & Company, Express, Banana Republic … the list goes on and on. Again, look at where you’re interviewing or people currently working there to figure out what outfit combination will work the best for you.


    Wear a solid button-up blouse. No plaid, no polka dots, no horizontal stripes. Pick a color that’s not too flashy, but complements your skin and hair color.

    Style your hair out of your face. So trim up those fringe bangs and bust out the bobby pins.

    Wear makeup. Just not too much. You want to look like neither a painted clown nor a cavewoman.


    Be too sexy. While it’s fine in this day and age to accentuate your curves, you want interviewers to be engrossed by your intelligence and wit, not your cleavage.

    Similar to the advice above, avoid towering, platformed, eff-me heels at all cost. You have your dancing shoes. Great. Just don’t wear them to an interview.

    Wear perfume. When you sweat (which you will), it’ll smell as overwhelming as a bathroom during high school prom.

    Throw on jewelry that clinks and clanks. Noise = distraction.


    For both men and women, you have to dress for the industry that you’re interviewing for. Clearly, a law office means a professional suit. However, you might just get away with a double-breasted jacket or a floral pencil skirt if your dream job is in fashion or advertising. Location also means a lot. Tucson is not nearly as formal as New York City. Do the research or just ask what to wear when scheduling the interview.

    What you wear should reflect and respect the occasion. Always dress just a bit more formal than that company’s dress code. For example, if T-shirts and jeans are the norm, slacks or a skirt and a long-sleeved button-down shirt. If they’re in slacks and button-down shirts, wear a suit.    

    If you walk into a room full of fellow interviewees decked out in Armani, don’t give up. In the end, it’s all about how you present yourself. You’d be amazed how many people come in for interviews with poor posture and limp handshakes. Or just plain late. All the better for you.

    Every interview is different, as is the company and student interviewing for the position. In the end, what you wear is only a small part of how much you’ll rock the meeting. If you look good, you’ll feel good, and your interview will be great. Happy hunting!

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