By Mikki Collier • February 05, 2010•Writers in Residence
Ed. note: Couture-at-law appears as part of Ms. JD's Writers in Residence publications. Every day we will be featuring content from our WIR's monthly columns. More information about the WIR and the 2010 WIR posts is available here.
We have all heard the warning: "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." No where is this statement more applicable than when interviewing for a job. Regardless of how stellar your credentials are, the first judgment a potential employer makes is going to be based on the image you present. Therefore, you want to wear an outfit that is polished and professional, thus shifting the focus of the interviewer away from your appearance and back to where it belongs - your stellar credentials and accomplishments. With that said, I suggest observing the guidelines below when choosing interview attire.
- Suit on Mute. The legal profession is, at its core, extremely conservative. With this in mind, choose classic interview suits in solid, muted colors, such as dark greys, navys, or blacks. The suit should also be well tailored, fit comfortably, and be an appropriate length.
- Pant Suit vs. Skirt Suit. There is still debate as to whether or not a pant suit is the most appropriate choice for an interview. Because the legal profession is so conservative, the best option is still a skirt suit. That’s right, I said it! Sexism, feminism, and all other ‘isms’ temporarily aside, the general rule is that skirt suits convey a more professional, conservative image than do pant suits. While I don’t necessarily agree, I do say that if you want the job, stick to convention and wear the skirt suit. The skirt should be knee-length or slightly above the knee and should drape over the body. If you experience difficulty sitting, walking, or breathing while wearing the skirt, it doesn’t fit.
- The Top Spot. A crisp, white, button-down business shirt is a powerful and sophisticated choice. If you prefer a more feminine silhouette, an appropriate alternative is a solid cami worn underneath the blazer. Regardless of the top you choose, be mindful of the fit- tight, gaping, or revealing tops should be avoided at all costs.
- Shoes Matter. Next, and equally as important to creating a polished and professional overall look, are the shoes! Choose closed-toe shoes with a moderately high heel, again, in muted colors. Be sure to have your shoes polished or shined prior to the interview. A potential employer will not be impressed with scuffed, shabby shoes.
- Accessorize Wisely. Go for nondescript, modest jewelry, such as small pearl or diamond earrings, a simple understated necklace, and one ring. You want to grab the interviewer’s attention with your words, not blind her with your bling.