Would you ever pick your nose during an interview?
Of course you wouldn’t. But according to a recent study, dressing poorly for a job interview is just as offensive as digging for gold in front of your interviewer.
In fact, the majority of interviewers decide within the first 30 seconds whether or not they would offer you the job based on how you’re dressed. If you don’t look the part, you’re given the mental axe before your interview has even started.
When it comes to your career, the benefits of dressing well go far beyond winning over an interviewer. Statistics show that employees who don professional threads in the workplace are 41% more likely to be promoted. Wearing formal clothing has even been proven to boost confidence. It also makes your colleagues perceive you as more intelligent.
Have I justified your shopping spree yet?
Clothing styles and trends are constantly changing. But having a few classic pieces in your closet that you can mix and match will go a long way when it comes to reaping all the pros that come with dressing professionally.
To help streamline your shopping trip, I sat down with millennial fashion stylist Kirsty Bryant to bring you the five staples we feel should absolutely be incorporated into your professional wardrobe.
“Blazers are the fashion staple to every corporate outfit,” Kirsty says. “You can own a few in solid colors such as black, navy and khaki, and pair them with colorful printed shirts.” Why the neutral color palette? Studies show that black and navy blue are the preferred colors of hiring managers when it comes to interview attire. In fact, wearing black can even make your peers view you as a leader.
Finding a high quality, affordable blazer can be a bit of a challenge. When my clients are looking for an interview outfit, I always suggest they take a look at the sale racks at Zara. Stores and websites like Nordstrom Rack or Last Call are also ideal for finding name brand blazers at clearance prices.
2. Comfortable shoes
If you’re going in for an interview, the last thing you want to wear are high heels that make you feel uncomfortable, or worse, that you might trip in. And if you can barely last through an interview in those shoes, forget trying to wear them through your entire workday.
Body language is responsible for 55% of a person’s impression of you. You want to put yourself forward as someone who’s comfortable in their own skin – and their own shoes.
Kirsty recommends a pair of sturdy, comfortable flats with some embellishment or flair—just for fun. She recommends black or nude for women.
3. A matched suit
A matched suit is a must. It makes you look instantly put together and professional. There’s actually research to suggest that wearing a suit makes you more adept at taking criticism, and can even make you feel more powerful. Instead of outdated flare pants, find a set that comes with skinny trousers. Buy the set in a neutral color– you don’t want to stand out in a bad way… The only exception to this is if you work in an industry that encourages stylistic creativity (fashion, design, etc.). This is also one of those times that you might want to spring for a tailor – especially if you find that the sleeves or pants are a bit long, but that the suit fits perfectly everywhere else.
4. A professional bag
Your Jansport backpack circa 2006 is not going to cut it in the professional world. Even if you’re carrying along your gym clothes and a packed lunch, there’s no reason to show up to your office (or worse, an interview) looking like a bag lady. Not to mention, backpacks take a physical toll on your posture. Poor posture can leave you feeling less confident, and drains positivity, so it’s important to make sure your workbag doesn’t weigh you down! Kirsty recommends leather or faux leather tote bags in brown, grey or black.
5. Printed blouses
Blouses with patterns help to breathe some life into your wardrobe without making you appear too dressed down. Plus, they pair well with solid blazers and trousers. Shirts with green, yellow, orange and purple coloring can actually make you appear more creative to your co-workers. As Kirsty puts it, “This is where you can spice things up. Add colors and patterns to break up the monotony of pencil skirts and slacks.”
Want to increase your chances at a promotion, land your dream job, make more money, feel more confident and appear more intelligent?
Your wardrobe counts. Own it.