Author Topic: Women's interview clothes. Help?  (Read 4825 times)

Cranberries

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Women's interview clothes. Help?
« on: February 07, 2016, 05:09:43 PM »
I have my first in person career track interview scheduled for the end of the month, and need to go clothes shopping.

West coast, HCOL area, natural resource field sciences. The job is for a government agency, and would be almost entirely field based.

I am a tall, busty, reasonably fit woman who has always had trouble getting off the rack clothes to look ok on me. I usually get my shirts tailored. I am clueless about suits. Thrift stores are probably not a viable option considering how rare it is to find stuff that fits well enough to be tailorable, and my lack of skill in distinguishing what is out of date.

My questions: Do I need a suit? If I don't, what do I wear? If I do, where would you suggest I look considering my fit issues?




lizh

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 05:15:05 PM »
Sounds like a job that you would wear pants and be somewhat casual most days in the field.

I don't think you need a suit, but I would wear a suit jacket with matching pants.  For example black jacket with grey pants.  Along with somewhat dressy shoes.
Hope this helps,
Liz

MsPeacock

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2016, 05:39:14 PM »
Ann Taylor, and just plan to need alterations. Buy a  jacket that fits in the shoulders and the rest can be altered. They sell good suiting pieces and have pants in a few different fits.

Maybe I am an old traditionalist, but I would wear a suit to a job interview.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2016, 06:06:22 PM »
I work in a professional level job where I wear jeans to work daily. I interview in a suit. If not a suit at least a stylish outfit, but to me, that's harder to do.

pbkmaine

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2016, 06:15:42 PM »
Suit separates work great if you are a different size top and bottom. Ann Taylor has good sales; look for them. But I agree that you may also need a tailor. Or you could try Brooks Brothers, if they are near you, and use their in-house tailor.

the lorax

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2016, 07:39:56 PM »
I hired a bunch of natural resource types in my previous role (mostly ecologists). I'd say you wouldn't need to wear a suit, just a smart top and trousers or skirt, cardigan if cold etc. I am NZ based though so we may be a bit more relaxed.

lbmustache

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2016, 08:48:39 PM »
No suits. Maybe just a blouse (aka button up shirt or something else reasonably professional) and dress pants. You can add a blazer if you'd like, or a cardigan.

I like: Target, H&M, and Express for well-fitting, professional looking clothes.

Goldielocks

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2016, 11:22:47 PM »
About 35% of interview candidates like you describe wear a suit to our BC based interviews.  There are a lot of geologists and environmental scientists in the field like you described, and most are quite adverse to the suit culture, so don't do it even on job interviews.

Dress slacks, button / collared shirt (not a golf shirt), blazer or professional sweater (cardi), accessories abit more tailored and professional.  * as a woman, I add a necklace, for example, even if I would not wear in the field..


cheddarpie

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2016, 11:40:30 PM »
Blazer and slacks. I would expect government to be a little more conservative in terms of dress, but West coast you don't need a full suit.

I am also tall. Ann Taylor doesn't fit me. I like BR or Old Navy or Lands End (free tailoring!) for pants, and I have a couple of blazers from target as well as one from Nordstrom (where you can also get tailoring). I would wear  a nice, clean/new/not faded knit shirt in a solid color for under the jacket, not a button down. Good luck!

shelivesthedream

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2016, 02:10:26 AM »
Wear suit trousers (not plain black, either navy, charcoal or subtle pinstripe); a shirt (either plain white, plain pastel or subtle stripe); wear a coloured jumper or cardigan (fitted, round neck or v neck, plain). Wear a small necklace. Wear a watch. Wear either low heels or brogues/Oxfords or ballet pumps as you feel comfortable in a colour that matches your trousers.

You'll look smart (shirt, suit trousers), put together (nicely matching outfit) but not overly formal.

jrhampt

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2016, 10:32:39 AM »
I am also tall and busty and have trouble getting button-down shirts to fit.  My solution was usually a jersey sheath dress of some kind of stretchy material and a suit jacket on top.  All black is easiest.

sstants

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2016, 10:40:19 AM »
Sounds like you and I have a similar body type. I've found what is somewhat of a work 'uniform' for me that works quite well. Take some time to get a good pair of black dress pants, I like JCrew, because they make some with some stretch that are tapered (good for wearing inside boots).

Because I spend on the pants, I save on the tops. I love consignment stores and I look for neutral colored silk blouses. Tuck it into the pants for the interview, wear some simple shoes and you're all set. You can always put a sweater on over if it gets cold.

I'm not much of an accessorizer, but you can always add jewelry or a scarf if that's your thing. I find that the dark pant/silk shirt combo always looks great and passes as dressier, but you don't stand out too much if everyone in the office is wearing jeans.

Whatever you do, don't buy something just for the interview! Make sure you will wear it to work or out with friends. Nice silk tops look great with jeans on the weekend too.

Cranberries

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2016, 07:11:32 PM »
Thank you all for your help! I think I am going to end up buying a suit. I received a pm from someone in my area telling me that in their experience suits are expected, and I would hate to blow the interview over something like this. It has been awesome getting feedback from multiple people on the topic.


Elliot

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2016, 07:29:45 PM »
I wore navy ponte pants (old navy has 'em cheap!) and a dark blue boucle jacket over a cream colored shell. Not a suit, but "nice" and appropriate for hospital management.

MrsPete

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2016, 11:29:50 AM »
In your field, is it likely that your interviewer will be wearing a suit?  If so, you wear one too.  If your interviewer is likely to be wearing something more casual, then you can go a bit more casual too -- like a less tailored jacket, which does suit those of us who are busty.  Suits are not our friends; they make us look heavy. 

This is one of the few situations in life where I'd say, Do whatever it takes to look right.  Use the credit card.  Pay for the alterations. 

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2016, 04:35:15 PM »
Here are some non-suit options. I've been offered a professional (read: white collar, degree required, office setting) job wearing each of these combinations. I also have (off the) rack issues and typically just avoid button-downs.

A blazer (dark color and single button will probably work best), knit top (pop of color, a pattern or some sort of interest) and slacks or a knee-length skirt
Business dress- Knee length, conservative neckline, clean lines, no tacky details, neutral color of your choice. Wear with pumps and tasteful (subtle) jewelry.
Dress with blazer. If you're adding the blazer your dress can be a little less stuffy (non-neutral color or patterned). Keep it knee-length and cleavage-free. A quick note on tights: opaque black is probably your best bet.

Being confident in what you're wearing is more important than wearing a suit. If you can't feel comfortable in anything less than an actual suit, then by all means buy one, but I don't think they're necessary outside the most conservative professions (namely law and finance).

For inspiration on what's current in business attire look at White House Black Market, Ann Taylor, J Crew and Banana Republic. You can likely recreate all of the outfits listed above at your local thrift store. No luck at the thrift store? Outlet malls and TJ Maxx are your friend.

LouLou

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Re: Women's interview clothes. Help?
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2016, 07:18:41 PM »
Thank you all for your help! I think I am going to end up buying a suit. I received a pm from someone in my area telling me that in their experience suits are expected, and I would hate to blow the interview over something like this. It has been awesome getting feedback from multiple people on the topic.

I am busty and suits are mandatory for interviews in my field (law).  I wear a suiting sheath dress with a matching jacket to interviews.  I have a Jcrew suit for interviews, and I wear a suit from the Limited with those same pieces to court.  When I wear one of my pants or skirt suits, I wear a suiting top like this:

http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/calvin-klein-sleeveless-suiting-top?ID=479672&pla_country=US&CAGPSPN=pla&CAWELAID=120156340000305118&catargetid=120156340003017424&cadevice=c&cm_mmc=Google_Womens_PLA-_-RTW+Womens_Women%27s+Tops+-+GS_Calvin+Klein-_-73589328421_-_-_mkwid_oegROyIj

There is no cleavage, no buttons to deal with, and I have been able to wear it through several cup size increases.  Good luck!