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How to Dress For Interview Success During the Recession

Theory at ShopStyle

If you asked your grandmother for interview fashion tips, she'd probably advise to "dress for the job you want, not the job you have," but the professionals seem to think now is the time to simply play it safe. Wearing casual or unusual clothes in times of economic success can be a positive because it gives the impression you're a risk-taker, but that's not what employers are looking for given the current market.

Sandy Ruddock, who is the founder of image consultants Public i, recommends plain dark suits and white shirts for men and a simple jacket, skirt and blouse combo for a woman. My general rule for interview attire is to dress one step up from the company's dress code (unless of course their dress code is extremely formal). So, if employees adhere to business casual guidelines, you should wear a suit for your interview.

I think it's most important to focus on the overall success of your interview and the things you shouldn't do, but it's clear first impressions go a long way. What would you wear if you had an interview right now?

Join The Conversation
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
I'm just now getting back into interviews, but being boring seems like a bad idea in this economy. I'm not saying "take risks" with your look at this point, but wearing a nice, flattering colorful blouse probably isn't going to make someone think, consciously or subconsciously that you're too much of a wild child for the job. It'll make you slightly more memorable, like Kim said. If you wearing a pink or green blouse instead of a white one is the reason they didn't hire you... they probably weren't interested in hiring you in the first place, I'm afraid.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I hate dressing for interviews.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Yeah, I always wear my skirt suit with a blouse to interviews. I usually try to mix it up a bit by wearing a brightly colored blouse, though. It helps to give the interviewer something distinguishable to remember you by, especially when there are multitudes of people interviewing for one or two positions. When I worked in retail, I did dress a little more casually for interviews. I just tried to wear something from the store I was interviewing for, but still dressed it up a little.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
For most interviews I've gone to, I wore a black knee-length skirt and a white blouse with a black blazer. And heels, since I'm short. I heard somewhere that taller people are taken more seriously than short people, so I try to look as tall as possible. Sometimes I'm more dressed up than the interviewer, which is better than being underdressed I guess.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Agreed, mondaymoos. I'd probably wear my same black suit if I was interviewing at McDonalds!
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
I don't have a suit. I would probably wear a skirt and blouse with a nice blazer if I really had to gussy it up. Normally I wear a dress in a neutral color.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
Sandy Ruddock thinks that women can just wear a jacket and blouse to an interview? With no pants?!?! How scandalous! Although, it would make you memorable... :)
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
My black suit with dark blue button up shirt. Same thing I always wear for interviews. You should always wear something professional for a job interview.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
My skirt suit... same as before. It doesn't matter if it's a super casual environment. You should still look uber-professional for an interview.
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