Updated: Nov 12, 2020
Dressing for success can help you make a lasting first impression when walking into an interview. But what if you're on a tight budget? And how exactly does Zoom play a part in your wardrobe choices? Consider these tips and tricks from fashion expert Naomi Ellis, a Faculty Associate for Arizona State University's School of Art.
Quality and fit over quantity
The first step when picking out that perfect interview outfit is to make sure you're wearing something that fits. Are your clothes constantly wrinkled? This is a clear sign the fit isn't quite right. Also, make sure to purchase good-quality pieces that are going to last you for a long time. Avoid cluttering your wardrobe with "trendy" styles that don't match anything else you wear.
Research the company
A best practice to follow is to dress business formal in any interview setting. However, do research the company before heading into that interview. Some industries are a little more casual, like a highly creative industry. You may consider a more business casual look, or something that showcases your personality a little more boldly. It's always best to be overdressed than underdressed in any interview setting.
Once you've secured the job, you can ease your style into your day-to-day outfits. But, don't go overboard. Best practice: Choose one item that pops and keep everything else neutral. You can consider wearing a fun tie, a colorful blouse, unique socks, etc.
Style for Zoom
Appearances in person may not always translate to Zoom, so be sure to review your appearance on Zoom before an interview or important meeting. Avoid wearing busy patterns that could be distracting. Choose a statement item to show some personality, like a necklace or a watch. If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean before turning your camera on. (The smudges could be visible on Zoom!)
When styling your hair, keep it simple, neat and clean. Your hair should frame your face nicely. If you choose to wear makeup, make sure you don't over do it on the contour (this could actually make you look younger and potentially lead employers to take you less seriously.) Consider how your blush, bronzer, brows and lip color will come across on camera. (Is your lighting washing you out? Are you interviewing in low light?) You may even consider applying your makeup via your Zoom camera!
Shop with purpose
Avoid shopping on impulse. Keep a list of things that you could add to your wardrobe as a whole. A good rule of thumb when making a clothing purchase is to ask yourself this: Will this item work with three or more other pieces that are already in my wardrobe? If the answer is no, you may want to pass. Consider sticking with classic, timeless pieces that never go out of style.
Shopping for quality clothes shouldn't break the bank. Shop around consignment stores, thrift shops and clothing resale sites for designer brands at a more affordable cost. If some pieces don't fit exactly right, consider taking them too a tailor to fix a hem or bring in a waist. Tailoring your clothes to fit you exactly will give them more value in the long run.
Resale shopping resources:
Do's and Don'ts
Here's a list of some do's and don'ts when going into your next internship or job interview.
Reduce the visibility of your tattoos and piercings. (You don't need to hide them, but make sure they are not distracting to the employer.)
Keep your hair color updated and trimmed regularly.
Keep your nails cleaned and manicured.
Use makeup to enhance your natural beauty and stick to neutral colors.
Wear a hat or other distracting headwear (unless it is for religious purposes.)
Wear ill-fitting clothing (clothes that are wrinkled, too long or too tight.)
Over perfume yourself.
Wear too much jewelry.
Apply heavy makeup.
To learn more about these and other best practices, stream the full discussion here. This workshop was originally recorded during the 2020 Fine Tune Friday series hosted by the Cronkite School.
More About Fine Tune Fridays:
Fine Tune Fridays offer students tips on how to fine-tune their professional persona from their resume to their wardrobe. Workshops are open to all Cronkite students and alumni, and are hosted virtually via Zoom. For a full schedule of upcoming events, visit: www.cronkitecareerservices.com/fine-tune-fridays.