About Robin Edwards: Robin is a self-proclaimed shopaholic who absolutely loves scoring the BEST deals around town. She’s a gorgeous mom & media maven who has her finger on the pulse of “what’s what” in the social media landscape. I first met Robin on twitter while community managing for a company called WagJag – she really helped me out with some promotions I was executing over the holidays. Later, I moved over to Shopcatch - and had the pleasure of consulting Robin on a number of projects (not to mention sparking a true admiration for her, and her extensive knowledge of retail and social media). I’m proud to call Robin a friend, so naturally I sent her an email asking if she’d be open to writing a bit about finding clothes for job interviews and the corporate world. Once again, Robin has delivered – enjoy this great post about getting the look (and the job) for less!
Looking for a new job usually means the joyful process of interviews. While you should dust off your resumé, you should also polish up your wardrobe, since making a good first impression is a key part of nailing the position you really want. Being sharply dressed and well-groomed can be almost as important as previous experience and the number of degrees under your belt, or at least could fool them into thinking you look the part.
What you need to purchase to outfit yourself perfectly doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and all the pieces that you need are those that should be an essential part of your wardrobe regardless of where you work. Think of them as the basics – pieces that will take you from work to a date to jury duty.
Guys need a nice pair of dress pants, a crisp dress shirt, and a stand-out tie. If you’re interviewing for the Vice President of International Corporate Banking, a jacket would definitely be appropriate. Check out the choices at H & M, where you can find a veritable rainbow of men’s superbly cut dress shirts for a mere $29.95, as well as jackets that range in price from $49.95 to $149. And you can easily pick up a nice designer tie at Winners or Marshalls that will only look expensive.
I love the Banana Republic Factory Store for finding really well made career clothes at incredible pricing. Sign up for their emails and you’ll receive a welcome discount offer as well as notification of upcoming sales events. And I always check out the clearance section where you can score some amazing deals. Last week I found men’s suit jackets that were regularly $179 for a mere $39.99.
Girls can go with pants or a skirt, just follow some of the same rules. Basic black or gray bottoms and the ubiquitous crisp shirt. Check out the Gap for their ‘perfect shirt’ for $49.50, which offers a beautifully tailored fit and a quality which will last for years. Jazz it up with some bold jewelry or a bright scarf.
Don’t be afraid to shop in places you may never have thought of to score some great basics at unbelievable prices. Walmart has a fantastic selection of career dress pants and basic shirts from their George™ line, with a variety of pants in modern cuts available from as little as $20.
One of the most important things to make sure of before you leave the house – check that your shoes are clean and polished if necessary. One of my little tricks to spiff up a pair of black shoes is to grab a Sharpie marker and colour in any worn spots, just a couple of dabs of ink can make a huge difference. My mother always said you can tell a person’s pride by the way the care for their shoes.
Always carry extra gum or mints with you. There is absolutely nothing worse than speaking to someone and having to inhale their latte breath or remnants of the extra onions you got on your sub at lunch, but never, EVER chew gum during the interview. And NEVER wear flip flops – unless you’re interviewing at the Head Office of Havaianas.
And don’t forget the most important thing to wear – CONFIDENCE! With enough of it, you’ll be sitting in the big corner office in no time at all, and your assistant will gratefully polish your shoes for you.
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