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Successful Women's Dress Attire

The primary goal in dressing for an interview is to feel great about ones appearance, while projecting an image that meets the requirements of the position and company. Learn to analyze the public image of the companies one desires to work for. Later, your own plan begins with an analysis of the position, the type of company, and what one personally wants or needs to say through dress.

Some interviewers will decide in the first sixty seconds whether they are interested in you or not (based on personal impressions) and will then spend the remainder of the interview validating their snap judgment. Your appearance and dress are perceived as a statement of who you are. Professionalism is your goal. The language of dress may speak without words, but it is never silent.

Suits:
Style: Conservative, matching 2 or 3 piece suit. Job experts and employers seem split on the notion of pants suits, so a skirted suit is a safer choice.
Color: Navy blue, gray or brown. Black least preferred. No pastels. Solid or muted patterns are preferred.

Skirt:
Style: Straight or A-lined preferred. Should cover knees when standing.
Fabric: Wool, linen, or quality fiber blends.

Blouse:
Style: Classic style is best: tailored, long or short sleeved, high neckline. Shells are acceptable.
Color: White or cream is best. Pale pastel shades are acceptable.
Fabric: Cotton, silk, or quality blends.

Neckline:
It is recommended to have something at the neck. It can be a broach, pin, pearls, rosette, bow, scarf, or tie. Scarves: patterns or solid colors that coordinate with outfit. Pocket squares are appropriate.

Hosiery:
Style: Skin color or transparent: NO colors or patterns.

Shoes:
Style: A simple closed toe pump with mid-sized heel. Sling back acceptable. Clean and well polished. Shoes should not be flat nor should the heels exceed 2-1/2 inches in height.
Color: Should match your suit: black, navy, dark brown, cordovan, burgundy, and taupe.

Hair:
Style: Hair should be professional and conservative in style. Preferred short or shoulder length. Style not extreme or distracting. Pulled back out of face if long.

Jewelry:
Earrings: Small gold, silver, or pearls are appropriate (one pair only).
Necklace: Gold or silver chain or pearl strand.
Bracelet: None for interviewing. On the job a small gold or silver. NO jangles.
Rings: Simple styles. A maximum of one per hand.
Watches: Slim and simple.

Accessories:
Carry a case or handbag; never both at the same time. Purse should be a simple medium size, color coordinated with your outfit.

Makeup: should be subtle, a minimal amount.
Nails: neatly manicured, about 1/8th inch beyond the fingertip, with clear or lightly tinted polish.
Perfume: should be light (no fragrance is preferred).

References:
Allen, Jeffrey. How to Turn an Interview Into a Job. Simon & Schuster, 1983.
Golden, N. Dress Right for Business. New York: McGraw- Hill, 1986.
Tolman, R. A Woman’s Guide to Business and Social Success. New York: MPC Educational Publishers.
Cantore, Jean Ann. If the Suit Fits. Graduating Engineer, A Peterson’s/COG Publication, April 1994.
http://www.whatwhyweb.com/business/business_attire.htm. 2002.



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