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what to wear: to a creative interview

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blazer: Forever 21 (similar) // top: Nordstrom Rack (similar) // jeans: Forever 21 // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar) // necklace: Apricot Lane Boutique

Photos by Briley Noel

Since a big part of this blog is about growing up, I wanted to share the interview outfit that helped me get my new job. I actually had three interviews for this position, but I wore outfits you’ve already seen for the first two (here and here). This final interview was with the owner of the company and our web traffic guru. Deciding what to wear to an interview for a creative position in a technological industry took some extra thinking on my part. Here’s how I came up with the look.

First I knew I needed to have some traditional interview elements to my outfit, which in this case were a blazer and relying on a black color scheme for a sleek and professional look. The second piece of criteria was showing my personality in the outfit. The third aspect, and the one I hadn’t had to dress to before, was nailing the vibe of the creative industry.

I did my research on the interviewers beforehand and found that they both worked in the tech field in Austin, which has a very specific look: blue jeans, plaid button downs, and converse. It’s also worth noting that this was the only interview where I would be meeting with men. These techy men weren’t going to be impressed by a pencil skirt and heels, mostly because that isn’t how people dress in their world. It would have been out of character for the industry, which is not how I wanted to appear. It was most important to me that I looked like I could “hang,” like I already belonged. For this reason, I decided on black jeans and a blazer.

If you’ve been keeping up with my 25 before 25 list, then you know that I do not own a black blazer. This one article of clothing has eluded me for as long as I’ve been dressing. The blazer I own and wear frequently is actually a hand-me-up from my younger brother, which he initially wore to his second grade consecration in our synagogue. This is to say that I haven’t really grown up top, if you know what I mean, which makes blazer shopping especially difficult. Women’s blazers expect you to be shaped like a certain kind of woman, and I’ve just never filled them out properly. Because of my experience and short time span to find a completer piece for my interview outfit, I started searching online for flat-front blazers with the tuxedo style lapels and no buttons. Blazers that are meant to be worn closed don’t fit me right, so it seemed to me that an open blazer might be a better option.

I found myself in Forever 21 about 45 minutes to closing on a Wednesday evening with a handful of black blazers in various styles. The clear winner was a sleek black blazer with ruched, cropped sleeves, flat-front lapels, no buttons, and, to my surprise, no collar. I had never considered that the collar was an element I could lose in a blazer and still look professional, but I love how this particular blazer has less attention-drawing elements, keeping it from being bulky and making it easier to wear. Consider this goal from my 25 before 25 crossed off the list!

Because I try to avoid wearing black and white for interviews (all I see is cater waiter!), I went with my favorite black printed blouse under the blazer.

The last part of the outfit I needed to figure out was shoes! As I said before, heels weren’t right for this interview. I usually wear flats to interviews, but I felt like I needed something to dress the outfit up a little. I decided on my booties for the added height and confidence, plus I love how they emphasize the creative take on an otherwise pretty normal outfit.

I felt incredibly comfortable and confident in this outfit, and it was probably the best I’ve ever done in an interview. I’ve said it a million times, but I absolutely believe in the power of the right outfit. Spending the extra time putting together the right pieces for the specific setting was worth it, and obviously paid off because I got the job!
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