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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 

 

Ask Faux Fancy: What to Wear on an Interview for a Casually-Attired Job

Kristen Berry

Ever watch shows like Mad Men (ahem, Joan Harris) or House of Cards (Claire Underwood’s wardrobe -- swoon!) and wish you could dress like that at the office without feeling ridiculously out of place?

For the vast majority of us, business casual is the norm at the office -- with the “business” aspect being somewhat optional. This makes interviewing for and starting a new job somewhat complicated, wardrobe-wise.

We recently received a question on this topic from a reader:

I have an upcoming interview … the job description wasn't clear, but it seems like I might be on my feet a lot. I want to look professional and be comfortable at the same time.  Any clothing and shoe suggestions?

- E

The Interview

With the exception of the most formal of jobs, a full suit is no longer expected at an interview. However, no matter how casual the position, what you choose to wear to this meeting is a demonstration of how seriously you are taking the opportunity, and how much you want it.

My go-to interview combination is usually a top and a skirt, or a top, skirt and blazer trio. I tend to favor skirts, but you can easily sub in a pair of pants for this look. Incorporating a bit of color adds personality, and keeps the look from being stuffy.

The Job

Once you snag your new gig, it’s definitely important to strike a balance between comfortable and professional. A job that requires you to spend quite a bit of time on your feet poses a special challenge.

To tackle this matter, start with the shoes. Fancy flats can be both comfy and chic, and work year-round. In the warmer months, you can also pepper in wedge sandals; while there’s still snow on the ground, ankle booties with a low, chunky heel can also work wonders.

Left to Right: Nine West Crudenza Ankle Strap Sandals, $99 at NineWest.com. Plume Robin Pointed Ballet Flats, $38 at Target.com. Aldo Ceilla Booties in Black Suede, on sale for $60 at Aldo.com.

Left to Right:

Nine West Crudenza Ankle Strap Sandals, $99 at NineWest.com.

Plume Robin Pointed Ballet Flats, $38 at Target.com.

Aldo Ceilla Booties in Black Suede, on sale for $60 at Aldo.com.

Once you’ve nailed that down, investing in a few key separates -- pants, skirts and blouses -- that you can mix and match can take you very far. Opt for items in breathable fabrics with a bit of stretch in them. That will help keep you comfortable on a long day. Old Navy, H&M, Zara and Nordstrom Rack are among my go-to destinations, along with the sale section at J. Crew.

Best of luck at your interview, E!

- Kristen