$150 Challenge: Job Interview

Had I found it earlier, this suit would have been pick of the week. It's on clearance at Victoria's Secret and comes in black, brown or rose tweed. The pants and vest together are under $70. Combine that with 70% clearance at Naturalizer, and you have one highly professional outfit for under $150.
tweed pants and vest, Victoria's Secret $29.99 and $35.50
ruffle blouse, Victoria's Secret $38
t-strap oxfords, Naturalizer "Bounty" $23.70
Cover Girl "Honey Plum Glow" lipstick at drugstore.com $5.49
Cover Girl "Country Woods" eyeshadows at drugstore.com $4.99


Elizabeth said…
I think Victoria's Secret has some cute clothes, but I have never purchased any because they have an awful return/exchange policy. $36 pants turn into $49 pants if you don't choose the right size and need to reship. I will never understand why you can't take something back to their store.
Jael Paris said…
I have purchased their clothes and did need to return them. However, since they keep the same styles season after season, I considered it a worthwhile investment in work pants.
Georgette said…
Not really sure what industry besides fashion, advertising, or retail would find a non-suit look appropriate for an interview. I don't mean to be a party pooper, but with this economy, it seems like you would want to stand out from the herd as *the* most professional, polished, proper candidate. You can always dress down to the office culture when you HAVE the job-- so it's not like you have to wear suits ALL the time... but as a supervisor who has some influence in our hiring process, I can tell you unless the person was applying to be a file clerk I wouldn't hire them wearing this. :(
Jael Paris said…
Most people I've spoken to who do hiring have told me they honestly don't care about the clothes as long as you look neat, clean and not distracting (so save the loud prints). And I fail to see how conservative tweed pants with a matching vest and a white shirt are either inappropriate or unprofessional.
Jael Paris said…
Hey Georgette, could you email us with the details of what sort of outfit you look for in an interview and your field? I'm going to ask around a couple places and do another post, because this is a very timely topic.
Georgette said…
Sorry, I hadn't checked back on this topic!

No problem: I work for a state agency in a state capital (I happen to be an attorney) and I am involved in the hiring process for a variety of roles including investigators, secretaries, paralegals, file and copy clerks, and conceivably other attorneys, though we have a hiring freeze on now.

I think this look is proper for day to day work, but it is not appropriate for an interview. We have a business casual dress code in the office, but that doesn't affect our views at interviews. We generally make snarky comments about people showing up with arms uncovered (i.e. a shirt isn't enough, a jacket with full sleeves is preferred) unless it's roasting hot outside. Then, as long as it's a suit, a short-sleeved jacket is acceptable.

Ideal interview attire, regardless of the position you're applying for, would be a suit in a conservative color (navy, grey, black, beige, brown) and cut (skirt to the knees, no shorter, or pants that fit tastefully) with a non-attention getting blouse or sweater underneath. Conservative, medium heel pumps in well-maintained leather/pleather. Nylons or bare legs, we don't care (it's too damn hot 6 months of the year for nylons). Hair and accessories should be very low key and non-intrusive (no jangling bracelets, long chandelier earrings, etc).

IMHO-- and again this is not the fashion/advertising/retail industry-- you're not trying to show you have any kind of fashion sense at an interview. You don't want to stick out for anything other than your skills and experience which qualify you for the job. Once you get the job, within reason go for it. I stretch our "business casual" pretty far on a day to day basis as long as I'm not in court... but when I interviewed, I was in a full suit and heels and so on.

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