A Dress Instead of a Suit for Interviewing?


Judy writes:
I just read your article on “Dress for Success“.
I am short and heavy. I do not look good in women’s 2-piece suits as they
cut into a straight line I wish to project and my bust is large and hard to hide.
Is it appropriate to wear a nice one-piece dress for interviews?
I also don’t wear high heels much because they kill my feet. Is this essential
for a good interview?


The Career Doctor responds:
The most critical part of dressing for success in job interviews is to match the
professional culture of the employer where you are interviewing — and of the job
you are seeking.
In certain situations a dress would be appropriate for an interview. However for many
other situations a dress would be seen as too casual. If you’re not sure call the
human resources office of the company where you are interviewing and ask about it. Adding a jacket to wear over the dress would ratchet up the professionalism. You could perhaps wear it open to deal with the bust issues.
And while I hear horror stories from my female students and clients about the
fashion industry surely there is a department store or specialty women’s store
located somewhere near you that can help you find a suit that best fits your
body shape — and best projects the professional statement that you want to make.
Other “dress for success” tips. Make sure you have:

  • clean and polished conservative dress shoes
  • well-groomed hairstyle
  • cleaned and trimmed fingernails
  • minimal cologne or perfume
  • no visible body piercing beyond conservative ear piercings for women
  • well-brushed teeth and fresh breath
  • no gum candy or other objects in your mouth
  • minimal jewelry
  • no body odor
;

Judy writes:
I just read your article on “Dress for Success“.
I am short and heavy. I do not look good in women’s 2-piece suits as they
cut into a straight line I wish to project and my bust is large and hard to hide.
Is it appropriate to wear a nice one-piece dress for interviews?
I also don’t wear high heels much because they kill my feet. Is this essential
for a good interview?


The Career Doctor responds:
The most critical part of dressing for success in job interviews is to match the
professional culture of the employer where you are interviewing — and of the job
you are seeking.
In certain situations a dress would be appropriate for an interview. However for many
other situations a dress would be seen as too casual. If you’re not sure call the
human resources office of the company where you are interviewing and ask about it. Adding a jacket to wear over the dress would ratchet up the professionalism. You could perhaps wear it open to deal with the bust issues.
And while I hear horror stories from my female students and clients about the
fashion industry surely there is a department store or specialty women’s store
located somewhere near you that can help you find a suit that best fits your
body shape — and best projects the professional statement that you want to make.
Other “dress for success” tips. Make sure you have:

  • clean and polished conservative dress shoes
  • well-groomed hairstyle
  • cleaned and trimmed fingernails
  • minimal cologne or perfume
  • no visible body piercing beyond conservative ear piercings for women
  • well-brushed teeth and fresh breath
  • no gum candy or other objects in your mouth
  • minimal jewelry
  • no body odor

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