"I am constantly inspired by the ambitious and hardworking Women in my life. So much so that I have put together an easy to follow interview guide for different Workwear codes.
To get ahead Women should be allowed to focus on what really matters like getting the job done, instead of having to worry about how to dress for the office."
Part of the interview process is gauging ‘company fit’, how well you will mix in with the rest of the environment. How you dress for an interview gives all sorts of unconscious clues about who you are professional; if it is for an Accounting firm, you will want to look polished with a keen eye for detail. To interview at a start-up company, you will still need to look professional, but you have the freedom to opt for something more relaxed like an a-line skirt, white shirt, and a sharp blazer.
Your goal is to make the right impression, so that means taking time to choose the right outfit for the given work environment.
Let's start by cracking one dress code, so you can immediately project power, influence and confidence.
While a lot of companies are relaxing their dress code, there are still companies out there that require you to be suited and booted.
When interviewing at a corporate environment, the last thing you want is to be underdressed. Clothing should be neat, crisp, pressed and never wrinkled. The standard dress code in a business formal environment is a full matching business suit, including a jacket, dress pants, or a dress skirt. The darker the suit, the more formal!
The Quintessential suit
The Standard dress code in a Business formal environment is a full matching business suit, including a jacket, dress skirt/ dress pants.
The key to a suitable pant/skirt suit is fit, comfort and fabric.
Fit and comfort are essential and sometimes it is wise to invest in a custom-tailored counterpart as opposed to an off the rack suit.
Choose the cloth wisely - A good suit should be breathable. A wool suit is the best buy if you are looking to make an investment.
Watch the shoulders- A good suit will complement your frame and not swamp it.
If you have slanted shoulders, opt for a strong shoulder suit. Suit shoulders should hug your frame and appear neat.
Pick a neutral colour- If this is your first foray into the corporate world, then choose a suit in a neutral colour. Think of Navy, Charcoal, grey, and beige. Having a neutral tone will also allow you to complement with basics that have a pop of colour.
Make sure you feel confident in it- Your suit needs to reflect who you are. Make sure it complements your style, frame, personality, lifestyle.
The point is to look sharp, sophisticated and in control.
The perfect pencil skirt
A well fitted Pencil skirt is fundamental to any well-dressed wardrobe and is a great alternative to pants.
What to look for in a Pencil Skirt
A Pencil skirt should be well fitted, not to lose and not to tight and shouldn't hit higher than right above your knee.
Another telltale sign of a bad fit is if you see horizontal lines develop across the hip area.
Fit is essential for work so make sure the length and fit are perfect so you feel stylish and confident.
This is a great modern staple that will transcend your work wardrobe and works for all shapes and sizes.
Create a powerful interview image by pairing with a sharp blazer and classic white blouse.
The chic modern-day blouse
When it comes to keeping it Business Formal, its best to avoid plunging necklines or anything too busy.
Tips for buying a Business Formal top
A blouse should fit well and complement your entire look. It's also best to opt out of wearing transparent shirts as this will go against the business formal dress code.
Keep your shirt tucked in if worn out, make sure it covers your waistband by several inches, and if you are going to wear a sheer shirt remember your bra and a camisole!
You can't go wrong with solid colours and subtle prints. There are so many choices out there to complement your eyes and skin tone.
If you are new to the corporate world, try to invest in a blouse or top that will work well with at least two of your business suits.
The best business formal pants
Business Formal Pants come in different styles, including boot cut, cigarette cut and straight leg.
Tips for buying a business formal pants
When choosing a pair of pants, find one that complements your body shape.
Pants that are made from wool and wool blends are good standard business attire and work for all seasons.
If you want to create a luxury look avoid rayon and all synthetic fabrics.
Be mindful of length, if your pants trail at the bottom, take them to a tailor instead of cuffing them.
If you are investing in a more upmarket pair, opt for a neutral colour in charcoal grey, black, beige or navy.
Ladies if you are petite, it is advisable to try on both petite and regular size, and compare the fit and how they make you feel. It is the best way to find that perfect fit. You might be surprised about your findings and it is possible you might have been wearing the wrong size over the years.
Business formal shoes
The basic black mid-high heel shoe should be in every professional woman's workwear wardrobe. Taupe or Nude are also excellent options, especially for those summer months.
Tips for selecting business formal shoes
A classic patent black heel will work well with straight-leg pants suits as well as skirt suits.
For a more casual look, or if you are after comfort opt for a good pair of loafers. It's a classic style alternative which looks great when paired with cigarette trousers.
If the fabric of your suit is heavy you will want to pair it with leather shoes.
A silk or nylon suits work well with microfibre.
Boardroom and beyond
Dressing well demonstrates basic competence and your attention to detail, it also boosts your self-esteem which is always a good thing.
When you dress like you already have the job you are more likely to be confident and assert yourself than when you are wearing inappropriate clothes. There’s a lot of power contained in how you present yourself, and it’s worth being overly prepared. How you show up and present yourself says a lot about you and your personal brand.