Author Topic: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?  (Read 2827 times)

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lellah

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Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« on: September 12, 2012, 09:17:12 AM »
I hope some southerners can help me with a clothes crisis I'm having.  You see, Iím moving to Large Southern City later this year and have a couple of days of job interviews lined up there next month. Iím kind of at loss about what to wear. I do PR, but most of the interviews I have are in the non-profit sector. Itís not a very formal field. My current boss wears a lot of logoed polo shirts and cargo shorts, for instance. The general rule for interviews, I know, is to wear clothes a step above what youíd be wearing to work everyday if hired. What this entails is so much harder to suss out from a thousand miles away.

I donít have a great work wardrobe at the moment, since Iíve been working in the land of jeans and cardigans for a number of years. I also donít have a ton of money to spend on clothes. Iím reluctant to buy a suit because I think cheaper suiting looks, well, cheap.  Right now Iím thinking Iíll buy a couple of dark a-line skirts and broadcloth shirts. My bff is a great seamstress and will tailor them to perfection in exchange for drinks. Iíd add pantyhose (ick), a structured handbag, dark heels, and a pearl necklace.

But Iíve heard that the south is generally more conservative, formal, and ladylike, so Iím not sure that styleís appropriate. Should I look for more feminine blouses instead of menswear-y buttonups? Maybe get a dark sheath dress and a couple of jewel tone cardigans?  Or should I give in a buy a slightly-beyond-my-means suit?

Also, I have curly hair I wear natural around 364 days a year. In pursuit looking ďpolishedĒ should I get a blowout? 

Maggie

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2012, 09:31:19 AM »
I live in Oklahoma but where I live depending on the job, that would be to formal.  I went to a job interview yesterday wearing a nice blouse, capris and black flats.  I have to say I outdressed everyone there for an interview.  Other opinions will vary I am sure but nice slacks and a feminine blouse would definitely work.  Oklahoma is still technically the south because we really don't fit anywhere else.  A skirt and blouse would also be ok but I would go with a more feminine look and I would leave the pearls at home unless they really mean something to you.

ETA:  I wouldn't buy a suit unless you can definitely wear it later.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 09:32:54 AM by Maggie »

lellah

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 09:36:00 AM »
Do you mind if I ask if you live in a city or a smaller town?

lowspark

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 09:59:36 AM »
I live in Houston and what you wear on an interview here has more to do with the kind of job you are interviewing for than the fact that we are in Texas. If I were interviewing for a position in a law firm or a bank, for example, I'd dress in pretty formal business attire. I work for an oil company and the dress here is "business casual". Most people who interview here dress in what might be considered a step above that, with some showing up in suits, others just in business attire.

If you are interviewing for a professional position, a suit is always acceptable. But depending on the place of employment and the position, a notch down from that, a skirt or slacks & nice top, might be just fine.

Syfygeek

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 11:08:37 AM »
Are you going South, or Southeast? It might make a difference?

I am in NC, and had a "good" interview skirt suit, but a sheath dress and cardigan sounds fine, the main thing is to be comfortable in your clothes. My "good" suit- I never felt at ease, I think it showed.

Can you do a look see on the company website and see if there are any candid photos of employees? That would give you a starting point.
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Sweettooth

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 11:33:50 AM »
Like lowspark, I'm in Houston and I don't really see much difference between what would be appropriate here vs. Chicago or DC. An interview is the time to wear your most professional clothing and to me that would mean either pants or a solid-color skirt with closed-toe shoes, a blouse or nice shell, and a jacket or cardigan. A sheath dress with a cardigan would be good, too. If you wear a skirt, wear hose or tights; I wouldn't bother recommending that during the summer but by next month it'll be chilly enough that you wouldn't look out of place, and it's a little more polished for an interview. As for the blouse style, don't bother making it frilly, just go with what looks best on you. 

And you mentioned jewel tones--we wear dark colors, too! Most of my wardrobe is black and gray.

As for your hair, as long as it's neat I wouldn't mess with a blow out. Polish your resume, not your hair, and good luck to you!

jmarvellous

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2012, 01:05:17 PM »
I'm interviewing in Texas these days, and I wear a suit to an initial interview no matter what. I have a gray Calvin Klein skirt suit that I wear with a long-sleeve pinstriped button-down shirt in the winter and a red short-sleeve collared shirt with a bit more style to it in the summer.

I might wear black slacks or a skirt and a blouse for the follow-up, or a simple black dress.

A button-down dress shirt and a conservative skirt would probably be fine in most cases. I would think a "jewel tone cardigan" sounds a bit casual for most businesses where you don't know much about them before coming in. Maybe you could get a blazer if you can't get a full suit?

mlkind1789

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 01:35:12 PM »
I'm originally from VA and I think that what you have thought of already sounds fine for an interview.  I wouldn't worry about a blow out for your hair, either.  I'm sure you have styles that you already wear that are polished without going through the time and expense of a that. 

Good luck!

ellebelle

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2012, 03:01:58 PM »
I really think it depends on the industry you are interviewing for. I live in the ATL metro area and work in higher education. I would never go to an interview unless I was wearing a suit. 

I know the south is different, but we're not that different than anyone else :) The whole idea that you must be more gentile, feminine is a load of poo when it comes to interviewing for a job.
- Well behaved women rarely make history


violinp

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2012, 03:21:37 PM »
Your outfit sounds lovely, and I think your hair can stay as - is.  :)
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


jmarvellous

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2012, 03:33:13 PM »
I forgot to say that I wouldn't get a blow-out if I were you, either. Just go with your hair clean and neatly home-styled.

(Unless you're really comfortable paying for it and scheduling it in advance in a new city, and it'll boost your confidence a lot. I just don't think it's necessary.)

yokozbornak

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2012, 04:04:36 PM »
I'm from the South, and since you are in public relations, I think a suit would be you best bet.  Even in a more casual environment, there are going to be days when you need to dress more formally, and I think that's the image you want to present.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 04:26:28 PM »
From one curly haired gal to another, just make sure you don't have tons of errant frizz and you'll be fine.  Curly hair isn't by itself unprofessional nor unkempt looking.
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GeauxTigers

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2012, 04:01:13 PM »
For PR work, separates trump a dress every time. In the South, choose a slightly softer color palette unless you really, really need to be listened to - then you wear the darker power suits, darker framed eyeglasses and bolder accessories.

If possible, select clothing that you're pretty sure you'll be able to wear in 5 years, style-wise.

If it's an option for you, check out the local Junior League resale shop for gently used accessories or classic-styled clothing.



Of course, if you're interviewing for a position in Atlanta, there's always this:



Too formal?

/runs

lowspark

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Re: Job interviews in the South--what to wear?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2012, 04:12:04 PM »
"I saw it in the window and just couldn't resist"

I LOVE that skit!