I'm going to give you the moral of this story before I tell it. It goes like this: Dress like drab office furniture and see if they can distinguish you from the rest of the candidtates blending into the lobby after you've gone.
Every time I ask someone why they thought dressing as boring and neutral as possible was a good idea for an interivew they grow pale. Regarless of profession, industry, level of expertise, and especially personality you get the same advice for interview attire. A standard pre-programmed response such as this snoozeworthy video from About.com; "A neutral colored suit and solid shirt". Sad but true.
Good stuf. I'm inspired. You? I'm also going to hell, but that's aside the point.
This is not a fashion lesson, and if you know me at all then you know you aren't getting any "Rules" from me either. That would make me NOT a Rules Girl. No, I give tools and permission to own your brand. You want some rules and fashion advice you can hit up the scary duo from "What Not To Wear". However, I've been giving a lot of talks to groups requesting information on Personal Branding for interiewing which goes well beyond what color your parachute is and how to color coordinate with it. So much more in fact that this will be a 3 part series on interviewing and your brand. Following is an excerpt from some of the tools I have been sharing with job seeking hopefuls to help them establish a memorable brand.
Know your brand; Think of yourself as a company. What are your strengths, values, goals, mission, attributes that would create brand loyalty. Write down something for each of these and then make this part of your vernacular when you talk about yourself. Now use it to guide your desicions on how you present your brand visually. This means, if you are going to sit there and tell me how creative, and resourceful you but you are dressed like industrial carpeting I'm going to have a real disconnect. Get it?
Know your audience; Sounds delicate already. A non-traditional, creative atmosphere isn't looking to bring in a working stiff. In otherwords don't take your fashion advice from an attorney if you are interviewing at start-up, ad agency or some other creative industry. Not only will you look like a dork, but it will be so obvious that you don't "get it" that it borders on disrespectful. Show some passion for your work, let them see your rich depth and texture of character. Same can be said for interviewing at a very conservative company; don't go flying your freak flag too high. Be respectful. Be intentional.
Is your little Type A linear brain having a panic attack yet? All right, I've give up some goodies. Don't say I never gave you anythying. Here:
Color = emotion, Texture=Attributes, Style elements = Values, Fit=Character
You want to make money? You need to look like money. What the biggest difference between “Us” and “Them” – all of their clothes FIT, FIT, FIT. Perfectly fitting clothes don’t have to be custom made. The quickest way to make some old new again or something cheap look expensive; have it tailord to fit perfectly. It could cost your more than the price of a hem in the eyes of a detailed oriented Sr. VP.
“The 6 Parameters” for strategic decision making for your personal brand style. This one is part of my signature program for my clients but I'll give the abbreviated general idea. Run anything you wear and/or buy through these : Brand Attributes | Color Palette | Purpose | Time & Longevity | Fit | Feel
As I always say: "If you are your own brand then your wardrobe is your logo".
Next: "It's a man's world, but you don't have to dress like it". Something just for the ladies.