Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What to Wear: Science Interviews

Our good friend, Sara, wrote in with our second job interview shopping challenge. Here's her request:
I am going to graduate one day and I don't own a single thing to wear to an interview outside of science (well, I do have a suit from debate in high school, but that doesn't count!) I'm looking for a job as a management consultant so I assume I need something very classic, black skirt suit? What about the shirt, the shoes? Accessories? And can one wear the same suit to a second interview? I want this to be *the outfit* that will make me feel confident as a scientist playing dress up in the business world so I'm willing to spend a bit on it.
Two perfect interview outfits for serious scientist Sara? Done! These outfits are made from great investment pieces that fit a conservative interview and work world:

Interview #1
Suit - Find a classic, great fitting suit in a versatile grey. Get matching blazer, pants and skirt if available for maximum flexibility. This Theory suit is about $600.
Shirt - In lavender from Thomas Pink for $59.
Shoes - Slightly boring black pointed toe pumps are perfect for the corporate world.
Case - Carry your laptop and reports in this geek-chic case from See Jane Work.
Earrings - Amber is the most "science-nerd" of all the gems. A subtle clue in small studs.

Interview #2
Recycled - You can use the same shoes, case and earrings.
Sweater - Pair a bright colored cashmere sweater with a white shirt. On sale at J.Crew for $99.
Skirt - Ideally, this skirt is part of a second suit. Yes, you'll probably not wear the suit together ever again, but you'll have so many pieces available for mixing and matching in the future.

Both of these outfits conform to the corporate world but still have a little femininity and character. Plus, Sara would be set up with a ton of wardrobe basics for when she lands the fancy consultant job.


Sara said...

i like it! i will have to check out the Theory line when I'm in California.

hyb said...

Very appropriate! Reminds me of my one and only management consulting interview in grad school. I got the job, but I was too much of a math nerd to take it. Academia and its mismatched socks were my calling!

The Theory suits are great, because they also travel well. The fabrics have just the right amount of stretch in all the right places. I also own a whole set (pants, jacket, skirt, dress) in almost every color from J Crew, especially in gabardine. I collect them when they're on sale, and they can be very reasonable.

Good luck to you!