Preparing for EIP can be a daunting process. Amid the frenzy of bid lists, researching firms, and polishing up resumes, you may find yourself overlooking what may seem like common sense: figuring out what in the world to wear.
Ladies: you should not be worrying about adjusting that too-tight-skirt as you attempt to sit down properly.Gentlemen: you should not have to worry that the interviewer might spot your dingy white athletic socks underneath your trousers.
But dearest readers, have no fear – the Muckraker is here. With this special style reference guide, your pre-EIP life has just become a little bit easier.
Where to Start?
Among the list of things that the Office of Career Services (OCS) provides us about EIP (my personal favorite advice being: do not bring your parents to your interviews) are photos that serve as examples of appropriate attire. OCS’s photos provide an excellent starting point—conservative and completely appropriate. So really, start there.
This style guide, however, goes further in the hope that students will embrace and master this tried–and-true scientific fact: Look good, play good. After all, your “game-day” confidence determines 99% of your performance.
The contents of this style-guide are as follows: (1) Smile, (2) Stores With Discounts, (3) Color Coordinating by Suit Color, (4) Male Musts and, (5) Female Musts. Read accordingly.
For both men and women, the best interview accessory is a smile. Not an annoying, kiss-ass, “I’m smiling and pretending I care about what you have to say” smile, but a genuine “I’m excited to be here” smile. Everyone is more attractive with a genuine smile. I promise.
2. Stores With Discounts
Manhattan summers are the sweatiest summers. As you are now aware, EIP occurs during the one of the warmest months in the City. What does this mean? Don’t be afraid to sweat, and accept this as your destiny. Do not expect to wear or re-wear your interview clothes – it is officially time, if you have not done so already, to invest in multiple appropriate options of clothing (while also accepting the fact that it’s worth it to shell out a few extra dollars for a cab during EIP).
The below list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a quick look at some of the stores that are thoughtful enough to give students a discount (bring your valid student ID, please). Before you purchase anything at other stores that do not have any posted discount rate, always ask before purchasing — you’d be surprised how generous they are with discounts (especially on suiting). Please see the list provided by OCS:
|Ann Taylor Loft||15%|
|Bonobos||25% (1st Purchase)|
|Brooks Brothers||15% (corporate membership)|
|Andy & Evan Shirt Co||30%|
3. Color Wheels
This section breaks down the three most popular suit colors and pairs each with colors that are on trend for the season (but also conservative enough to not raise any eyebrows). Part of the game is knowing what colors you feel best in: my interview go-to will always be a navy suit — always.
1st Place: Navy Suiting
– Most traditional; universally flattering
– Favorable because less harsh than black and more flattering when worn than most grey
– Pairs nicely with almost any traditional color
– If you don’t already have a navy suit in your closet, it is a worthwhile investment. Always check, however, to make sure that the hues match – many brands have blues that vary even within the same line.
2nd Place: Grey Suiting
– Less harsh than black
– Looks best with white or light blue shirt
– Pairs well with clean and modern accessories
– Note: not as universally flattering as navy
3rd Place: Black Suiting
– Reasons not to wear black to any job interview: (1) it is the least “friendly” of colors and (2) no matter how expensive it may have been, it can look cheap
– Erica Says: White is the best choice to offset the aggressiveness of black, but you can run the risk of looking like Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey if you aren’t careful. (Great show with a not-so-great-for-EIP wardrobe)
4. Male Musts
Dress Socks: Guys are rather limited in terms of creativity in wardrobe: their options typically lie in ties and socks. Ties are a great way to spice up any outfit, but a nice tie can come at a handsome price. A cheaper way to achieve the same effect is with socks.
Ties:Thinner is in, but if you are uncomfortable with it, go with the classic. Just keep building your collection. Make sure that you have checked for stains — I am certain after all of those firm receptions, some of your ties need to be put out to pasture.
Shoes: Shine them. If you decide to get a new pair (I am partial to Allen Edmonds) make sure you take the time to break them in.
5. Female Musts
Suit Fit: At the risk of sounding a bit snarky, I can’t stress this enough — make sure your suit fits. Make sure nothing is too short or too tight — it will appear a little too “saucy” if you aren’t careful. That being said, don’t wear a potato sack. This is what tailors are for!
– BREAK THEM IN. Also, if you tend to slosh around in heels when it’s warm outside, invest in a pair of skin-tone no-show socks.
– NO TOE CLEVAGE. Yes, toe cleavage is a real thing, and it’s apparently either really repulsive or really sexy to people. You don’t need to understand it. Just don’t do it for EIP.
– LIKE NEW. If the leather on the heel is scratched up from stomping around NYC or they are scuffed up from a firm reception downtown, take the time to eitherfix them so they are like new or get a new pair and treat them better.
– AVOID THE TRAMPY/VAMPY HEEL. Wear 3-inch heels or smaller. It’s not like you can actually walk in anything higher anyways. If you try to, you will just look silly.
– CARDINAL RULE: Simple, sleek and out of your face. Practice the night before so you don’t freak out in front of the mirror the day of — know what you feel most comfortable with. I have a habit of twirling my hair, which comes off a little childish and girly (in a bad way). It also leaves my hair looking like I brushed it with a pork chop by the end of the day. To combat this habit of mine, I pull it back, out of my face and away from my hands. Point is, know yourself, and train yourself to stray far from your bad hair-habits.
– WET HAIR: An absolute no. If you must, pull it back into a tight bun and hope that it dries quickly.
Nail Polish: Sorry ladies, time to put away the bright blue for another day. EIP is about appearing professional, which means: NEUTRAL. That being said, you need to find the neutral that is right for your skin tone — some may look a little “dirty” if you don’t match it up right. My personal favorite and interview go-to is: Essie’s Ballet Slippers.
Makeup: Keep it simple. Make sure you are careful to avoid getting foundation/bronzer dust on your clothes—because it really just looks like dirt.
Jewelry: Less is more. These simple studs are my go-to interview accessory and the only bit of bling that I wear.