I’m a huge fan of used clothes. I know a lot of people find that icky and prefer the larger selection available where new clothes are sold. But for the interview, I’d urge you to consider consignment shopping, especially if you’re interviewing for jobs that won’t require you to dress to the interview level on a daily basis–then you are essentially buying for single use.
Here are my tips for successful consignment shopping:
1- Find the small boutiques. Not big strip mall chains like Platos Closet, but small boutiques. These are usually near the richest part of town. If you’re like me, you have to travel a bit to get there, but they’ll be tucked away in cute retail areas.
2- Ask for help. Often the owner is the staff and if you say you are nervously anticipating some big interviews–maybe the first of your working life–they will enthusiastically help you put together some interview outfits.
3-Get at least 2 complete outfits. I like to have at least two solid outfits because some interviews span two days. And a third doesn’t hurt in case there’s an arrival or departure day tacked on.
4-Get some of the best brands–they’ll be cheaper than you’d pay for lesser brands new. At the consignment boutiques, the clothes often are new–with tags on. They may be one season behind the current fashion model trends, but they are perfect for interviews.
5-If you’re a guy, I’m sorry to say I don’t know the status of consignment interview clothes. But I will say that I’ve always envied the male workaday attire. You could own one shirt or a hundred–who’d ever know if you were wearing the same white oxford over and over? All the proof I ever needed was in the Vanity Fair piece Michael Lewis wrote in which it was revealed that President Obama wear two colors of suit: gray or blue. What professional woman (much less of that status) could get away with wearing two standard outfits?!