Summer is prime job interview season. Interestingly enough, it is also prime "Why is it so hot on this subway platform I’m about to sweat through my top" season. Balancing a professional dress code and practical acknowledgement of the weather isn’t easy—but it’s essential if you want that call back.
When you’re up for a job in a traditional corporate setting, your go-to interview look is probably a suiting combo and a crisp blouse. But when temperatures are soaring north of 90 degrees (and the "real feel" is over 100), you may need to ditch the jacket in favor of a silk button-down shirt and knee-length skirt that retain the formality but allow for a little ventilation.
At a startup or creative company, interview attire can echo the vibe of the office. Don’t trade in your block-heel sandals for flip-flops just yet, but do try a pleated shirtdress or culottes and a sleeveless top. If you want to add an extra layer (and get bonus style points), try layering a longline vest over your shirt-and-pants combo.
As just about any article on dressing for interviews will tell you, it’s a good idea to wear one memorable item that will help you stand out from the pack. It might be a bag in an unexpected color (like forest green) or a pair of sleek statement earrings that frame your face. Want to subconsciously let your potential new boss know you’re punctual? Wear a watch. (We like the menswear look.) Ahead, we shopped out three interview-worthy looks that will have your future boss saying, “You’re hired,” before you even shake their hand. (Okay not really, but you know what we mean.)
1. For a Creative / Start-Up Interview
When the office dress code is no dress code, don't be afraid to have a little fun with your interview attire. Keep the feeling professional with a crisp blouse and black trousers, but look for not-so-basic silhouettes, like a non-girly ruffle or two and structured bag that can hold your portfolio. That "notice me" finishing touch? A pair of sculptural earrings that won't overwhelm your outfit.
Shop the look: Banana Republic pants, $88; bananarepublic.com. Rachel Comey blouse, $452; matchesfashion.com. Haerfest tote, $495; shopbop.com. Uribe earrings, $340; net-a-porter.com. Zara vest, $40 (originally $100); zara.com. Steve Madden sandals, $80; nordstrom.com.
2. For a Corporate Casual Interview
Want to lock your interview outfit down with a one-and-done piece? A shirtdress with a full pleated skirt strikes the ideal balance of summer weather-friendly and office-appropriate. Flats are okay for interviews in our book too, just make sure your accessories are reigned in: Think a men's watch and standout leather bag in an unexpected color.
Shop the look: Michael Michael Kors dress, $165; net-a-porter.com. Mansur Gavriel bag, $1350; mansurgavriel.com. Nixon watch, $200; barneys.com. Adriana Orsini earrings, $45; saksfifthavenue.com. Topshop flats, $45; topshop.com.
3. For an Executive-Level Interview
The more formal your interview setting is, the more difficult it might be to stray from the traditional suiting look in the humid summer months. However, by substituting a jacket and trousers for a knee-length skirt (with a bit of character) and a silk shirt, you'll maintain the professional feel without all that layering. As a finishing touch, pointy-toe slingbacks make a "You should definitely hire me" statement.
Shop the look: Equipment shirt, $240; net-a-porter.com. Tibi skirt, $325; tibi.com. Jennifer Fisher necklace, $255; jenniferfisherjewelry.com. Zara bag, $70; zara.com. Manolo Blahnik slingbacks, $645; neimanmarcus.com.