I just read an article on Forbes.com titled The Perfect Interview Outfit. There was a lot of great information, including a few quotes by my fellow AICI colleagues. However, I have to say I disagree with some of the information the author gave about dressing within your budget.
The author, Leah Bourne, states, “Finding that perfect interview outfit that is put together and sophisticated doesn’t have to break the bank.” I agree. She goes on to mention, “The best strategy is to shop at several low-priced retailers to find chic basics that mix and match with more expensive signature pieces.” Here I disagree. She recommends stores such as Charlotte Russe and Forever 21 for finding great basics at a very low price.
The article shows photos from these low priced, low quality retailers. You can make anything look fantastic in a photograph. I dissuade anyone from interviewing in cheap clothing like this, even if it is basic. You’re a package, and wearing cheap clothing from what I consider teen/trendy shops doesn’t package you well.
A better strategy is to take some time, and strategize your shopping. How? Check out stores like the Rack and Loehman’s. You can often find great labels at extreme discounts. Another strategy is to watch for the sales and use the coupons at stores like Macy’s and Ann Taylor. Chances are great that you’ll find great pieces that fit well and spell quality for less than what you might find at low priced/low quality retailers.