My pal, Vikki, sent me this message:
I have a job interview next Friday and need to go shopping. I wear jeans to work all the time and have nothing professional to wear. You’re great with clothes…any suggestions?
It’s intimidating, having to build a professional wardrobe (a) from scratch, (b) on a budget, and (c) when you’ve never previously had to care about such things and therefore don’t really have any idea what the “rules” are. The first objective is to assemble something that will get you through the interview.
Black suit, or suit-separates.
If you’re used to jeans, stay away from skirts. When you’re building from the bottom up, you need to start by putting together a wardrobe of “neutral basics.” Start with black, then move in to brown, khaki, navy and gray.
Closed toe, closed heel, almond-shaped toe, nothing higher than 2-3 inches. Avoid stilettos. If the last pair of nice shoes you bought was dyed to match something or complete your Slutty Nurse Halloween costume, then you need to get something new. Remember: neutral basic. (Don’t worry…the rest of your outfit will be more fun.)
There are 4 “universally flattering” colors: true red, eggplant, blush, and dark teal. That which is “universally flattering” counts as “neutral basic”…bonus! If you only have the budget for one, accessorize with a headband or pair of small earrings that repeat the color.
As you go along and expand your basics, you’ll certainly become more in tune with preferred necklines, waist cuts, patterns and colors, you may even decide one day that it’s time for those red peep-toes or an animal print. For today, though…just baby steps.