When you talk about dressing to get hired for women people automatically think "fashion". I am not writing about fashion. I am writing about what to wear to maximize your chances of getting hired for the career, profession or job of your choosing.
What to wear breaks down into: the suit, the blouse, shoes, hosiery, accessories, jewelry, hair, make-up and fragrance.
The suit. While there are professions where everything from jeans and tee shirts to silk designer dresses are the appropriate uniform for work, we are not talking about those. For most interviews a traditional suit: jacket and skirt or jacket and pants are ideal. The suit should be black, blue or gray. Although red, purple and even yellow work for some women. The suit should fit properly and be cleaned and pressed. Skirts should be approximately knee length. Pants should not be too tight or too baggy.
The blouse. A white or light blue blouse works well with black, blue and grey suits. White is best with other suit colors. The blouse should be simple and of a traditional cut and style. It should be freshly cleaned or pressed. No low cut blouses or unbuttoned to the navel.
Shoes. While a whole article could be written about interview shoes for women a couple of points are key. Black is best followed by very dark blue or brown. The issue of flats, moderate heals or higher heals has more to do with height and personal preference that interview impact. The shoes should be polished, of a traditional style such as pumps and in good repair. Make sure the shoes fit well before wearing them to the interview.
Hoisery. I do not care if it is December in Boston or July in Atlanta, you must wear pantyhose, stockings or the like with skirts. They should be plain, a neutral color and have no runs or pills. The same holds true with pants, wear knee-high stockings no matter what. Going stocking-less is unprofessional with interview attire.
Accessories. Your bag or purse should be classic in style and match your shoes. This is an old adage but it still applies for the proper professional interview appearance. Avoid backpacks, anything crafty and very expensive evening bags.
Jewelry. The only acceptable jewelry is: one earring per ear, a wedding and / or engagement ring, a discreet watch if you wear one, pearls or a very simple gold or silver necklace. That's it. This is not the time to show off all your jewels.
Hair. Far be it from me to tell women how to style there hair for an interview. But...
Hair should not be distracting. The interviewer should focus on what you have to say not an extremely short, or outrageously long or out of control wild hair style during your time together. So if you are not sure what that means, ask some professional women and NOT your stylist.
Make-up and fragrance. A little make-up is good. No make-up is OK. Too much make-up is distracting and unprofessional. If you wear perfume or other scent, keep it minimal.
While following these guidelines to the letter will not guarantee you the job - or the big promotion - not following them may only hinder your chances at a great professional opportunity.