Hi all, the last interview clothing thread was created in 2011 and reached almost 5,000 messages. I thought it would be nice to create a new one and to have the first post include some common knowledge as gleaned from the previous threads. Special thanks to @DokterMom, @gyngyn, and @Winged Scapula, the experts who have been active on these threads helping us all out. When I say wisdom and knowledge, I mean their wisdom and knowledge. Yes, this is probably more information than most people will need. Yes, there are probably exceptions to every point. Yes, some commenters have had success in outfits that do not adhere to this. Yes, your interviewer might not care. However, based on the questions asked in previous threads, it seemed like a good idea to have some guidelines for reference. If you want to ask about a specific example or see if there is an exception, post! Women’s Interview Clothing Advice and Wisdom: General Information: Your interview suit is your interview suit. You are not going to be looking for something that you can mix and match with other items for a night out. It should not be versatile. It should be your interview suit. If your style tends to be on the conservative side, maybe you will find yourself wearing the suit or parts of the suit on professional dress days. If you don’t pull it out of your closet until residency interviews, that’s ok, that is exactly what this suit is for. Fashion is not important, professionalism is important. Avoid trendy cuts. Go for conservative, classic items. Your objective is to look capable, professional, responsible, mature -- in short, like someone with good judgement (1). Looking good, hot, sexy, pretty, attractive -- this is not what you're aiming for. If you happen to also look attractive, that's a bonus, but don't make the mistake of looking 'good' over looking ‘appropriate' (1). As your guide, look at female politicians: Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin (when she was running for VP, not now), Nancy Pelosi, Carly Fiorino. Do not use political wives (too feminine), or TV show lawyers or anchor women (too sexy) (1). You do not want to “stand out” with respect to your clothing. You as a person should stand out against a plain suit. Your interview suit is not an opportunity to “show your personality”. Avoid large brand logos. Coach, Louis Vuitton, and Tory Burch are notorious for this. These brands are fine, but when choosing a bag or a shoe, do not choose items with obvious, large, logos. The suit: The suit should be a medium to dark solid color or woven pattern - so no pastels, no neon, no floral (1). Navy, dark grey, charcoal or black are preferred. Avoid lighter greys and blues, as suits in these colors will read too casual for this occasion. The fabric of the suit should be matte. A “sheen” to the fabric is ok, but a shine is not. A shiny fabric would make you look like you were going to a prom or a wedding. Matte: Sheen: Shiny: Wool, wool blend is best. Nothing shiny (4). Avoid decorative piping and suits with multiple colors. You should be going for the standard notch lapel as depicted here. A pant suit, skirt suit, or a dress suit are all fine. In each case, the suit jacket and the suit bottom should be the same color and material. The suit should skim your body, not hug it. If you go with a pant suit, avoid skinny cuts and crop cuts. Straight leg or a slightly flared leg is preferred. The pants should not hug your hips or outline your butt. If the fabric is pulling at the sides, or meeting at your crotch in a star-shaped pattern the pants are too tight. For length, not dragging the ground or forcing you into shoes you're uncomfortable with, but also not ankle-length (1). No flare leg, wide leg, cigarette leg, slim cut, "skinny". The width at the ankle should be the same width as the thigh opening or slightly wider, this is known as a boot cut (4). I should not see the outline of your legs(4). If you go with a skirt suit, the skirt should hit slightly slow to very-slightly above the knee, but not very much in either direction (1). You should try sitting in the suit before you buy it. If it feels too tight when you sit, size up. If the skirt rides up so that your thigh is exposed, the skirt is too short or too tight or both. If it’s too short, finding a different suit is probably your best bet, however, many skirts do have a hem that could be let down by a tailor in more dire circumstances. If it is too tight, size up or look for a different suit. The cut of the skirt should not hug your entire leg, it should fall down in a straight line. For this reason, I would avoid skirts that taper or become tight at the knee. Skirt in a straight cut: Skirt that tapers at the knee and would be too snug of a fit for this occasion: http://imgur.com/a/AWUxi If you go with a sheath dress suit, follow the same rules regarding skirt length for dresses. The fabric of the dress and jacket should be the same color and fabric. Appropriate example: http://imgur.com/a/1l1x5 A conservative dress-suit (matching set) can be an absolutely fabulous look that also hides figure flaws. Dress-suits are also great for drawing attention away from 'too fabulous' figures without looking dowdy (1). Tailoring - If your suit doesn't fit perfectly off the rack, get it tailored! Taking suits in is much easier than letting them out, so get at-least-enough fabric in the waist, seat and bust and a good fit in the shoulders. The rest can be altered (1). The shirt: A blouse, an button-up, or a shell is appropriate. The shirt should be a solid color. Avoid prints. Bold patterns, animal prints and florals are generally wrong for an interview shirt or blouse, as are ruffles, lace and sheer areas. Pastels and jewel tones are fine for blouses. Bright colors can sometimes work, but there is such a thing as too bright (1). If you choose a striped button-up, the stripes should be very thin and vertical. Think pin-stripe as opposed to jailhouse stripe. The shirt should be opaque. It should not be sheer or see-through in any lighting. No cleavage should be visible in the shirt you choose. No cleavage! No peep holes and no visible bra straps (1). Additionally, make sure that the shirt looks appropriate when you take your jacket off in the event that you may need to. You should not see any side-boob. Pin-tucks and pleats are OK; rhinestones, studs, sequins and beading are not appropriate (1). The shoes: A low, chunky, heel is preferred but flats are acceptable. If you choose flats, they should not be ballet flats. The safest shoe is a medium-low heel closed-toe pump in a dark or neutral color (1). Make sure you can walk comfortably in the shoes you choose (1). Aim for a heel height less than or equal to about 3 inches. Matte leather is preferred. Avoid suede. Avoid patent leather. Suede and patent leather are generally too casual for the occasion. Additionally, suede shows dirt, stains, and scuffs easily. If someone spills coffee or even water on your suede shoes, they are ruined. Shoe color depends on your suit color, however, black is generally a safe bet. Cordovan works with a navy suit. Avoid nude, tan, and lighter colors. A stacked wood heel is too casual. Wedges tend to skew casual, as do toe-cap details. A minimal, simple, look is best. Some discrete or simple embellishment are acceptable, however, avoid large and flashy embellishment. Flats are OK if they're not too casual and you're either tall or are wearing pants. Most flats are way too casual (1). Sexy stilettos and high platforms are inappropriate for all women (1). Avoid ankle straps and mary-jane style shoes. The bag: If you don't normally carry a bag, don't feel you have to carry one now (1). Something plain and streamlined with minimal decorative hardware and no ruffles or bling in a dark or neutral color (1). Popular designer logos may suggest you're a spoiled 'material girl' with entitlement issues - even if the bags are fake. Subtle logos (Kate Spade) are fine; it's the BIG flashy ones (some Coach, LV) that are problematic (1). Canvas totes are perfectly acceptable, so don't spend a lot for a bag you may not use much (1). Backpacks say you're a college student, not a grown up (1). Don't bring something so large it could double as a beach bag. It's untidy and suggests either that you're high-maintenance or have trouble prioritizing (she needs all that for a four-hour day?)(1). Things you may want to include in bag on interview day: Mini disposable toothbrushes, preloaded with dry toothpaste, with tooth picks on their back end A hair comb Bobby pins Clear nail polish in case of a nylon run Small Moleskine style notebook A tampon A little pill case containing benadryl, tylenol, and ibuprofen, I always have this with me “just in case” Kleenex A pen Phone/wallet/keys A water bottle A protein bar A tide pen Gum or mints Moleskins or band aids Lipstick Oil blotting sheets The hair: Something simple and no-fuss. You want to look like you won't have to adjust your hair in the middle of the day, so a ponytail or bun is fine as is a part-up. Long curly hair should be restrained somewhat, and your eyes should be clearly visible. Short to medium styles that stay put may not require any special handling (1). Hair colors not found in nature would be a mistake, as would hair colors not natural to someone of your race (1). Up? Down? or In-between? All can work. If you opt for up, something in between the super-tight "librarian bun" and the trendy "messy bun" is where you want to be. Something tidy and pulled together. Half-up, with the top and front pulled back is generally both safe and appropriate (1). Ultimately, choose a style that you will not be tempted to touch. Something that you can do in the morning and be assured that it will still look nice and neat hours later. The makeup and grooming: A little bit of makeup makes you look grown up and fully dressed. Zero makeup can make you look too young or under-dressed; however too much makeup is much worse (1). For nail polish, go with a nude, muted pink, or clear. Avoid bright, wild, dark, and more noticeable colors. These colors can either look less professional or they will be more noticeable and look less “polished” when they chip. Your nails should be neat or trimmed. Avoid fake nails, the almond and claw shaped nails that are currently trending, and exceptionally long nails. Makeup should be neutral and should be utilized to enhance your features. You should not be “adding” anything to your face, if that makes sense. A long, thick, noticeable cat-eye would be “adding”, as would a red lip. You want to look awake and fresh. I think this is a good example of interview makeup. Her lips have been evened out and brightened with a neutral pink “my lips but better” lip color. Blemishes and dark circles have been concealed with foundation and concealer. Her lash line has been “tight-lined” with eyeliner, meaning that she has just defined her lash line without the appearance of a visible line of eyeliner. She used a bit of mascara to define her lashes and eyes. Her brows have been brushed and lightly filled. She has used blush and a subtle highlight on her cheekbones to give her face a fresh and glow-y look. It looks like she also used some eyeshadow to give her eyes some extra depth and dimension. http://imgur.com/a/XHp2h Is all of this necessary? No! Do what works for you. I personally do not know how to use eyeshadow, so I did everything listed above, but without eyeshadow. If you don’t use foundation, then don’t use foundation, etc. I just thought that this was a good example of using makeup to enhance your features and to show an appropriate, polished, makeup look. Use products that work for your coloring, your skin tone, and your skin type. For example, don’t feel pressured to wear lipstick if it makes your lips dry out or settles into fine lines or if you just don’t feel comfortable with it. You can use a tinted balm instead. Try all of the products you want to use on your interview day well before the interview. I used makeup that I use every day. If you are new to makeup, you make need to try out multiple products before you find one that works for you. You may need to try out a few lip colors or blushes or foundations or concealers to see which look right with your skin tone, you may need to try out a few mascaras to find one that doesn’t clump or leave smudges on your eyelids, etc. The jewelry: Simple, classic jewelry is fine but not necessary: Gold, pearls, wedding and/or engagement rings (1). A pearl necklace is considered classic. Avoid jewelry that is overly large, showy, fashionable, casual or girlish. The one exception to the 'showy' rule could be an interesting brooch on an otherwise plain suit (1). Necklaces should not draw the eye to your bustline (1). Earrings come in pairs. Wear two and only two (1). You do not need a watch, but if you wear one, it should be simple in styling and dressy (1). Silver is OK if it's better for your skin tone, but use the 'Would this particular piece look good in gold?' test to make sure it's not too casual. Many (most?) silver pieces are just too casual (1). No religious or political symbols (4). No dangly earrings (4). The hose: Wear nude hose. This is another “you may need to try a few pairs to get the right color” situation. If you have darker skin, look into the brand “Nubian Skin” for your hose, I know it can be purchased from multiple retailers including Nordstrom. There are other brands that make nude hose for women with darker skin, that is just the first one that comes to mind. Black, navy, and white hose are too casual for this occasion. You can wear thigh high hose or hose that starts at the waist. Just make sure it fits well and won’t fall down. Exceptions: Cold weather: Boots are not appropriate; but dressy ankle boots with a pantsuit in [cold] winter are probably OK (1). I have also seen that it seems to be acceptable to bring a change of shoes for the tour vs. interview portion if the tour is occurring outside in snowy weather. Coats - If it's winter in a cold climate, you'll need a nice coat. The most classic is a black or camel color in a wool-like (wool/cashmere/camel/alpaca) fiber that hits somewhere below the knee. A trench coat (with or w/o liner) is also perfectly acceptable. Ski jackets, puffers and faux fur are not professional (1). Injury: Just do the best you can. Injury will be accommodated. It would be natural to mention it in passing (3). If your foot still can't fit comfortably into a good-looking normal shoe, rock the medical boot! Then wear a simple black flat on the other foot. Mention your injury in passing and get a free pass on footwear. You kind of need the boot to give it credibility (1). Rain: This is a great, professional looking rain coat. I'm in AZ and we have a crazy monsoon season. I soon realized I would need a rain jacket based on an experience where I looked like I was dipped in the pool without one. I got it in black and it keeps me 100% dry even in torrential, diagonal rain. They have free 3-5 day delivery with a purchase over $50, and it's $66. If you sign up for their e-mails, as a first time customer you get 20% off, making it ~$52. I feel like it's a good investment, especially if you are going to live somewhere that experiences frequent rain. They also have a cotton one with the same water repellent coating for $116 or $92 with this first time customer code. If you aren't sold, here is the cotton one out-performing similar coats. Where to buy? Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, J. Crew, the Limited, Tahari, Talbots. Nordstrom Rack was a decent place for shoes back when I was looking. DSW may also have appropriate shoe choices. If you know what you are doing, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Steinmart may have appropriate options (1). Mid-tier department stores like Macy’s are hit or miss. If you are petite, you may have some luck at H&M as well as the petite departments of Nordstrom, J Crew, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. Tahari and Ann Taylor carry plus sizes. If you are tall, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, The Limited, and J. Crew sell tall sizes online. Nordstrom offers tailoring for customers. Citations  DokterMom. (2014). http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/womens-interview-clothing.1082451/#post-15408624  DokterMom. Miscellaneous posts on older threads.  gyngyn. Miscellaneous posts on older threads.  Winged Scapula. Miscellaneous posts on older threads. This previous thread has some especially helpful information: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/womens-interview-clothing.1082451 DokterMom has a great post on page 1 Winged Scapula has a great post with links to examples on page 11 I have done my best to mine previous threads for gems and information, major contributions are cited above. If there are any discrepancies or additions, please let me know and I will update this post periodically.