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Jun 9, 2020
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Hi there,

I am currently in limbo after submitting my applications and have been looking into interview attire. Many people say that women should not wear black suits are they are too harsh and formal, and they suggest colors such as navy or charcoal/gray. I was thinking about doing a navy suit with a nude heel and nude bag, but found suggestions saying that a nude heel is too casual for these interviews and should not be worn. I refuse to wear a black heel with a navy suit, so I was wondering if you all had any other advice/suggestions for shoes to wear with navy suits? Also...use this thread as a topic to discuss all other women's interview comments.

EDIT: I was hoping that some schools would still hold in-person interviews this year, but just saw the AAMC statement last night discussing their recommendation to shift to all virtual interviews. Can we talk about how this may influence the attire as well?
 
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This might be a little neurotic of a question, but what's the norm attire for the headshots that have to be submitted for secondaries (or TMDSAS)? Should I wear a suit jacket, or is just a nice blouse fine?

Also, for virtual interviews, obviously shoes don't really matter, but I imagine we'll be expected to get suited up / have the same appearance as we would in-person.
 
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M&L

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I was wearing black skirt suit, with pink single-colored blouse. It "softened" the suit. In southern, smaller, more casual schools, i kept my hair curly (natural curl), and actually wore a pink blouse with black flowers. It created an overall informal approachable feel. I felt like it matched better to the environment. In north-eastern schools, which i perceived as more "official", so to say, i wore the soft pink solid color blouse, and my hair was slick in the bun.
 

M&L

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This might be a little neurotic of a question, but what's the norm attire for the headshots that have to be submitted for secondaries (or TMDSAS)? Should I wear a suit jacket, or is just a nice blouse fine?

Also, for virtual interviews, obviously shoes don't really matter, but I imagine we'll be expected to get suited up / have the same appearance as we would in-person.
Id say wear a suit for headshots - when they were doing headshots for us in medical school, medical students were required to wear a coat, and med masters students were required to wear a jacket. More professional
 

DokterMom

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OK, so interview suit time again! There are some good older threads on this topic that are still perfectly valid, so worth a read, but:
  • For women - not men - black suits are fine. They can look harsh if paired with a plain white blouse, so something like a light pink or blue can soften the look a bit, or a jewel tone if your coloring is more vibrant.
  • For a navy suit, black shoes are OK, as are nude, navy and cordovan.
    • Note that a 'nude' shoe is not natural leather, but rather a dressy opaque stain that is 'nude' for YOUR skin tone with sheer pantyhose. For that reason, the 'right nude' can be hard to find and is best done either in person or with a generous return policy.​
    • The right navy shoe needs to match your suit, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Most navys have either a purple, green or grey undertone, and it can be hard to find a good match.​
    • Cordovan - a rich brownish dark burgundy - is a classic look, but good luck finding a matching handbag.​
    • Which is why so many opt for black...​
  • For a head shot, a blazer or suit jacket is best, though a professional blouse is acceptable. I'd err on the Jacket side this year though, since it'll probably play a much larger role in your application package.​
  • For a virtual interview, I'd probably wear the whole suit, skipping only the pantyhose. (I can actually imagine myself asking the applicant if they're actually wearing the whole suit! Though honestly, I think I might like the jacket + PJs applicants best...)​
 

M&L

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OK, so interview suite time again! There are some good older threads on this topic that are still perfectly valid, so worth a read, but:
  • For women - not men - black suits are fine. They can look harsh if paired with a plain white blouse, so something like a light pink or blue can soften the look a bit, or a jewel tone if your coloring is more vibrant.
  • For a navy suit, black shoes are OK, as are nude, navy and cordovan.
    • Note that a 'nude' shoe is not natural leather, but rather a dressy opaque stain that is 'nude' for YOUR skin tone with sheer pantyhose. For that reason, the 'right nude' can be hard to find and is best done either in person or with a generous return policy.​
    • The right navy shoe needs to match your suit, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Most navys have either a purple, green or grey undertone, and it can be hard to find a good match.​
    • Cordovan - a rich brownish dark burgundy - is a classic look, but good luck finding a matching handbag.​
    • Which is why so many opt for black...​
  • For a head shot, a blazer or suit jacket is best, though a professional blouse is acceptable.​
  • For a virtual interview, I'd probably wear the whole suit, skipping only the pantyhose. (I can actually imagine myself asking the applicant if they're actually wearing the whole suit! Though honestly, I think I might like the jacket + PJs applicants best...)​
btw, i remember you posting things like this before, and i was reading them WORD BY WORD for my interview. THank you so much. I think you definitely helped me without even knowing it.
 
Apr 13, 2020
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Probably no in-person interviews this year.

Many women wore black suits with light (white, pink, blue) colored silk or polyester blouses with short, black, closed-toe heels. Many had their hair up in tight bun or down (if near-shoulder length) and straightened or lightly curled.
 

jhkmd

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@DokterMom did a great job above but I wanted to mention a few more things:

-Nails should be neat and tidy; if you're going to wear nail polish, wearing clear polish is better than colored nail polish as it's not the norm for all types of doctors to wear nail polish to work
-Wear hose with a skirt suit ALWAYS (of course make sure that there are no runs in the hose)
-DON'T wear perfume or cologne
-Makeup should be minimal; i.e. brow liner, mascara, and lip gloss. I wouldn't go w/out makeup as that looks like you didn't care to put in the effort to look nice for your interview
-Some kind of bright scarf or necktie can make you stand out (IF it matches the rest of your outfit), and sometimes helps people remember you when the faculty re-evaluate interviews later on (for women only)
-Jewelry should be classy & minimal (e.g., a bracelet + a simple necklace, or simple earrings). DON'T wear dangly earrings/hoops/mismatching jewelry.
-Getting your suit custom-fitted by a tailor is probably a good investment, and shouldn't be too expensive. You really don't want to be known as the kid that wore a suit that didn't fit right
-Shoes: should always be closed-toe and <2 1/2" heel
-I would wear a skirt suit rather than a pantsuit for most schools (err on the safe side).

Good luck!
 

TelemarketingEnigma

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Having been on both sides of virtual interviews before, the good news is that you’re all probably going to have a lot more leeway with clothing this year. You still want to dress nicely, but over video it’s a lot harder to tell if things don’t fit quite perfectly, if the fabrics match perfectly, etc.

As much as I love wearing pajamas all the time, I would definitely recommend wearing nice pants (full suit if you can) for virtual interviews - I have no idea what the format will be for y’all, but you never know when you might need to get up/shift camera position, and you may not want to show everyone your cool new spongebob pajamas (or whatever the cool kids are wearing these days). Plus it’ll help you get in the professional mood


Sent from my iPhone using SDN
 

jhkmd

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TelemarketingEnigma said:
Having been on both sides of virtual interviews before, the good news is that you’re all probably going to have a lot more leeway with clothing this year. You still want to dress nicely, but over video it’s a lot harder to tell if things don’t fit quite perfectly, if the fabrics match perfectly, etc.

As much as I love wearing pajamas all the time, I would definitely recommend wearing nice pants (full suit if you can) for virtual interviews - I have no idea what the format will be for y’all, but you never know when you might need to get up/shift camera position, and you may not want to show everyone your cool new spongebob pajamas (or whatever the cool kids are wearing these days). Plus it’ll help you get in the professional mood
@TelemarketingEnigma sage words of wisdom
 
Jan 26, 2019
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For jewelry, is it acceptable to leave my nose piercing in? It's a small stud, not a hoop and is not super noticeable especially in a video interview but should I take it out just to be safe?
 
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For jewelry, is it acceptable to leave my nose piercing in? It's a small stud, not a hoop and is not super noticeable especially in a video interview but should I take it out just to be safe?
I’m a guy so take whatever I say with a grain of salt. If wearing your nose piercing isn’t going to help you and there’s a chance that it could hurt you, does it make sense to risk it? That being said if it makes you comfortable and you have to have it in, I doubt it’ll make that big of a difference.
 
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For jewelry, is it acceptable to leave my nose piercing in? It's a small stud, not a hoop and is not super noticeable especially in a video interview but should I take it out just to be safe?
Up to you, but I took my piercings out for interviews last year, just to be safe. Also made sure to cover up my tattoos. Didn't want to risk anyone having any biases against me on a very important day! Once you're in, it doesn't as much; a bunch of us in my class have various piercings and tattoos.
 

cubsfan95

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Nude heels are totally fine. My suggestion is to avoid Louboutin's as they are too sexy and go with something more understated like a Jimmy Choo.
 

DokterMom

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Nude heels are totally fine. My suggestion is to avoid Louboutin's as they are too sexy and go with something more understated like a Jimmy Choo.
Jimmy Choo? More like Naturalizer...

One other more subtle point on interview attire -- For women especially, try not to wear obviously-expensive or showy items that might make you look like "Daddy's little princess."
 
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Nude heels are totally fine. My suggestion is to avoid Louboutin's as they are too sexy and go with something more understated like a Jimmy Choo.
How do you feel about Rolex watches ... asking for another SDN user :whistle:
 

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Naturalizer? lol please. If I saw a female wearing Naturalizer pumps to an interview, I would reject her based on that alone.

Women, dress to impress. There are some helpful videos online of female medical students who discuss their interview and professional attire.
A Rolex looks ridiculous on a 20-something. A Rolex is something you buy when you have "made it."
You're right on the Rolex, but very wrong on the footwear. Interview footwear should be "professional and sensible", not sexy, and not "to impress" shoes. Most Jimmy Choos are wrong for the same reason a Rolex is ill-advised -- they're visibly expensive. So unless you're a non-trad coming off a successful career in law or investment banking, wearing $800 shoes is not going to be the right look for an aspiring medical student. Once you're an attending? - Go for it and enjoy them.

Also guessing you're a guy @cubsfan95 so you may not be in the best position to advise on women's interview attire.

Ladies - Do NOT make the mistake of choosing your interview attire to impress the guys. Your goal for this outfit is not to look attractive; it's to look intelligent and capable, like someone with good judgement.
 

TelemarketingEnigma

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Also guessing you're a guy @cubsfan95 so you may not be in the best position to advise on women's interview attire.

Ladies - Do NOT make the mistake of choosing your interview attire to impress the guys. Your goal for this outfit is not to look attractive; it's to look intelligent and capable, like someone with good judgement.
something tells me that most people like this probably couldn't identify women's shoe brands beyond something obvious like red bottoms anyway (and even then, plenty of knockoffs...)
 

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I want to add a comment on the virtual interview thing: Please be sitting at a desk or table with a non-distracting background. Find a place where your face is well lit and your laptop screen is more or less at eye level (put it on a box if needed). Do not have a spinning ceiling fan in your background, do not take the call from your fluffy bed full of pillows, do not play with your hair while interviewing.
 

M&L

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Jimmy Choo? More like Naturalizer...

One other more subtle point on interview attire -- For women especially, try not to wear obviously-expensive or showy items that might make you look like "Daddy's little princess."
yeah i honestly get a little nauseated when i see that too. hahahahahah
 

M&L

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Ladies, seriously. I know to all of you i am just a medical student, but i am much older, and i had a successful and diverse career before making this change. So, for the love of everything .... DRESS ACCORDING TO SCHOOL.
Let me explain: dress nice, but dress as if you belong. As if you are part of the school already. Is it a smaller rural program? If you show up in expensive shoes, nice purse, and modern sexy looking suit, you will stick out. In a bad way. All that would achieve is make people more self-conscious about who THEY are when they interview you. For the say reason, - if you are very obviously attractive, - i would play it down. Seriously. Chat about what you like to grow (gardening), your favorite recipes. I interviewed in school like that last year (was my top choice, btw, before EVMS acceptance), and more than half of the time i was sharing favorite recipes. The guy asked me what my hobby is, and i said "eating". He was laughing so hard, he actually stopped me, and wrote it down. so, in those schools, look warm, wear an older suit, older shoes, do dress professionally, but dress simpler and cheaper.
If you interview in a big city, - DC, New York, Boston - professional, sleek, modern suit is fine. More expensive accessories are fine. If you interview in big southern school - maybe something more "friendly" looking? colorful blouse? Smile more?

What i am trying to say, - adapt! things are not black and white.
Btw i was accepted after each interview (one WL that i withdrew from), and my stats are barely enough. I am not saying i am a genius of interview, but i am just so old, that i did so many different ppl interactions. It is basic psychology.
 

M&L

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You're right on the Rolex, but very wrong on the footwear. Interview footwear should be "professional and sensible", not sexy, and not "to impress" shoes. Most Jimmy Choos are wrong for the same reason a Rolex is ill-advised -- they're visibly expensive. So unless you're a non-trad coming off a successful career in law or investment banking, wearing $800 shoes is not going to be the right look for an aspiring medical student. Once you're an attending? - Go for it and enjoy them.

Also guessing you're a guy @cubsfan95 so you may not be in the best position to advise on women's interview attire.

Ladies - Do NOT make the mistake of choosing your interview attire to impress the guys. Your goal for this outfit is not to look attractive; it's to look intelligent and capable, like someone with good judgement.
yeah, plus do you not know if a guy will interview you, or a middle aged women who will hate your guts immediately when she sees your sexy heels and tailored suit. I am sorry, i know it sounds horrible, but it is true. Also , - i really hate saying this but i am SURE that your personal attractiveness sort of matters. For example, when i was interviewing i was much much bigger than i am now (lost 30 pounds since then). So, i felt like i could wear more feminine clothes for interview (for example, silk blouses, etc), without seeming "too much". Now, i know i look more attractive, so i am purposefully dressing more modest in professional environment. I know it sounds crazy, but i have been watching that for a while on different people and i am convinced it is true.
 

M&L

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Lol, being a guy makes me an expert on the subject.

Women should show up to interviews with understated elegance. Absolutely do not show up frumpy. Think about it, do you want to be treated by a frumpy future doctor? No right? So make the ideal first impression at the interview. I don't know what part of the country you are in but I've seen females go to interviews in Louboutin's here on the East Coast.
hahaha. wait, so you are a guy, a pre-med (so you are probably much much much younger than an average person who would interview applicants), so you definitely have a VERY different understanding and perception of things. Also, what cities did you interview in? location matters. How many interviews did you go to?

also, no one says a woman should dress "frumpy". and no one says woman should not dress elegant. What we are discouraging is dressing inappropriately expensive (inappropriate to school - you shouldt dress the same for Harvard interview and interview in a rural southern school), and inappropriately sexual. Also, dont forget, adding distracting details (such as overly expensive things or overly sexual) distracts whoever is looking at you from what you are SAYING. And you WANT them to remember what you are saying. Because they will be going to admissions committee and advocating (hopefully) on your behalf.
 
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FWIW I didn’t even have sdn so i didn’t know this advice when I applied. I dont even own pantyhose, wore hoops (not super large ones but hoops), my skirt was a greyish purple with very faint leopard print that you could only see if the light hit it a certain way, and a Cartier bracelet in my interviews and I got into all 6 MD schools I interviewed at ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I think this is all great advice for sure but also I wouldn’t like over stress about it, but that’s just my .02c.
 
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You'll hear a lot of differing opinions about what to wear — and especially what not to wear — to interviews, which can be extremely stressful. Reading through the interview attire threads definitely was for me last year, even though I am not new to dressing professionally. For that reason I wouldn't angst over your choices TOO much and I would also advise being careful about the sources whom you ask for guidance. As with a personal statement, soliciting opinions from too many disparate sources can sometimes be counterproductive; consulting 1-2 people who know you well and whose opinions and experience you trust instead and more or less ignoring the rest could be a psychologically beneficial strategy.

I would also emphasize here that your demeanor (facial expressions, body language, communication style, etc.) is a vital (!!!) part of your appearance and will likely play a much more significant role in the overall impression you make than your clothing will. Being friendly, open, and inquisitive will always help you make a positive first impression, and it will also help set both you and others more at ease. Looking professional is absolutely important, but so is being a sincere and smart human being.

Good luck this cycle!!!! Despite what some people will tell you, interviews really can be fun!

P.S. No one cares enough about your shoes to reject you for wearing a specific brand, as long as they look professional. Unless it's something the real Dolly Parton would wear, you will probably be a lot more fixated on what you're wearing than anyone else will. And if it is something the real Dolly Parton would wear, 1) you'll probably want to save it for a more celebratory occasion and 2) send me a picture!
 
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This is another issue that creates more worry than it is worth! Dress professionally, but comfortably. Of course, avoid very low-cut or sheer blouses, but other than that, don't stress! As far as shoes go, if you are interviewing on-campus, you will be doing a lot of walking, so don't wear high heels.
 
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