What Should You Wear on a Fashion Industry Interview?

A reader recently emailed us asking what she should wear to an upcoming interview with a prominent New York fashion designer. "Do you think you could help me with some suggestions?" she said. Of course we could, but first, we wanted to ask a few of our industry favorites what they think one should wear to a fashion interview. Because it really is different than interviewing for a job at a law firm--or even an advertising agency. Matthew Hunt, the publicity director at Exposure US (who's worked everywhere from Gucci to Burberry to Ford Models), says it best:
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A reader recently emailed us asking what she should wear to an upcoming interview with a prominent New York fashion designer. "Do you think you could help me with some suggestions?" she said. Of course we could, but first, we wanted to ask a few of our industry favorites what they think one should wear to a fashion interview. Because it really is different than interviewing for a job at a law firm--or even an advertising agency. Matthew Hunt, the publicity director at Exposure US (who's worked everywhere from Gucci to Burberry to Ford Models), says it best:
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A reader recently emailed us asking what she should wear to an upcoming interview with a prominent New York fashion designer. "Do you think you could help me with some suggestions?" she said.

Of course we could, but first, we wanted to ask a few of our industry favorites what they think one should wear to a fashion interview. Because it really is different than interviewing for a job at a law firm--or even an advertising agency.

Matthew Hunt, the publicity director at Exposure US (who's worked everywhere from Gucci to Burberry to Ford Models), says it best:

"You should definitely dress differently at a fashion interview than in the more corporate worlds of say finance or pharmaceuticals. However, presenting yourself as polished and professional is ALWAYS key. The team at Vogue is fashion-conscious, but they could just as easily walk into many different companies and look equally appropriate. Your look should always say, "I'm pulled together and organized--if you need to take me with you to a meeting with clients or top editors, I will fit in. I am ready to work at a higher level within your office, even if I am starting at an intern." Your potential new boss should find it easy to imagine you in a more senior position.

That being said, in the fashion industry you can easily show up in a smart jacket paired with darker, more sophisticated denim and a great, clean pair of shoes and be ready to start immediately. Sharp shoes are key--they don't have to cost a fortune, but most people aren't impressed when shoes appear to be overly scuffed up and worn-in."

Britt Aboutaleb, former Fashionista editor and current style news editor at Elle.com, feels similarly to Matthew:

"They should wear something expressive--whether expressive means a silk blouse and jeans or a colorful dress and heels. It should probably be one of your go-to favorite outfits...Anything but leggings or a suit, I guess."

Now, if that suit is Stella McCartney, then it will probably work, but what Britt means is anything that looks too stuffy, lawyer-ish is not appropriate. Especially if you're on the less experienced side of things.

So, the two takeaways are: Look clean, and look like yourself. If you walk into an interview decked out head-to-toe in your older sister's Jil Sander, but your style is typically bohemian, you won't feel comfortable. And being at ease with who you are is the most important thing in any interview situation.

Still need outfit ideas? Click through for some options. (Just remember, we've included some pricey items, so if you're on a tight budget, try applying these styling ideas to affordable pieces, or--better yet--your existing wardrobe.)

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Asos Slim Cropped Trousers, $69 Loafers, $60

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Net-a-Porter Lela Rose Pleated Cotton/Twill Dress, $1,095 Giuseppe Zanotti Sandals, $300 Balmain Belt, $590.80

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J.Crew (We suggest adding a blazer to this look to make it a bit more work-appropriate.) Starry Night Mini, $118 Jamestown Peep Toe Boots, $298 Tissue V-Neck Classic Tee, $29.50

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Opening Ceremony Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony Twist Back Dress, $233

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Topshop Tuck Shift Dress, $90 Slash Lapel Jacket, $110