Big Hair and Shoulder Pads: Bringing Back the 80’s

June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

My magnificent 80’s hair. It took at least 30 minutes and half a can of hairspray to create. I’d like to apologize to the ozone layer.

I was at the office last week with Cindy and Maria and discussing my dad’s magnificent 70’s hair when we got on to the topic of what to wear to work or at a job interview. While we’re not a group obsessed with fashion, Cindy and Maria pointed out that when you go on an interview, you want to be remembered for your experience and what you’ll bring to the job, not for your big hair and shoulder pads ala Dallas. This same advice goes for recent grads making the move from full-time college student.

Dress for the culture of the company where you’re interviewing. If you’re interviewing at a traditional company where the daily dress code demands suits and ties for the men and suits and dresses for the ladies, you need to be dressed the same. If you’re interviewing at a company where you know the dress code is more relaxed, mimic what they’re wearing. Do your research! If you don’t know, its always best to wear a suit or dress up a bit.

Could your outfit go from work to evening with no changes? Then you might want to re-think wearing it to an interview. You’re going to a workplace, not out to a club with your girlfriends. Save the revealing shirts and halter tops and the short skirts or too tight pants for a night out. Make sure the clothes fit properly. Too tight and you look like a hoochie mama. Too loose and you look sloppy.

Business casual does NOT mean jeans and t-shirts. This is one area that seems to be abused. Business casual basically means you’re not wearing a suit! Wear clean, neat clothing that fits properly. For ladies, it means classics like khakis or slacks, tailored shirts and sweaters, and not sneakers. Going with fabrics like cotton, silk, or wool in classic styles. Button up shirts, blouses or sweater sets are a good buy. A great guide for business casual can be found on Virginia Tech’s website.

Incorporate a few trends with classics to keep your look fresh. According to the website above, a good suit should last you 5 – 10 years. Go for classic cuts, colors, and fabrics. Then you can add accessories such as bags, shoes, scarves, and jewelry to bring the outfit together and make you look up to date. But take it easy! If you’re accessories are overwhelming, you may be remembered for that loud scarf rather than the fact that you generated a million dollars in sales for your last company.

The bigger the hair, the closer to God. Certain hairstyles such as a bobbed hair cut never really go out of fashion, but if you’re still spending a good half hour teasing and spraying your hair into a towering testament to your styling abilities, it might be time to visit the salon for a new look. Hair should be neat, clean, and classic. If you’re not sure what you want to do, visit the library and look through the hairstyling magazines or take a look at the styles your professional idols wear as a guide.

Other grooming – nails and perfume. I think we’ve all had experiences with cashiers or customer service reps who defy the laws of physics to push buttons on a console with two inch long claws on their fingers. Don’t be that person! Keep your nails neat and short. Go for polish in muted classic colors such as pinks or neutrals. As to perfume, the rule now is to forgo it. So many people are sensitive to smells. If you are a smoker, know that if you smoke right before you go inside, the scent will waft in with you.

You don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe. For interviews, invest in a couple of good pieces such as a classic skirt and blouse. This is a great graduation gift for grads. If you’re going back to the workplace, check out the area consignment shops where you can get good quality items for less. If you get separates like this, you can add other pieces to extend your wardrobe when you first start working. The skirt can be worn with the blouse and a sweater. The blouse can be worn with slacks. Adding scarves and necklaces can switch the look the around. Don’t go out and buy a whole work wardrobe when you’re still interviewing!

For more great guidelines on interviewing clothing visit: http://www.career.vt.edu/Interviewing/InterviewAppearance.

Coming soon, PEC will be unveiling our new Virtual Career Center. One of the cool things available is the ability to do a mock interview which you can record and watch to see yourself in action during an interview! Stay tuned as I guinea pig the services available!

Posted by: Heather Comstock

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