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Professional chic

What do I do? I am an associate at a small firm outside of Boston. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet many of our clients for the first time at our bi-annual gathering. At first, I was anxious about attending. I am the youngest employee at our small business; I worried about appearing too green, too naive, too young. What would I wear?

I was very lucky to have written the following post for a shared class blog last summer, on how 20-somethings should dress for summertime interviewa. Since Boston blessed us with the most beautiful first of May, all these tips proved helpful in creating an outfit that combined comfort and class. Re-purposed here, these guidelines apply to any dress-for-success situation (not just interviews) and I hope you’ll find them useful in your professional endeavors.

Style Tips for Summertime Interviewing

When dressing for a summertime interview, you want to appear appropriately formal, without feeling hot and bothered. Nothing will shoot your confidence like sweaty, wilted clothing or blisters from too-tight shoes. Achieving a balance between fashion and function will boost your confidence and help you land that job, internship, or promotion. Consider the following:
1. Stick to basics to achieve a classic look. Select simple styles in breathable, cotton materials. Pair a simple dress with a light sweater, stretchy pants or a pencil skirt with a cool button-up blouse. Keep colors light with shades of white or beige, or add a subtle splash of color with pale pink, powder blue, or mint green.
Photo of dress and sweater

Dress ($98) and sweater ($14) Urban Outfitters

Photo of blouse and pink pants

Blouse ($12.95) H&M; Pants ($25) Forever 21; Gold bracelet ($5.95) H&M; Pearl bracelet (vintage)

Photo of blouse and skirt

Blouse ($14.45), skirt ($12.95), and necklace ($5.95) H&M

2. Confidence and comfort are key, especially when it comes to selecting footwear. This may go without saying, but keep your stilettos in the closet. To avoid blisters and swelling, choose a pair of well-worn, but well-kept shoes that you are comfortable walking around in. Ballet flats are probably your safest bet, but if you decide to go with heels, choose a low heel. A versatile and trendy nude shoe will compliment any outfit. Consider commuting in thin, comfortable sandals that are easy to stash in your bag and change into heels right before arriving at your interview.
Photo of beige heels

Heels ($30 clearance) Steve Madden

3. Don’t excess-orize. Wearing statement jewelry, a large pendant necklace or chunky bangle, could irritate sweaty skin and weigh down a delicate outfit. Keep it simple with studded diamond earrings or a thin pearl bracelet. One ring per hand and polishes in clear, light, or neutral shades. For example, a pale, creamy, opaque pink like “Fiji” by Essie will look professional while adding a feminine touch.
Photo of accessories

Gold bracelet ($5.95) and necklace ($5.95) H&M; Ring and pearl bracelet (vintage)

I learned so much from yesterday’s event and was glad I attended. Following these tips, I felt professional, comfortable, and perfectly chic in my pink dress pants, floral-printed blouse, and pearl-buttoned sweater.

Photo of professional attire

Pants ($25) and blouse (hand-me-down) H&M, sweater (vintage)

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One thought on “Professional chic

  1. “Stick to the basics to achieve a classic look” I think that sums it up so well! Its the perfect balance of professionalism, but not going overboard and shows your personality. Love it!

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