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Dressing for multi-day campus visit


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I got my first interview request! The campus visit will consist of activities over the course of 3 days, starting with a dinner, then a full day of meetings, and ending with morning activities. Since I didn't previously own a set of interview clothes I was super comfortable with (I've transitioned since the last time I had to wear a suit), I bought a complete new outfit--but I don't really have the means to buy two more! I plan on wearing the new outfit for the full day of interviews, but would it be super noticeable to mix and match with other pieces I own (for example, pairing the pants with a less formal jacket I already owned)? (Also, if the dinner or morning activities are less formal, is it still inappropriate to wear jeans if paired with a suit jacket, pumps, and nice blouse?) Or am I overthinking this?

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Congrats on your transition!

 

I don't know what your new outfit is, but here's the approach I'm taking.  I have a pair of black slacks and black jacket from Kohls, and I'm going to go get enough differently colored blouses to last me through the visit.  I would suggest black pump with no heel, but that's just because I can't do heels (I blame a battle with a kick scooter many years ago).  If you can walk comfortably all day in heels, go for it.  It's a good opportunity to make sure everyone knows that you're female, so I would avoid the long sleeved button up look and go with a short-sleeved blouse instead (Potential ideas here, but go with what you love, I'm just some stranger on the Internet).

Bring a pair of jeans as well.  I would suggest a dark blue pair.  Your blouses will be able to go well with the jeans as long as they're dark for a less formal look.  Find out where the dinner is, since it may be a less formal option, and thus jeans would be cool.  Plan on your suit on Day 2 and Day 3.


If you're going someplace cold, I recommend bringing some layers with you as well.  I like Cuddleduds the best, since they're super cozy and go under most clothes just fine.  And they're sold at Kohls, so...even easier.

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Not sure if the dress code varies by subject (I know folks in the natural sciences tend to dress casually so I may be biased) but I've been wearing either a dress + cardigan or trousers + blouse + jacket for my day of interviews, and jeans + nice sweater for other days / dinner events. That's been totally fine and very average in terms of the formality of other candidates' outfits. Good luck!  

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15 hours ago, E-P said:

It's a good opportunity to make sure everyone knows that you're female

Thanks for the advice! To be clear, I'm not female but I am feminine leaning and definitely prefer women's clothing. The outfit I bought is a classic gray pantsuit, and I'm playing around with either beige or black pumps (I also have a pair of pink oxfords I plan on bringing as backup). I have another gray jacket that's much less formal (but I would still say business casual) that I'm planning to mix and match as well, and I definitely have jeans with a dark wash. I may need one or two more blouses, though!

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1 hour ago, deshypothequiez said:

Thanks for the advice! To be clear, I'm not female but I am feminine leaning and definitely prefer women's clothing. The outfit I bought is a classic gray pantsuit, and I'm playing around with either beige or black pumps (I also have a pair of pink oxfords I plan on bringing as backup). I have another gray jacket that's much less formal (but I would still say business casual) that I'm planning to mix and match as well, and I definitely have jeans with a dark wash. I may need one or two more blouses, though!

Thanks!  I'm sorry for my assumption.  It sounds like you're in a good place.  Good luck!  I see you're coming to Chicagoland - if you haven't been here before, let me know if you think you'll have any time to explore, and I'll suggest a couple of spots. :)

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Re: the pumps. Make sure you'll be comfortable if you're walking around campus and from place to place all day (e.g., 12 hours out of your lodging with 1-2 miles of walking). If you think you'll have blisters after a day of that, I'd plan on different footwear for the entire visit. You don't want to get blisters on day one and be limping around!

I really doubt you'll need a pantsuit for an interview weekend unless that's what you're most comfortable in. You may find that you want to pair the pants with a blouse or the jacket with a blouse and jeans, for example. Button-down shirts and sweaters (a nice v-neck for example) can also work well for interviews. Oh, and if you do go the jeans and blouse route, you may want to consider a cardigan as a way to keep warm indoors.

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14 hours ago, rising_star said:

Re: the pumps. Make sure you'll be comfortable if you're walking around campus and from place to place all day (e.g., 12 hours out of your lodging with 1-2 miles of walking). If you think you'll have blisters after a day of that, I'd plan on different footwear for the entire visit. You don't want to get blisters on day one and be limping around!

Yes, I'm rethinking my devotion to pumps :lol: I think I'll wear them to the dinner, and oxfords to the full day.

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