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No, don't wear it. This process is meant to present the best versions of our actual selves, not for us to try and fit into some cultural expectations. I don't wear makeup (I'm a woman) and don't plan

Here's my advice from someone who also interviewed for clinical programs last year. Wear what makes you comfortable. ABSOLUTELY be professional in your dress, but show ankles if you want, or don't if

Those of you who recommended Torrid for dress pants, ILY. Found a killer pair of great fitting ankle slacks and they were ON SALE for $20!! Win!

Gosh I feel this so hard. Went to try on suits yesterday and almost had a nervous breakdown, lol.

I'm not sure what about them is unflattering for you, but I struggle because I have a larger chest (and am just a bit larger in general everywhere these days haha) but I found that collarless blazers or open front blazers are much more flattering on me. 

I know it's also appropriate to wear a professional dress with a blazer or something like that. 

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This is just my two cents so take it or leave it: in my experience academics are chronically informal. Not to say that you should not dress up for interviews, but it actually might work to your advantage not to be in a full pant suit. Some other options: dress pants and a nice sweater, sweater dress/sweater tunic with tights and tall boots, blazer with more casual blouse, dress pants and nice blouse. Lots of places like Banana Republic and Jcrew are having amazing sales right now. I've also found that thrift stores/consignment shops have really really good selections of professional clothes because it's often high quality to begin with and people don't wear them too frequently before donating. Just remember that as much as they're judging you as a professional they're also judging you as a person they want to hang out with for the next 5-6 years, so my approach is to keep some personal style in there. Hope this helps, and good luck!

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I would also try a skirt suit. When I interviewed last year, I’d say the majority of women wore pantsuits, but I did see some pencil skirts with jackets, and I think that’s professional and appropriate as well. I don’t think I saw any dress/ blazer combos, but I do think that could work as long as it’s conservative. I also think there’s an element of the vibe of the school and your personality. I feel super awk in pantsuits but I think it’s partly because I never wear them. Further, what to wear is an easy thing to get preoccupied with as it’s controllable and tangible. Maybe bring a friend or family member when you go try stuff on to give some perspective? Good luck! 

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Some of the best advice out there is to make sure things fit COMFORTABLY! You'll be spending the day walking around - you don't know how many flights of stairs you'll end up walking up (it was 3 once for me! - in my new dress shoes that I hadn't broken in yet - also, break in your shoes before you go), or how many buildings you'll have to visit (I also once walked over a mile in 90 degree weather at UGA for an interview. It's a beautiful campus with rolling hills, and I was so red and sweaty by the end of it). You want to be able to keep your full attention on the interview process, not trying to adjust the waistband on your pants or hoping your skirt isn't riding up. Try out the outfit before you go to make sure it functions as it should - spend an hour walking around (does the material breathe enough), sit down/stand up a bunch (does my shirt buckle between the buttons), etc. Also make sure to check the weather. My first in-person interview took a Texas girl to Michigan. I had never experienced a cold like that and I spent a lot of time trying to not look like I was freezing. A few different websites have suggested going up a size no matter what - just swallow your pride and do it. You want your clothes to fit well, but a lot of professional clothes are already form fitting (looking at you, pencil skirts), so any lumps or bumps are going to show through. You don't want your interviewers to remember your clothes, you want them to remember your amazing research ideas :) 

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6 minutes ago, terrycherry said:

woah i had no idea that we were supposed to wear suits/blazers at all. Really thought it would be less business... what do you guys think about a sweater and (dress) pants combo

 

Maybe it depends on the program/ I’m old school. But in my experience, suits are kind of the norm. I personally would err on the side of overdressed. 

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Just now, HAC said:

From what I have seen online, it seemed like the expected attire was more business casual and not full suits but I could be mistaken. This website ( http://www.howtogetintograduateschool.com/what-to-wear-to-a-graduate-school-interview/ ) for example says not to over dress

Haha funny, I said the complete opposite of you at the same time. That’s interesting! I’m purely going off of what I saw last year. Maybe things have changed! 

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11 minutes ago, terrycherry said:

woah i had no idea that we were supposed to wear suits/blazers at all. Really thought it would be less business... what do you guys think about a sweater and (dress) pants combo

 

The one interview I've gotten specifically said to wear suits. 

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4 minutes ago, emdreaming said:

Maybe it depends on the program/ I’m old school. But in my experience, suits are kind of the norm. I personally would err on the side of overdressed. 

I agree, I think it would be far worse to be underdressed. That's just a personal nightmare of mine, though. You won't get marked down for wearing a suit when no one else is, but it might be frowned upon if you are underdressed

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2 minutes ago, emdreaming said:

Haha funny, I said the complete opposite of you at the same time. That’s interesting! I’m purely going off of what I saw last year. Maybe things have changed! 

I think you could be absolutely correct. That being said, I think there is a large range of what’s acceptable between the two. I think it is important to be wearing professional clothing that are comfortable and you feel confident wearing. 

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Just now, justacigar said:

You won't get marked down for wearing a suit when no one else is, but it might be frowned upon if you are underdressed

Yeah but I absolutely hate wearing suits, and I would hate to wear one when I'm trying to be myself. Does that make sense? IDK I didn't expect this to be an issue 😐

 

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Just now, terrycherry said:

Yeah but I absolutely hate wearing suits, and I would hate to wear one when I'm trying to be myself. Does that make sense? IDK I didn't expect this to be an issue 😐

 

I would wear what you would normally wear to a job interview. 

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3 minutes ago, HAC said:

I think you could be absolutely correct. That being said, I think there is a large range of what’s acceptable between the two. I think it is important to be wearing professional clothing that are comfortable and you feel confident wearing. 

I agree 100%

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1 minute ago, terrycherry said:

Yeah but I absolutely hate wearing suits, and I would hate to wear one when I'm trying to be myself. Does that make sense? IDK I didn't expect this to be an issue 😐

 

Maybe go and try a few styles on?? I found a specific collarless style that I like (as a previous poster mentioned) but hated traditional suits. Also maybe try a blazer and pants instead of a full on suit? Or do you have an advisor/ mentor you could ask? 

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30 minutes ago, HAC said:

From what I have seen online, it seemed like the expected attire was more business casual and not full suits but I could be mistaken. This website ( http://www.howtogetintograduateschool.com/what-to-wear-to-a-graduate-school-interview/ ) for example says not to over dress

It depends by program but all applicants for clinical psych will be in suits. Other disciplines are maybe more laidback. 

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I saw this video of the Graduate Student Visiting Day organized by the Psychology Department at North Carolina State University. You can see how applicants, current students, and faculty members are dressed. I'm a female in my early 20s, and I plan on wearing a pair of Old Navy's Mid-Rise Pull-On Straight Pants for Women with a neutral (probably black) sweater, neutral (again, probably black) collared cardigan, and black booties. Personally, I don't feel comfortable wearing proper business slacks or a matching suit and I think this would be obvious to everyone else, too. It's not my style, and I'd rather wear an outfit I feel comfortable and confident in rather than one where I'm uncomfortable and not-so-confident. I highly recommend the Old Navy pants I linked because they're incredibly flattering and comfortable while maintaining a professional look. I found Old Navy has lots of nice dresses that fall past the knee, which means no worrying about your dress flying up or hiking up as you walk.

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It seems like Clinical folks wear nearly full formal attires for interviews. Is such full suit outfits also common for other psych areas?

I am certainly not envisioning wearing ripped jeans or croptops. But am wondering if people business casual/minimal casuals, such as sweaters, solid color jeans, basic t-shirts, etc.

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I second those suggesting a blazer/dress pants or suits for clinical interviews. That’s what 99% of people will be wearing. I met one person at an interview who wore cropped pants and a sweater and she really stuck out. As unfair as it is, some people do interpret this as unprofessional or not knowing the norms of the field. 
 

Another thing, wear your hair up if you tend to play with it when stressed. Speaking from experience because I apparently have a nervous habit of twirling my hair, which an interviewer kindly mentioned to my then-advisor (a colleague of hers) after my interview 😒

Edited by PsycUndergrad
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Can someone who has been to interviews give me some insight on appropriate make-up? I do not wear heavy make-up, but I want to wear some. For example, lipstick (modest colour) common or not?

 

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7 minutes ago, Cascadia said:

Can someone who has been to interviews give me some insight on appropriate make-up? I do not wear heavy make-up, but I want to wear some. For example, lipstick (modest colour) common or not?

 

I went to three interview weeks last year and the makeup choices of other applicants was something I did not notice - which probably means that no one was wearing anything too heavy! For myself, I wore foundation, eyebrow pencil, eyeshadow, and mascara, but only used one eyeshadow palette that is matte and in different tones of beige and brown. Overall, I was going for a "no-makeup makeup look" and I definitely didn't feel out of place.

Lipstick might be a little too much unless it's a very natural tone and you're comfortable wearing it in your daily routine outside of interviews (I usually notice lipstick and I can't say it was commonly worn by other applicants). A tinted lip balm or tinted lip gloss may be a better option. Just my opinion, though! :) 

Edited by rainydaychai
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2 minutes ago, rainydaychai said:

I went to three interview weeks last year and the makeup choices of other applicants was something I did not notice - which probably means that no one was wearing anything too heavy! For myself, I wore foundation, eyebrow pencil, eyeshadow, and mascara, but only used one eyeshadow palate that is matte and in different tones of beige and brown. Overall, I was going for a "no-makeup makeup look" and I definitely didn't feel out of place.

Lipstick might be a little too much unless it's a very natural tone and you're comfortable wearing it in your daily routine outside of interviews (I usually notice lipstick and I can't say it was commonly worn by other applicants). A tinted lip balm or tinted lip gloss may be a better option. Just my opinion, though! :) 

Thank you!

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2 hours ago, devpsych2020 said:

It seems like Clinical folks wear nearly full formal attires for interviews. Is such full suit outfits also common for other psych areas?

I am certainly not envisioning wearing ripped jeans or croptops. But am wondering if people business casual/minimal casuals, such as sweaters, solid color jeans, basic t-shirts, etc.

I have to assume jeans of any kinds would be a solid no-no, regardless of concentration, same with t-shirts. I would still think you'd want to wear slacks of some kind and maybe  a sweater but more likely a dress shirt. 

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