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Interview Attire: Other than the obvious..


mightymouse

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So, besides the obvious (nothing above the knee, cover those shoulders, avoid looking like you don't care).. anything that people know to be a kiss of death? Or better yet, are there stuffy old rules that we can toss out the window (for example, no one ever needs to wear nude tights outside of a Hooters. Ever.). 

 

All I'm saying is, I have this dress from White House Black Market that is decidedly not solid black.. (black, white, and beige color blocking) but you know what? I think it looks perfect and I'm only 5 feet tall so it hits just at my knees. I'll wear a black blazer over it and I will stand out a little. 

 

So what about everyone else? What are you wearing?

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I like your outfit. I think that would work well with the black blazer, and it sounds like it will make you feel confident!  I also believe in standing out :P so I wore: red shirt, black blazer, dark grey skirt, v.similar to this image, but more professional. I've also worn red sweater over black or white shirt, black dress pants, black blazer. I like to stick with solids + layering myself, sometime even going for all black and greys but for grad school interviews red is my color, i dunno why but it makes me feel more confident! 

 

Good Luck!!!

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is a skirt above the knee a definite no? mine falls about where that skirt does in the image you linked. i wanted a pencil skirt, but they look terrible on me! my dress code is business casual. what does that entail for a grad school? also, gorgeous dress, mightymouse! 

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At the two interviews I've been two so far, I wore dress pants an a nice top (either sweater-shirt or blouse).  Both times I had a black sweater for if it was cold - no blazer.  At both interviews, there were some people in attire like mine and some in more formal suits and blazers and skirts, and I don't think either style was a problem.  One professor I talked to (and I wouldn't talk this advice as a whole, just thought it was interesting) said "I don't understand the people who get dressed way up for these interviews.  Don't they know what graduate school attire is like?"  Again, I wouldn't take that as advice, since you don't want to wear actual grad student attire (since that would be way too casual and look like you don't care), but I don't think the professors will put nearly as much thought into attire as we all do.  Look nice, presentable, and at least business casual (unless they specify otherwise), and you should be fine.

Edited by lypiphera
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I like that outfit 42ed :) And no, I'd say that the length in the photo I posted is fine, but on a 5' tall frame, a few inches above my knee is literally half way up my thigh lol so I have to err on the side of caution. I had a hell of a time finding a dress with a neckline that was appropriate for me as well, I'm also a 34D so it's a real bitch finding jackets that fit properly that aren't too big everywhere else.. it's just annoying. 

 

And how about shoes... I'm going with black almond toe pumps, but if I had the cash I'd probably get some silver cap toed beige one from Piperlime.. but alas I am broke.. obviously. Anyone still believe the rule about strictly black shoes? I know that peeps are still a no-no.. but really is a little color so damning?  

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One of the things I've been trying to decide is if I want to wear heels or not. I've heard some people say that you shouldn't in case you tour the campus on the same day of your interview. But I'm another short girl, so I think the dress pants and flats combo makes me look like a little kid playing dress up. Either way, I don't think the shoes have to be strictly black. 

 

I'm actually having a harder time trying to figure out what to wear for the other parts of the interview weekend. Are jeans okay to wear to dinner, or should I bring a dress?

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The graduate student that was hosting me told me exactly what to wear for the interview weekend before I attended, so they are a great resource.  For the interviews I wore a nice, 1/2 sleeved dress with leggings and boots, and a blazer.  For dinners, although I was told it was okay to wear jeans, I wore "nice," colored jeans (jeans that would be appropiate for work), and a blouse.  Although I am short, I refuse to wear heels, because I look like a fool walking in them but that is just me.  If it's icy where you're going be careful, because some girls did stagger/trip during the campus tour.  I could tell the professors where I went did not mind about dress that much, because they themselves were in jeans haha, but it is nice to dress up a little bit more than usual.

 

Good luck on the interviews! :)

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 I could tell the professors where I went did not mind about dress that much, because they themselves were in jeans haha, but it is nice to dress up a little bit more than usual.

I thought the exact same thing. The professors were not really dressed up, and the grad students definitely were not. We had a dinner at a professor's house and I was asking what I should wear and the students were like, we're all going to be in jeans, so don't get too dressed up. Everything at my interview was a lot more relaxed than I expected, and it felt nice to know that no one was judging me on the outfit that I pondered over for hours.

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mightymouse, i have to perfectly honest - i went to white house black market to look at dresses. the magic dress was that swirl sheath one as well! the sales woman actually picked it out. i didn't think in a million years that this one would fit right on me! thank goodness we aren't applying to the same programs :P. the dress is perfection! i'm planning on wearing it with a dressy cardigan, tights, and low heels. should that be fancy enough for business casual? or should i buy a blazer? i also have jewelry to dress it up. 

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Old tips I was give:

 

1. (Writing for the Workplace Professor) Avoid severe colors if you go with a full suit: such as blacks and reds. The colors are more aggressive and as an undergraduate candidate you want to appear like a student and not subconsciously enter a power-play situation. 

 

 

2. (My mom) Always dress a step above for the position you want in any interview. If your professor is in jeans, be in business casual, if he's business casual, be a suit. 

 

So dressy casual atleast.  I've always gone the pants suit or skirt suit route, but mainly because I've never had a tailored dress that looks business-casual enough.

 

Personally, I've avoided the full pinstripe appearance, and will go with a solid leg color with a suit jacket... but for no reason other than I don't like looking like a giant stripe!

 

 

I think your choice is fantastic, frankly. so no worries.

 

 

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Question for the ladies...what do you wear for shoes?  I mean in cold weather places?  I'm from a more tropical climate, and even when I've gone to conferences, they've been in warmer weather places.  So what do you wear when it's like 30 degrees?  I would think flats are too cold, no?  I've been thinking maybe boots under my pants might work?  Or am I just naive to how people deal with cold weather.  Maybe you're used to it, if you're from somewhere like that...lol enlighten me.

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I would go with dressy ankle boots. If you end up attending grad school in a cold weather city, a lot of people where warm, waterproof boots to work and then change into heels or flats. For an interview situation where you won't have that opportunity, ankle boots all the way.

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I wore flats (sturdy ones with socks) to an interview this year, but I actually did debate between those and "mid-calf length" boots under my pants.  I'm from a cold weather place (that gets quite a bit of snow) so I didn't want to wear heels as I can be quite a klutz when snow/ice is involved.  For me, flats aren't that cold in the winter, but then again I'm used to the cold.  If you want something a little warmer, then boots (ankle or otherwise) would be a good option.

Edited by psychdork
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I wore comfortable walking shoes that look likesolid black gym shoes.  I was comfortable and able to walk around, and I was very glad I wasn't wearing heels, given how much we were on our feet and how cold it was.  I don't think wearing practical, decent looking shoes would hurt your chances.

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If there is a dinner with the graduate students the night before the interview, am I going to be really over dressed in a dress and heels?

 

I wish that how we dressed didn't matter at all and we could all just show up in jeans and t-shirt and not worry about it!

I would think so. I went to the one for the interview I had and everyone wore business casual, pretty much.

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Maybe this is a weird question and I'm just freaking out, but I have to ask.

 

My flight gets in at 5:30pm to an airport about 1 hour away from the school. I'm taking a shuttle from the airport to the hotel and we're supposed to go to dinner with the graduate students at 7. My POIs want to pick me up at the hotel at 6:45 and drive me to the restaurant for dinner. I obviously do not want to be on a plane in my nice dinner clothes, so do I: a) hope the shuttle gets to the hotel in time for me to change clothes and meet my POIs on time or

b ) change clothes at the airport before getting on the shuttle?

Edited by stereopticons
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I agree- bring a change of clothes in your carry on. When your plane lands, you can get out, go to the bathroom, change, and probably make it to baggage claim before your clothes appear (if you are checking a bag).

 

If you're a girl, you could also wear a nice skirt and a tank top, and then put on a nice shirt over your tank when you get off, or a fancy cardigan, or something like that, and switch your shoes with a pair of heels from your purse. So you can go with fairly comfortable and then turn it into nice outfit almost instantly. Guys... I'm less sure about :-) But you could maybe do a nice pair of jeans and a button down shirt, and then put a sweater on over your button down shirt when you land. So basically, through layering and carrying shoes in your carry on, you can do the switch pretty easily- or you can go full force and bring a whole new outfit in your carry on and take the time to change :-)

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