My mom’s method of parenting, an anomaly against the Parenting Handbook for Dummies doctors give out post birth , never told me what to wear or what not to wear. Suggestions were welcome. And inappropriate attire would never make it out the door alive. But never was I awarded a Danny Tanner expression. The one that creeps up alongside your front door as if to say, “You are not leaving the house like that, young lady!” As I could imagine Deejay and Stephanie and even baby Michelle probably experienced growing up in that constraining household. And yes, I’ve been watching too much Fuller House on Netflix.
It was mostly for the better. But looking back now at old pictures pre-dating high school, warrants me to wonder why nobody ever stopped me before I sped out the front door. If I wanted to show up to middle school in purple argyle socks, a lavender sweater and magenta pompom earrings that begged me to break out into a cheerleader chant—Like I did on one such occasion—I would have signed up for my school’s musical that year. But because I am tone deaf, and clearly color blind, I would never have thought to do such a thing.
With my outlet of self-expression through clothing, the sky was, clearly, the limit. Even if that sky was 50 shades of purple. But after jetting out the door one morning this week, I received a text from my mom: “You can’t wear those pants ever again,” It read. I was stunned. I’d been caught. I knew I needed to burn them immediately.
She was referring to the Interview Pants.
The ones I bought before my first interview. Two years ago. They were once navy, and now a shade of light blue, from consecutive wear and overuse. They were made of cotton eyelet. A cross breed between your mom’s pinstripe pants from the 80’s and your dad’s business trousers. “Cigar pants”, the industry calls them. Skinny pants, like its name suggests, with just enough butt room to sit down comfortably in a hot seat— AKA the interviewee chair. There was nothing particularly special about them, no sentimental value, and no lucky charm. It’s seen me through triumph and rejection. Through fumbled words of designers I’ve never heard of and confident rants of my achievements.
There was nothing else in my closet that screamed BIZNESS PROFESH. And so fall turned into spring, turned into fall again. 2014 turned into ‘15 turned into ‘16. And there you had me walking into Elie Tahari that morning with the same pants, violating every outfit repeater offense under the sun.
My mom was right. It was time to say goodbye. Off to the back of the closet they went alongside my sequined shrug. Remember those? They’ve yet to make a comeback. Anyways, I bought myself a pair of dusty pink spring interview pants. I hope my former pants don’t look at this as an act of betrayal but a token of change. Moving on to bigger and better things, right?
Here are some things you can wear to an interview that says, “I’m not uptight but still sophisticated and chic and I don’t have to wear a suit pant to prove that to you”
- Never wear any form of jean
- Flats are fine
- Tailored clothing
- Always bring a copy of your resume. (Lesson learned)
- Memorize your work experience
- Have a favorite designer and why
- Do your research about the company
- Have a Strength/weakness
- A little about yourself: Major, school, year you're graduating, passions.
- Ask a question at the end. I usually ask something about the interviewer: What was your career trajectory leading up to this company? What are some day to day tasks here?
- Make yourself seem like an asset to the company. What skills can you offer them?
- Throw something you read recently about the company or your favorite piece they've design and why. Something personal and relatable, but not too personal.