By Kate Pope
We all know how intimidating going to your interview is. You spent hours perfecting your resume, going over what you will say, rehearsing your best smile and acing pre-interview tests. You spend the days leading up to the interview frantically preparing as your stomach fills up with butterflies. You have a thousand things to worry about before you walk into your interview. Your outfit should not be one of them. Because many of your interviews may be Zoom-based, you most likely will only have to focus on the waist up. But it is important to start building your professional wardrobe as you enter the world of business attire life post-college. The office world of public relations often varies between business and business casual, so I have included some outfit variations depending on your company’s culture. Keep reading to find the five best places to get your next interview outfit.
1. H&M ($)
H&M has stepped up their game in the recent seasons. H&M specializes in a variety of more “professional” clothing than its competitor, Forever 21. I like to think of it as the adult version of Forever 21. Its quality is slightly better, in my opinion. Their color scheme and patterns resemble a more luxurious look. I would recommend their suit sets for both male and female, jewelry (their necklaces are my favorite), and the amazing staple t-shirts that are a versatile piece for your wardrobe. As a bonus, H&M also offers a rewards program so you save even more money on your purchase.
Women’s Outfit: Shirt Jacket, Skirt, White Blouse
Men’s Outfit: Blazer, Pants, Shirt, Boots, Belt
2. Zara ($$)
Zara is a fan favorite. You have seen it all over social media, and the obsession with Zara is all over from college kids to older adults. Zara offers the best on-trend styles, unique looking pieces, and quality basics at a good price. As far as fast-fashion goes, Zara continuously executes hundreds of styles with amazing quality. Some pieces range a little higher but still remain lower than some of its competitors. The men's section is superior to the other retailers as the fit and cut of their styles look very flattering on the body. If you like to stay on trend and have more unique and bold pieces, Zara is the place for you. One con with Zara is the inefficient item look-up. It can be difficult to find the product or style you are looking for, as they are labeled by product number instead of a style name. If you are looking to shop in-store, be sure to make an appointment at some locations such as South Coast Plaza or arrive early to avoid the line!
3. Target ($$)
The store we all know and love, Target. Target has stepped up its game to make it a one-stop-shop for food, beauty, clothing, home décor and more. Their clothing section has recently been top-notch, following current trends, featuring seasonal colors and offering a variety of different styles, all while staying low budget. Recently, TikTok has been exploding with viral videos of Target’s fashion makeover. I would recommend trying out their bags, work pants and checking out their shoe section. I spotted some cute loafers for both male and female that would be perfect. If you are looking for a quick trip, I would recommend ordering on the app at the Bellflower location for a quick drive-up delivery.
Everlane offers sustainability made pieces as a reasonable cost. Unlike the retailers above, Everlane sways away from fast-fashion production. This is the best choice for all my eco lovers out there. They offer less styles than the previous retailers due to their careful and environmentally-conscious production. Their pieces are high quality and durable without the guilt of fast-fashion.
5. Aritzia ($$$)
Surprise, an added bonus! Unfortunately for the men, this store only caters towards our female friends. Aritzia offers high-quality premium pieces that will last you years. While their prices are on the steeper side, you will be saving yourself having to continuously re-buy that Forever 21 shirt that rips after three washes. The store offers 6+ Aritzia created brands that cater to different tastes. For a more business-professional look, I would stick to Babaton. Babaton by Aritzia offers seamless basics, high quality blazers and pants and timeless colors. If you are looking to go a little girly, Wilfre offers beautiful light and girly pieces such as a linen blazer and pant sent. If you are willing to spend a little extra cash for quality, Aritzia is the perfect place for your next interview outfit. Not sure what to wear? Schedule a Personal Styling Appointment (with me) or another stylist at the South Coast Plaza location for free styling advice and access to a wide-range of pieces.
No matter what your style or budget, there are great options to help you make a good first impression. Where’s your favorite place to buy office attire? Tell us in the comments.
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