April 4, 2011

For Interviews Get Clothes that Fit

I know winter’s been gone for weeks in other parts of the country, but in my home state of Minnesota we still have pockets of snow on the ground. In fact, not far from my house, we have a three-story mountain of the stuff taking over the Sears parking lot, which desperate public works employees commandeered when they couldn’t keep the streets clear.

Like everyone else in my area, I’m still wearing or carrying my winter coat around, and the boots are in the car, just in case I have to trudge through slush to get to work.

And yet, despite all this, I’m still going to declare: Winter’s over – time to get some clothes that fit! I don’t mean to be offensive, but as a career counselor it’s my job to tell someone if they smell bad or have a bad haircut or need a manicure. Not that I hold impossibly high standards, because I don’t. But no way would I send a client into an interview knowing I could have helped him or her look better or sound smarter.

So in the interest of helping you nail those first impressions, I’ll mention a couple of things I’ve noticed about people coming to life after a long winter. First, those of us in the colder climes have been wearing so many layers of clothing, our arms are sticking out from our sides. I have a whole set of dress pants that are two sizes too big in order to accommodate my long underwear. Nope, not kidding. I wore a pair of those pants without the long johns last week and thought I had lost weight. No such luck. I looked baggy without the benefit of slimming down. Others in my circle have gained weight over the winter, and their clothes are looking a bit strained. I know they’re hoping to lose the weight soon but the better path would be to buy a couple of outfits that fit while working toward that goal.

What about you? Have you been wearing the same outfits for a while, without checking to see if they still look good? Fabric does shrink and fade and otherwise betray us. Take a moment to check your outfits and make sure you have at least a few that fit just the way they should. It will make a huge difference in how others see you.

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