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{FOFool Proof Outfits} for a job interview!

2013 January 23

If you’re reinventing your career, you probably should consider reinventing your job interview wardrobe, too. What you wore for that job interview at 25 is not the same thing you should be wearing at 55. We spoke to two FOF style experts, Sherrie Mathieson and Grace Gallo about the perfect post-50 interview outfit. Both agree, that you should spend as much as your can afford on your interview outfits, after all, these pieces become invaluable if they help you land the job! Read on for their style suggestions, sure to compliment your resume.

Sherrie Mathieson:

“Parsons” Glasses, $340 from Oliver Peoples
“These dark plastic eye glasses are classic, yet edgy. These frames would flatter any shaped face without totally overwhelming it.”

Sleeveless Shift Dress, $198 from J.Crew
“Gray is my favorite neutral color. It can be mixed endlessly with other neutrals like taupe or brights such as orange. I love this easy, versatile shift dress. It can be worn as is–or layered with a lightweight turtleneck in gray, white, or black. One could easily slip a jacket or cardigan over this dress as well. The possibilities are endless.”

“Etta” Cap Toe Leather Pumps, $248 from J.Crew
“Any variation of the Chanel shoe is so flattering. This one has height and is still comfortable.”

Gipsy “300” Denier Soft Tights in black, $21.05 from Asos
“For an edgier look (and added warmth) add a pair of tights to this look, such as these.”

Grace Gallo:

Anne” Shirt, $320 and “Isabella” Jacket, $585 from Grace Gallo New York
“A shirt-jacket combo is typically a safe bet. Solid colors work best and are typically a better choice for an important interview. This royal blue shirt (pictured right) featuring a ruffle pearl button would work well, as does the fabulously bold red tailored wool blend blazer (pictured left).”

“Telegraph” Pencil Skirt, $138 from J.Crew
“Pull the look together with a solid black pencil skirt.”

“Claire” Necklace and Bracelet Set, $360 from Grace Gallo New York
“Your jewelry choice is a direct reflection of who you are as a person. For me, the classic pearl necklace is a statement of style and class. You can never go wrong with pearls.”

Green Amethyst Earrings, $66.50 from Ross-Simons
“Avoid long, dangling earrings. Remember that simple is always better, like this pair of earrings from Ross-Simons.”

Antonio Melani “Joanne” Pumps (not pictured), $89.99 from Dillards
“Heels are always preferred in business world, and I have to say they add and make an outfit look more polished and professional. These pumps are a prime example.”

Salvatore Ferragamo “Carla” Pump, $495 from Nordstrom
“If you cannot withstand wearing high heels, a show with a low heel is an acceptable alternative. A solid color leather always looks more professional, like this pair.”

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  • Linda Ruffins says:

    I like the idea of tights or sheer hose depending on the weather. The gray sheath looks fine but the other suggestions seem outdated and corny. If you are a woman in your 50′s , you need a marketable look. I feel that we need to do everything we can to look ageless in a male dominated, ageist society such as ours.

  • Linda says:

    I’m looking for employment and would love the right outfit to assist me in securing the most fantastic opportunity!

  • PKW says:

    Well, I have to agree with the majority of the commenters that neither fashion guru’s complete suggestion would work for me. I do wear black tights with knee and just below knee length skirts in cooler months and wear nude panty hose year round despite the Houston heat in summer. I like both shoe suggestions, and the idea of a black skirt, black t with a blazer over it but as a business consultant at age 54, wouldn’t do shiny, and wouldn’t do a big bundle of plastic anything on my chest or around my neck.

  • Charley says:

    I think that both outfits are stylish, fabulous and would make anyone woman look very wealthy and put together. I work in New York City and find both examples to be very appropriate, as I many women wearing outfits like these everyday on my way to work. I believe one would feel very expensive and confident and I would be honored to wear either outfit, no questions asked.

  • lisa pearce says:

    Kind of horrified by both. Like Sherrie’s pieces but there isn’t a cohesive look there. It looks a little ordinary and women our age can do a lot better. Grace’s pieces though must have been chosen for another piece and inserted here in error. Nothing personal , but both looks are seriously outdated and far too House of Representatives l (I’m Canadian, forgive me if the reference is a little off) l
    ooking for a contemporary workplace. Really disappointed that these are considered the best of the best.

    • Sherrie Mathieson says:

      Lisa,
      My outfit suggestion is indeed very simple. But I believe that sleek simplicity looks modern and youthful. Accessories can be added as well as a sweater jacket. You can ditch the turtleneck and wear beneath the sheath a simple white shirt –instead. TONS of possibilities when you begin with simplicity!
      What it does require is an even figure without too much hip–but in concept– an open mind.

  • Mary in MN says:

    I am sure these two ladies are excellent at style.
    These examples just aren’t for me.
    The first are a mite too neutral, the second are a bit too frilly.
    Both, however, are too pricey, with the second outfit seriously over budget for most every job I have ever had.
    I think you need to wear whatever is reasonable for your budget and the type of job you are trying for.

  • Ali Moss says:

    The first look is how I dressed for work in my 20′s (back in the 60′s) and the second one looks like Alexis Carrington minus the shoulder pads.

    • Sherrie Mathieson says:

      Interesting that the 50s and 60s are becoming so modern again. The little black dress from the 50s has endured as a classic concept–as is the 60s sheath. Mid -Century homes are coveted and reinterpreted today as well. So if you wore it in your 20s it can be reinterpreted beautifully for today. Unlike the 80s –many classic and authentic styles endure from those years. Of course there are figure considerations etc to take into count.

  • Cate says:

    I agree with comments so far, but no suggestions for those of us who are unfortunate to have extra padding. Just don’t feel put together!

    • Sherrie Mathieson says:

      Cate,
      In “Steal This Style” I have a woman sz 21. She was ill, and could not fit into most shoes. But we got it together for a great “work” outfit–simple , unstructured (very important!), in a black and white palette. So easy to mix as a core component.
      She is one of the ladies featured on the cover–in that outfit.
      You can look great!

  • Karen says:

    One of the greatest challenges of women interviewing when they are in their late 40′s and beyond is they tend to become complacent and feel that “age appropriate” means frumpy.

    I encourage all of my clients rather to focus more on creating a “classic” wardrobe meaning well fitted CORE foundation pieces and then pop those classic neutral colors with their best accent color!

    As we mature wearing color is the one thing that can make a woman look and feel vibrant at a fraction of the cost of plastic surgery!

    Aside from that, I also want my clients to recognize what their WOW or statement might be. Get a ‘signature’ look and keep it simple!

    For me it would not be plastic glasses. It’s just not my “style personality”, BUT if it is yours it could be your ‘style statement!

    I have to agree with the other reviewers and say that tights would be a no-no for an interview. Thank goodness hosiery is becoming popular again and wearing hosiery to an interview if you are wearing a dress (depending on the interview) could be what separates you from the rest of the crowd.

    If you are opposed to hosiery, then DON’T wear a dress! Wear great fitting pants. Remember it’s an interview and you want to be remembered in a positive way not for veiny pale or tired legs.

    Be confident in the fact that you DO HAVE history and that is what your value is. You have the vision that someone at 20 can’t possibly have quite yet.

    So get a style that feels good on you and don’t duplicate someone’s style just because it is on trend. Celebrate your wisdom!

    Go for it!

    • Sherrie Mathieson says:

      I agree Karen. We are dealing with generalities. When working one-on- one the unique woman comes into consideration. Of course if your legs are not your best feature– the pant option is there. Not to mention–is she interviewing for the financial market or entertainment field–as example of the huge disparity to consider.

    • Allyson says:

      I do not understand the criticism of tights.

      In NYC, tights are all over on women of all ages – from clerks to executives.

      Maybe it is a geographical thing.

  • Marne says:

    I have to agree with Deborah and Cathy. The fashion gurus have obviously not been looking for a new job in a long time. A safe plain outfit that flatters the wearer is an eternal chestnut. I only wish Sherrie had combined pieces into a coherent outfit instead of piecemeal separates. Combining her suggestions would have yielded a jarring, impossible, rigid look. And Grace, what were you thinking? Put down the champagne glass, back off on the self promotion and understand that FOF’s looking for work in today’s job market are highly unlikely to have a spare grand to “invest” in a new outfit. Froufrou with imitation pearls does not an interview outfit make.

  • Lydia says:

    I generally like Sherrie’s suggestions but frankly, Grace’s scream Nancy Reagan. OK, maybe a prematurely old-dressing Laura Bush. For a 50 year old? yuck.

  • Cathy says:

    Agree with Deborah, I don’t see anything here that I could wear in my workplace. Grace Gallo’s choices say “woman age 60+ attending holiday party” to me.

  • Deborah Shade says:

    Ladies short dresses in the office….no.no.no…regardless of age never go more then 2″ above the knee. Patton leather with a bow was great when you were 3 yrs old but not for a grown women who wants to be taken serious really. Tights only work if it’s 20 below or your in a preschool. Black frame glasses still screams nerdy science geek which may work for some professions but not any that requires customer relations. Unless your interviewing for McDonald’s you would be in real trouble in these outfits.

    • Lydia says:

      ‘tights only if it’s 20 below’ — what on the legs with dresses, then? nothing? bare legs are so Sorority girl looking for action.

      BTW, it’s 5 today in my town.

    • Sherrie Mathieson says:

      In defense of black tights they are a modern answer to hose especially when they are worn seamlessly with black pumps.
      The mini was not suggested by me (I love knee length!), it was inserted I believe to give the tights visual example.
      The plastic framed glasses are not particularly oversized and have a modern edge (much depends on the wearer’s looks and style). I could add a classic gray suit –trim, simple, with knee length pencil skirt to an all around good option as well.
      I love simplicity–sleek lines, the color gray (all 50 shades) and a youthful slant that is appropriate.

    • Allyson says:

      I totally disagree on a lot of these.

      Maybe it depends on where you live.

      Where I live, the black patent pumps with the bow would be perfect on a woman of any age – as would black tights. Very stylish and far better than sheer hosiery or nude legs.

      The glasses are OK, a person could probably do better.

      The only thing I agree on is nothing too short.