Bargain Interview Attire

A couple of weeks ago, I had some interviews in NYC (I will actually be starting as an intern at Stylelist Home next week!!! Go me!). It’s tough to dress for interviews, but fortunately, journalism jobs encourage creativity. Plus, I think that showing your personal style is just as important as your level of professionalism. It shows your personality and ability to express yourself, two very important things for a writer. I hate suits. I think they look stuffy and uniform. And to be quite honest, I think I’d get weird looks if I showed up to an interview at a cute, trendy online magazine in a plain black suit with a white button down shirt (so lame). So now comes the challenge: how to strike the perfect balance between stylish and trendy/appropriate and professional.

Anyone who knows me knows about my serious, committed relationship with Forever 21. I buy new clothes way too often to buy expensive things, except for staples that don’t go out of style often, like jeans. So a cheap, trendy store like Forever is always my go-to. Most people wouldn’t think to buy interview or work clothes there, but I, as a former employee of this bargain-priced fashion mecca, know how to find all the good stuff. I know that hiding among those racks of miniskirts and weird lacy bodysuits lie cute and professional dresses, skirts, and blouses. You just have to be patient enough to dig through and look.

For my first interview, I wore a bright red dress from Forever’s more grown-up collection, Love 21. The pieces are a teeny bit more expensive (like $27.80 instead of $15.80 for a nice dress), and they’re also made a little better and look fancier. I dressed it up with a blazer and black patent leather heels, and I added a chunky necklace, too. I’m all about the statement necklaces right now.

(Dress, belt, and necklace from Forever 21. Bag from Target. Blazer from The Limited.)

I tried to find another cute dress for my second interview, but I was a little rushed and just settled on a skirt. This skirt wasn’t more than $10, and the necklace was under $10, too. I wore it with a plain black shirt I already had and plain nude pumps. I also wore the black blazer to dress it up—it’s amazing how blazers can make any outfit look so much more put-together.

(Skirt and necklace from Forever 21. Top, BCBG.)

Next time you’re looking for an interview outfit or new work clothes, don’t overlook cheap, trendy places where you would normally shop. You might not always need to spend hundreds of dollars on new stuff. Sometimes it’s just all about being patient and taking the time to look for what you need. Trust me, you’ll be surprised at what goodies you can find!


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