By Michaela Martens - 07/13/10 01:13 AM EDT
When you’re searching for that perfect interview outfit, look no further than Capitol Hill — where you can find shops that are close, convenient and specifically tuned to the needs of Washington’s professional environment.
Before you shop
“Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have,” the saying goes, and it is never truer than when preparing for your job interview. Belle, resident fashion blogger at DCstyle.com offered readers a few rules of thumb when dressing for the big day.
Always wear a suit, she says, even if you don’t intend to wear one every day. “If you want to jazz it up, choose a colored or printed blouse, but the suit is non-negotiable.” The same goes for men: suit, tie and ironed shirt are standard professional dress for any interview.
And if you're a woman, make sure that you remove your nail polish — especially if it’s dark. “I love my ‘Lincoln Park After Dark’ as much as the next woman, but not for an interview,” Belle said.
Also high on the list: wearing shoes in which you can actually walk. “Not all women were meant to walk on stilts,” Belle said. “Since it's hard to hide how much your feet are hurting, you don't look chic just uncomfortable.”
50 Massachusetts Ave. NE
(202) 289-1908 (general information)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday through Saturday), 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday)
Union Station is one of the closest places on the Hill to find a variety of necessary items. It offers more than 100 specialty shops and places to grab something to eat, so you never know what great item you’ll find for your interview.
Andrews Ties on the street level sells ties and men’s accessories, while Accessorize on the same level sells women’s jewelry, bags and accessories. Other shops throughout the station feature both men and women’s fashions, shoes, jewelry and souvenirs.
218 Seventh Street, SE
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Tuesday through Friday), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday), 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Customers with a larger budget need look no further than Forecast, a chic boutique specializing in women’s clothing just one Metro stop away from Capitol South at the Eastern Market station. The instant you walk through the door, the welcoming staff tries to make shopping for the perfect look “all about you.”
Owner Debbie Danielson opened the store 32 years ago, and she says they’ve been learning and evolving ever since to meet the needs of the Capitol City. Anyone coming shopping for the perfect interview outfit won’t come away looking like another navy suit out of sea of hundreds of navy suits. Instead, friendly staff helps the customer put together an ensemble that specifically fits them and the environment of the position he or she is seeking. “Our goal is to make the inside person comfortable with the outside look. That’s when we’ve hit a home run,” Danielson said.
According to their website, Filene's Basement was founded in Boston in 1909 by Edward A. Filene as a way to sell off excess merchandise from his father's department store upstairs. It now serves as a great place to find professional clothing at a fraction of the price. With three locations throughout the D.C. area, this store is a fantastic place to find designer labels to complete their interview look.
My Signature Look
305 9th Street NE, #B
Washington, D.C. 20002
Still at a loss for where to start putting together your interview outfit? You might want to talk to a fashion consultant. Self-proclaimed fashionista Katherine Limon makes her services available by the hour to find and assemble your outfit. Her goal is to help customers find a style that allows them to “display their inner beauty on their sleeve.” She wants to help her costumers find looks that match their personality and the environment of the position for which they are interviewing.
Belle cautions the interviewee to remember, “What you wear may not be the most important thing, but if you want to make a good impression, you need to look your best.” Just because you are smart and experienced doesn’t meant want you wear doesn’t matter.
“Just because how you look shouldn't be a deal breaker doesn't mean that it won't be,” she said.