Everyone has been there: You have something big coming up and you want to look good. Some will tell you that it's all about what you wear, but by paying attention to a few small details and doing some prep work beforehand you can take it to the next level.
Like all good, young entrepreneurs, I don't make a lot of money and have a side job. Recently, however, I decided to leave bar tending behind and do something more suited to my skill set. Today I have an interview with a creative recruiting service that will help me find a job. I know I need to look sharp, so I thought I would outline a few steps that I go through when getting ready for an interview (or other big event).
First and foremost, pick out what you're going to wear. Don't stress about it too much and just stick your hand in the closet. For my outfit I picked out a simple pair of navy chinos, a solid white and rounded collar shirt, brown accessories, a blue jacket, and a blue tie. It's a simple, yet classic color scheme that can make a statement when done right.
Pressing (aka The Fancy Man's Ironing)
Pressing is a technical term, but it's really just ironing. Often forgotten, this is incredibly important when you want to look your best. From experience, a clean pressed shirt next to a wrinkly one (or one straight out of a box) is like day and night. Pressing only takes a few minutes, so do yourself a solid.
A few tips to keep in mind when pressing:
- Press the front and back of everything, even the arms of a shirt. You never know if you'll have to take your jacket off for some reason.
- Use the large end of your ironing board to fit the shoulder of your shirt. This mimics the shape of your body for a more natural press. Repeat this technique both front and back.
- Don't forget the little places on your shirt either; it's just as important to press your cuffs and collar.
- Hang your pants and shirt up after ironing to avoiding re-wrinkling it.
- Feel free to press your tie, but make sure to switch your iron to match the fabric type. The setting for cotton will melt through a silk tie (it isn't pretty).
You can use the large end of your ironing board to shape the back of the shirt...
As well as both of the front sides
Make sure to press your collar twice: once on the underside and again on the outer side
Press the inside of your cuffs to get a nice, round shape
Press your tie if it needs it, but make sure the iron is on the appropriate setting
Throughout my entire life, I have always been cursed with forgetting at least one thing when I leave the house (or three things if I'm travelling). Avoid this by laying everything out ahead of time. I like to make three groups before I leave:
- Shoes with my socks, belt, and watch tucked inside
- A hangar with my pants, shirt, tie, jacket, and any other small accessories I might need (pocket square, tie bar, sunglasses, etc.)
- Anything for the pockets (wallet, keys, cellphone, chapstick, etc.) go in a big pile
Belts and watches are easy to forget, so save yourself the trouble and stuff them in something you definitely won't forget: your shoes
To keep everything together, hang your jacket and tie with your freshly pressed shirt and pants
Don't Forget the Details
This should go without saying, but make sure your clothes are clean. Obviously it should be washed, but use a lint roller too if necessary. To clean dirt off of your shoes, give them a once-over with a damp cloth.
A damp cloth and warm water should be enough to get any light scuffs or dirt off of your shoes
The tiny style details of an outfit are my absolute favorite and some times I can get carried away. Make sure your accessories suit the occasion, which, for me, meant no lapel flowers. That doesn't mean that I can't have a little fun though. A wooden tie bar, a polka dot pocket square, and some tortoiseshell sunglasses allow me to have a look that is still professional, but stands out.
Small details can go a long way in making an outfit stand out in a crowd
A Few Extra Tips
- Don't put your outfit on until you're about to leave. I wore a t-shirt and jeans until I was about to leave because I knew I had some things to do around the house. Guess who got tomato juice on them?
- Put your jacket on last if you still have to run around the house and get ready. This will keep you from getting any undue wrinkles or dirt on it. If you want to take it a step further, hang it up in your car while you're driving.
With all of that out of the way, I'm ready for my interview!
Wish me luck!