Last week as I was flying to the east coast for a speaking engagement, I was flipping through the US Airways in-flight magazine. In it was a page of several quotes from a variety of well-known celebrities and business people. As most of you know by now, I collect quotes and there was one in particular that I just had to add to my collection because it captures exactly what I work hard to achieve for my clients. The quote was from Debbie Harry of the popular new wave/punk band Blondie. Harry says, "For me, performance is about forgetting what I'm wearing. Just putting it on and knowing it's right".
In working with my artist clients, my job is to take the guess work out of what they should be wearing when they get on stage to perform so they can instead focus on their performance. I want my clients to first and foremost be comfortable in whatever I put them in because if they're not, they will be distracted by it and it will show through in their performance. That doesn't mean my clients are allowed to forsake style for comfort. Oh no. They must look like they belong on that stage because they owe it to their fans and their audience who paid good money to come see them perform.
Notice how Harry doesn't say "just putting it on and not caring if it's right or not." Instead, she says, "just putting it on and knowing it's right." The right look is different for every artist. What makes a performance look "right" is that it is consistent with the artist's music and personality, but taken up a notch or two from their everyday look. With my help, they no longer have to think so much about what to wear or what to buy when they go shopping. I do all of that for them (and the ones who hate to shop love this!).
This same principle applies when dressing for the job interview (this advice comes from my days as a college career adviser). The job interview is the job seeker's stage, and selling himself or herself in the interview is the performance of a lifetime (well, maybe not a lifetime, but for a good part of one's career or current job situation). In fact, I just spoke about this very topic at two different colleges during last week's trip. It can be nerve-racking enough answering questions in a job interview, much less being physically uncomfortable in your clothing while doing so.
Now, typically, interview attire isn't the most comfortable clothing to begin with, but you want to make sure you are as comfortable as possible while still looking sharp (i.e. the "right" look, not forsaking style while feeling confident and comfortable - you owe that to the person who's giving you the opportunity of an interview). Otherwise, you will be easily distracted and won't be able to focus as well on the questions being asked and how you're going to answer them. You don't want discomfort to show through in your performance!
One way to avoid this issue is to do what many recording artists do, hire someone to style you. But since not everyone has the means to do this, there is one thing you can do to make sure you are both polished and comfortable: don't wait until the last minute to start shopping for your interview attire. When you do this, you just end up buying the first thing that looks professional enough to get you through the interview, regardless of how you feel in it. Doing this also can end up costing you more. Since you're short on time, you may have to settle for something outside of your budget (which is usually the result of any kind of impulse buying). By giving yourself enough time to shop, you are able to use that time to seek out something that is both more comfortable and more affordable. Then you can go into the interview and forget about what you're wearing and just know that it's right!
For more information on tips for dressing for the job interview, performances, or other events, click here to order a copy of Advance Your Image: Putting Your Best Foot Forward Never Goes Out of Style.