The sweltering heat may scorch anyone’s drive to dress to the nines, let alone get out of the house – but it is no excuse for a young achiever to bring her A game and get that job. Besides, whoever advised that job interviews demand the uptight spinster look badly needs a refreshing glass of lemonade.
Here are fool-proof formulas to get a city girl’s career started while celebrating youth in the height of summer. Keep in mind, however, that regardless of the prescribed dress code, the ultimate guide to interview wear is the company culture. In case of doubt, err on the side of polished, formal corporate wear.
Think banking and finance, legal practice in law firms, public relations.
In hallways of heavy wood and cold marble, there is quiet elegance and assumed gravitas in rich solemn hues of navy blue, black and charcoal gray, with hints of forest green and burgundy. Channel a younger Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife) with a knee-length front vent pencil skirt in dark gray paired with a flowing pussy bow blouse in dark jewel-toned colors like emerald green, amethyst violet and quartz purple. Cover up with a slim-fit, hip-grazing blazer in matching charcoal gray or black. Finish off with black almond toe court shoes in slimming heights no higher than three inches.
Pro tip: Invest in quality fabric with a beautiful drape to communicate formality and meticulous attention to detail without looking drab. Not only do natural fibers generally last longer than synthetics, cotton and cotton linen offer breathability and almost always guarantee zero sweat marks – perfect for handling stress in the humid weather.
Sunny San Francisco
Think startups, technology-related fields, business process outsourcing.
Silicon Valley may be a world away, but the Philippines is an inspiring incubator of out-of-the-box business ideas, as well as a growing hub of service providers that span time zones. Open offices, flexible time schedules, playground in war rooms – it is tempting to do a quick Mark Zuckerberg look and just roll out of bed. Of course, every smart urbanista knows that that is not an option…except for Mark Zuckerberg. Think Felicity Smoak (Arrow) to communicate reliability, efficiency and thirst for growth while subtly showcasing creativity. Sport a cobalt blue skater dress with a heavy woven fabric and a longer hemline than the usual flimsy mid-thigh trend, complemented by a textured blazer in black (or white). Sashay in confidence with pointed black pumps (or nude, if wearing a white blazer).
Pro tip: The inverse of this color combo also works – pick a sheath dress in black (or white!) and cover up with a strong colored blazer in the richer end of the color spectrum, like canary yellow or dark fuchsia. To look powerful, pick a tailored or a double-breasted blazer instead of trying out a bomber or a slouchy boyfriend cut.
Think brand management, product development, sales and marketing.
Certain companies pride themselves as having a hybrid culture of fluid structure – a mix of conservative sensibilities refined by the freedom of startups. The idea is to inspire discipline without snuffing out entrepreneurial spirit. In this kind of a workplace, step in the shoes of Abby Whelan (Scandal), who takes a more relaxes approach to power dressing when compared with the more popular boss lady Olivia Pope. Don a leopard or python print wrap dress with bishop sleeves or a cap-sleeve windowpane shift dress in navy blue and dark red. Pick a tailored black blazer with leather lapels and simple black pumps to keep the tone formal while remaining youthful.
Pro tip: Even with punishing weather, pick lined dresses and skirts over unlined ones. Under harsh lighting and close scrutiny, unlined dresses and skirts hint exposure smart city girls do not want to risk.
Photos from Instagram, GIF from Giphy.com