The pains of dressing “professionally”

As a recent-ish graduate I’ve had quite a few job interviews in the last couple of years and it’s still a bit of a nightmare for me (and for many, I guess) to choose what to wear to an interview. With Spain’s current 23% unemployment rate sometimes is not enough to have education, skills, work experience, be willing to work for peanuts,but maybe if you’re really lucky the interviewer will like you and call you back. I’ve often felt overdressed in my interviews, which might be “What not to Wear” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”‘s fault with their cliché dressing for the job you want, not for the job you have. Truth is that Spain is a very casual country and many times I was interviewed for big corporations by people wearing jeans and a casual top, while I turned up in smart navy trousers and white shirt.
The real dilemma for me is that when you’re looking for a job in the fashion field you need to decide whether to look classic-professional (based on a suit), fashion-professional (Anne Hathaway in the second half of Devil Wears Prada) or maybe creative-professional (an undefined sort of semi-casual cool). And once you make the choice it turns out everyone else in the office you’re being interviewed in are wearing jeans and jumpers, or really high stilettos. It’s a bit of a clothing russian roulette.

After many interviews, second interviews, skill tests, mock collections and personality tests I realised I was not likely to get a job offer in the near future anyway and started to loosen up (and enrolled a postgraduate course). Maybe it’s my new strategy or maybe I just can’t be bothered anymore, but I just wear what I normally wear and dress it up a little.

Cardigan: H&M | Top: Fred Perry | Trousers: Comptoir des Cotonniers | Shoes: thrifted | that Longchamp bag I wear all the time

Last week I had an interview for an internship with a fashion consulting agency and after a bit of drama (where the heck is my navy cardigan/ why does the metro have to be late today etcetera) I showed up like so. And I actually got the spot!


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7 Responses to The pains of dressing “professionally”

  1. Sean says:

    Last week I had an interview for an internship with a fashion consulting agency and after a bit of drama (where the heck is my navy cardigan/ why does the metro have to be late today etcetera) I showed up like so. And guess what, I actually got the spot.

    I am pretty sure that you got the spot thanks to the things you said and the knowledge you have, but I doubt it that you got it beacuse of the way you was dressed.

    Good luck.

    • celia says:

      I wasn’t implying I got it because of what I wore, pretty sure that’s hardly ever the case. I just wanted to share my experience in dressing for interviews. Thanks.

  2. laura says:

    Congratulations! I really like this outfit– it’s very quirky and you AND stylish of course! That is the cutest pin :) I am sorry to hear that Spain has quite a high unemployment rate. Here i am complaining that the US has 8.5%! But you are absolutely right about how difficult it is even with skills, education, and extra-curricular activities on the side. Ridiculous!

  3. Patricia says:

    Pues no puedo estar más de acuerdo con tu conclusión. Al final hay que ser uno misma siempre, porque si no una se siente disfrazada en según qué situaciones. Y me parece que vas divina, así de claro. Y si además las entrevistas que haces son para empresas relacionadas con la moda, no me parece mal que muestres tu gusto, tu estilo y personalidad. Mejor eso que el típico traje chaqueta negro, ¿no? :)

  4. rose japan says:

    Celia, beautiful cardigan and pin
    kisses rose jp

  5. Natalia says:

    Jajajaja, tanto lio, tanto que me pongo, y al final vistiendote de tu misma lo has conseguido, me hace acordar a una publicidad en la que un hombre con rastas se las corta poara la entrevista, y cuando llega al lugar el entrevistador tiene rastas… xDDD

  6. Marianne M. says:

    I found your blog a few days ago, and its a pleasure to read such a honest and personal post as this one (as it a pleasure to see beautiful Barcelona in the background of the pics-is that plaça de catalunya in the background of your last picture?- i’ve always loved Barcelona-i’ve been there twice and i can’t wait to visit it again- i wish i could live there but with the economical problems u are experiencing its not wise to move from a already broken economically country-Greece- to another-Spain. But don’t i love Spain? i’ve learnt spanish and even a bit of Catalan due to this love)
    now back to your post,
    i don’t think that you should change who you are and your style due to an interview, i understand that we all want to look good and impress and look professional but you should stay true to yourself and relax, confidence its what makes people beautiful and confidence comes when you feel like you are yourself and not pretending to be someone else.
    I love your blog and i want to read more of it, you have a unique style of blogging. consider me as a follower via bloglovin.
    by the way hope u can find some time to check out my blog,
    i blog about fashion editorials and everything fashion related with a seductive, sexy theme. it would be so awesome if you checked it out and in case you liked it followed me back via bloglovin

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