CLOSE
Original image
istock

8 Expert Tips for Choosing the Perfect Job Interview Outfit

Original image
istock

Ever found yourself rummaging through your closet in a panic hours before an important job interview? Or spent way too much time puzzling over whether to go with high heels or flats, a jacket or sweater? Choosing the perfect outfit for a job interview doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are a few simple tips for picking out appropriate interview attire from those who know what will get you the results you're after.

1. ERR ON THE SIDE OF FORMALITY.

A lot of people worry unnecessarily about looking too formal at their job interview, but if you’re applying for a retail or office position—and not, say, a job as a surf instructor—it’s unlikely you’ll be perceived as overly professional.

“There’s a big difference between casual and professional attire,” explains Wendy Wilkins, Worldwide Central Director of Dress For Success, a non-profit organization that provides women with professional support and work attire. “And there’s a difference between matching a pair of pants with a top, and wearing a suit where the top and bottom are made of the same material and really go together. By all means, go into your interview in a real suit.” 

Sarah Stambouli, career coach and head of Stambouli Consulting, and Wilkins agree that wearing a suit isn’t always required, but both say it’s always a safe choice. And it’s an easy choice for anyone who’s struggling to put together a professional-looking outfit. For example, Wilkins explains that a nice dress and blazer are also an appropriate choice for women, but that it can sometimes be difficult to gauge whether a dress is professional enough. If you’re worried about looking professional, she says, just go with a suit. “There’s something out there now for everyone’s price point,” says Wilkins. “You have a whole line of Discount stores where you can get a nice suit at a great price.”

2. LESS IS MORE. 

“In general, you don’t want to wear anything overstated or distracting that could potentially take attention away from the conversation,” Wilkins explains. “You want your personality to shine out more than your clothing.” For example, Wilkins recommends against wearing dangling bracelets or earrings, and instead suggests choosing simple, understated jewelry. “I wouldn’t even wear a strong perfume,” says Wilkins. “You don’t want your interviewer to smell you before they see you. Plus, some people may have allergies, so it’s important to be conscious of that.” 

3. LOOK THE PART. 

“The more you know about the company or industry you’re interviewing with the better,” says Wilkins. “A banking or law firm has a completely different look than a retail store.” For anyone applying for retail positions, Wilkins recommends actually visiting the store in advance of the interview to see what people are wearing. For office jobs, you can check out pictures on the company’s website or Facebook page. 

When it comes to interview attire, the differences in outfit choices can be subtle. “If I know a woman is applying for a retail position at a store like Macy’s or Victoria’s Secret, I know she should wear a black suit and a pink or white blouse,” says Wilkins. “If you’re applying for an office position, I’d still suggest a suit, but you can play with the colors a little more, and go for black, grey, or blue. And if you’re entering an artsy field, you can get a little creative. But not too creative.” 

“It also matters a little bit how old you are and how old your potential employer is,” says Stambouli. “If you’re being interviewed at a start-up by a pretty young person, I would say that a modern cut suit without a tie is a pretty safe bet for a man. But if it’s a really stodgy law firm or you know your interviewer will be older, you might dress more formally.”

4. DETAILS COUNT.

It’s more important to go into your interview looking neat and organized than it is to show up in an expensive suit or the latest fashions (unless you’re working in the fashion industry, of course). Make sure your outfit is clean and unwrinkled, and double-check that your materials are in order. “It sounds so obvious, but you have to turn off your phone. Not even vibrating. No gum. I know it sounds ridiculous but people do it,” says Stambouli. “And, by all means, clean your glasses. If you have dirty glasses, people notice it.”

5. INVEST IN A NICE PAIR OF SHOES.

It doesn’t matter so much what kind of shoes you choose to wear, as long as they’re professional. Think loafers and Oxfords instead of sneakers and darker colors instead of bright colors or complicated patterns. “With shoes, it comes down to personal style,” says Wilkins. “Women can wear flats or heels. The most important thing is choosing shoes you feel comfortable walking in. If you’re not comfortable walking in heels, I wouldn’t suggest wearing them to a job interview.” When in doubt, she adds, “Look at Michelle Obama. I think she’s shown people how to dress professionally without wearing five or six inch heels.” 

6. THE SEASON MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

Traditional interview attire—pants, long sleeve shirts, and blazers—are comfortable winter wear, but can start to feel a little oppressive in the warmer months. Fortunately, most employers understand that, and won’t expect you to wear a full suit and jacket on really hot summer days. “Season matters,” says Stambouli. “If it’s summer, you can get a little more casual. Women can pull off nice open-toed shoes, and, if it’s a hundred degrees out and a guy looks really sharp, he doesn’t necessarily need to wear a jacket. It should look like he might’ve had a jacket on, but just doesn’t have it with him.” 

7. TAKE YOUR TIME. 

It’s important to be well groomed, overall. If you pick out the perfect suit, but don’t spend any time on your hair or makeup, you’ll still end up looking a little messy. “It doesn’t matter so much what hair style you choose, as long as it’s neat and well groomed,” says Wilkins. “You can let your personality shine through a bit, but take the time to present the neatest, most professional version of yourself.”  

“Give yourself an extra hour when you’re getting ready, and really take your time,” says Stambouli. “It just takes a bit longer to get ready for an interview, and you don’t want to rush yourself.”

8. COMFORT AND CONFIDENCE ARE KEY.

When it comes to picking your interview outfit, it’s important to trust yourself. While looking professional is essential and reflecting company culture is a good idea, ultimately your interview outfit should be one you feel confident in. “We all have an outfit that we just feel good in,” says Wilkins. “Choose an outfit you feel confident and comfortable in. When you put it on, you’ll know.”

Original image
iStock
arrow
Lists
25 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle
Original image
iStock

According to the EPA, Americans generate 254 million tons of waste each year. Here are a few things you may have been throwing out that, with a little effort, you can actually recycle.

1. DENTURES

iStock

Grandpa's choppers may hold $25 worth of recyclable metals, including gold, silver, and palladium. The Japan Denture Recycling Association is known to collect false teeth, remove and recycle the metals, and discard the rest of the denture (which is illegal to reuse). The program has donated all of its earnings to UNICEF.

2. HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Bundle of holiday string lights

Got burnt out holiday lights? The folks at HolidayLEDs.com will gladly take your old lights, shred them, and sort the remaining PVC, glass, and copper. Those raw materials are taken to another recycling center to be resurrected. (In 2011, the State of Minnesota collected and recycled around 100 tons of dead lights.)

3. SEX TOYS

iStock

The first step in recycling your toy is to send it to a specialty processing plant, where it's sterilized and sorted. There, all "mechanical devices" are salvaged, refurbished, and resold. Silicone and rubber toys, on the other hand, are "ground up, mixed with a binding agent, and remolded into new toys," according to the aptly titled website, Sex Toy Recycling. Metals, plastics, and other leftovers retire from the pleasure industry and are recycled into conventional products.

4. HOTEL SOAP

Hotel bathroom counter with cups, shampoo, and soap

Not all hotels throw out that half-used soap you left in the shower: Some send it to Clean the World. There, soap is soaked in a sanitizing solution, treated to a steam bath, and then tested for infections. Once deemed safe, the soap is distributed to less fortunate people across the globe. So stop stealing soap from hotels—you may be stealing from charity.

5. MATTRESSES

iStock

You don't need to dump your old box spring at the landfill. Equipped with special saws, mattress recycling factories can separate the wood, metal, foam, and cloth. The metal springs are magnetically removed, the wood is chipped, and the cloth and foam are shredded and baled. In its future life, your saggy mattress can become a summer dress or even wallpaper.

6. COOKING OIL

iStock

When you’re finished making French fries at home, it can be tempting to toss the spent frying oil down the drain. But you shouldn’t—approximately 47 percent of all sewer overflows are caused by fat and oil. There are a few curbside programs in the United States that accept used cooking oil, which may send the oil to a biodiesel plant that will transform it into fuel. To see if there’s a collection point near you, check this website.

7. DIRTY DIAPERS

iStock

The average baby soils 6000 diapers before being potty trained—that's one ton of diapers rotting in a landfill per child. But not all poo-packages have to suffer this fate. The company Knowaste collects and recycles dirty diapers at hospitals, nursing facilities, and public restrooms. After sanitizing the diaper with a solution, they mechanically separate the "organic matter" from the diaper's plastic, which is compressed into pellets and recycled into roof shingles. Meanwhile, paper pulp in diapers grows up to become wallpaper and shoe soles.

8. CDS

iStock

CDs are made of polycarbonate and won't decompose at a landfill. But if you send your discs to The CD Recycling Center, they'll shred them into a fine powder that will be later melted down into a plastic perfect for automotive and building materials—even pavement!

9. SHOES

iStock

Send your beat-up sneaks to Nike Grind and you'll help build a running track. Nike's recycling facility rips apart worn shoes, separating the rubber, foam, and fabric. The rubber is melted down for running track surfaces, the foam is converted into tennis court cushioning, and the fabric is used to pad basketball court floorboards. So far, Nike has shredded more than 28 million pairs of shoes.

10. SHEEP POOP

iStock

Why turn sheep poop into fertilizer or manure when you can make it into an air freshener? The folks at Creative Paper Wales do that, plus more—they can transform sheep poop into birthday cards, wedding invitations, bookmarks, and A4 paper! Sheep dung brims with processed cellulose fiber. The poo can be sterilized in a 420 degree pressure cooker, which separates the fiber from a smelly brew of liquid fertilizer, allowing the fiber pulp to be collected and blended with other recycled pulps, creating tree-free paper.

11. TROPHIES

iStock

Is your room full of plastic bowling trophies from fifth grade? If the thrill of victory fades, you can recycle your old trophies at recycling centers like Lamb Awards. They'll break down your retired awards, melting them down or reusing them for new trophies.

12. HUMAN FAT (WARNING: ILLEGAL)

iStock

If it weren't for legal complications, America's obsession with cosmetic surgery could solve its energy problem. In 2008, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon lost his job when police caught him fueling his car with a biofuel created from his patients' liposuctioned fat. (Convicting him wasn't hard, since he advertised the substance online as "lipodiesel.") That's not the first time fat has powered transportation: In 2007, conservationist Peter Bethune used 2.5 gallons of human fat to fuel his eco-boat, Earthrace.

13. ALUMINUM FOIL

iStock

Foil is probably one of the most thrown away recyclable materials out there. (Americans throw away about 1.5 million tons of aluminum products every year, according to the EPA.) But foil is 100 percent aluminum, and as long as you thoroughly clean it of any food waste, you technically should be able to recycle it with your aluminum cans (but first check with your local recycling plant to ensure they’re equipped to process it; some aren’t).

14. CRAYONS

iStock

Don't toss those stubby Crayolas! Instead, mail them to the National Crayon Recycle Program, which takes unloved, broken crayons to a better place: They're melted in a vat of wax, remade, and resold. So far, the program has saved more than 118,000 pounds of crayons.

15. DEAD PETS

iStock

When Fluffy bites the dust in Germany, you can memorialize your beloved pet by recycling her. In Germany, it's illegal to bury pets in public places. This leaves some pet owners in a bind when their furry friends die. A rendering plant near the town of Neustadt an der Weinstraße accepts deceased pets; animal fat is recycled into glycerin, which is used in cosmetics such as lip balm.

16. SHINGLES

iStock

The EPA estimates that 11 million tons of shingles are disposed each year [PDF]. Most of them are made out of asphalt, which is why more than two dozen states pulverize the old shingles and recycle them into pavement. For every ton of shingles recycled, we save one barrel of oil.

17. PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

iStock

You can—and should—properly dispose of expired prescription drugs. But what about unneeded pills that are still good? Some states let you donate unused drugs back to pharmacies. Some charities also accept leftover HIV medicine from Americans who have switched prescriptions, stopped medicating, or passed away. These drugs are shipped overseas and distributed to HIV victims around the world.

18. FISHING LINE

iStock

Fishing line is made from monofilament, a non-biodegradable plastic that you can't put in your everyday recycling bin. At Berkley Fishing, old fishing line is mixed with other recyclables (like milk cartons and plastic bottles) and transformed into fish-friendly habitats. So far, Berkley has saved and recycled more than 9 million miles of fishing line.

19. WINE CORKS

iStock

Your recycling center probably doesn't accept wine corks, but companies like Terracycle and Yemm & Hart will. They turn cork into flat sheets of tile, which you can use for flooring, walls, and veneer. Another company, ReCORK, has extended the life of over 4 million unloved corks by giving them to SOLE, a Canadian sandal maker.

20. PANTYHOSE

iStock

Most pantyhose are made of nylon, a recyclable thermoplastic that takes more than 40 years to decompose. Companies like No Nonsense save your old stockings by grinding them down and transforming them into park benches, playground equipment, carpets, and even toys.

21. TOOTHBRUSHES

iStock

If you buy a plastic toothbrush from Preserve (which makes its toothbrushes from old Stonyfield Farms yogurt cups and other everyday items), it will take back your used toothbrush and give it a new life—this time as a piece of plastic lumber!

22. TENNIS BALLS

iStock

The company reBounces doesn’t really recycle tennis balls, it resurrects them. If you’ve got at least 200 balls sitting around, the company will send you a prepaid shipping label to help get the box on the road and repressurize the balls.

23. YOGA MATS

iStock

Most yoga mats are made from PVC, the same material in plumbing pipes, heavy-duty tarps, and rain boots. While many local yoga studios will accept well-loved mats and find them a new home, the company Sanuk has an appropriately squishy vision for each mat’s future: It will transform your old yoga mat into flip flops.

24. DEFUNCT CURRENCY

iStock

All governments have a way of dealing with old, worn money. (In 2016, the Indian government shredded old bills and turned them into hardboard.) But what about currency that is no longer legal tender? Ends up you can donate your old French francs, Spanish pesetas, or Dutch guilders to Parkinsons UK, who will recycle the old coins and banknotes.

25. PET FUR

iStock

All of the pet fur on your sweaters, your couches, and your carpet could help save the ocean from oil spills. Hair is excellent at sopping up oil from the environment (hairball booms were used to soak up oil from the 2010 BP Oil Spill), so non-profit organizations such as the San Francisco-based Matter of Trust will accept pet fur to make oil-absorbing mats of Fido's fuzz.

Original image
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tradesy
arrow
fun
Move Over, Golden Toilet: Now There’s a $100K Louis Vuitton Potty
Original image
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tradesy

In 2016, the Guggenheim Museum installed a one-of-a-kind, fully functional toilet made of solid gold, created by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan just for the museum. Now, there’s another insanely luxurious art-toilet to look out for—and this one you can take home.

Made by artist Illma Gore for the luxury resale platform Tradesy, the Loo-Uis Vuitton Toilet is covered in $15,000 worth of monogram leather ripped from Louis Vuitton bags. Everything but the inside of the bowl—which is gold—is covered in that instantly recognizable brown designer leather. It's one way to show your brand loyalty, for sure.

The toilet is fully functional, meaning, yes, you can poop in it—although that would require you (at some point) to clean the leather undersides of the seat, which sounds … gross. But then again, the leather is brown, so do what you will.

A toilet art piece stands under a pink neon sign that reads ‘No Fake Shit.’
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Tradesy

Does sitting on it feel like using those squishy-soft toilet seats your grandma has? Please let us know, because we don’t have the $100,000 it would take to buy it for ourselves. Note that while the site sells used goods, the description makes sure to specify that this one is new.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios