It's 7am and 9,000 Degrees. What Do You Wear to Your Interview?
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It's 7am and 9,000 Degrees. What Do You Wear to Your Interview?

by Liz Kores
Photos Joe Kathrina | August 31, 2015

JUST BECAUSE THE WEATHER IS A HOT MESS ON THE DAY OF YOUR INTERVIEW DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE. WITH A THOUGHTFUL OUTFIT, SOME EXTRA TIME, AND STRATEGIC TRANSPORTATION, YOU'LL SHOW UP TO THAT INTERVIEW COOL AS A CUCUMBER. 

When it’s so hot that the sidewalks are steaming and the seatbelt buckle in your car could give you third degree burns, there’s not much that you want to do apart from sitting in a pool with a fan blowing directly on you.

But even still, life goes on. And sometimes, life may even hand you a job interview on a day when the temperature does, indeed, feel like it could be nearing 9,000 degrees. 

So, in addition to the usual nerves you feel about an important interview, now you’re also having a mini freak-out about what you’ll wear and how you’ll possibly show up looking cool, calm, and collected. 

While it’s a challenge, it’s one you can easily surmount with a little smart planning.

CHOOSE GARMENTS WISELY

Making sure you look great when you show up for your interview involves a lot more than just clothes, but your outfit is the best place to start, since the garments you choose could make or break the first impression you make. {Click to Tweet}

First, on a hot day, you should try to avoid natural materials like 100% cotton or linen, because they wrinkle and wilt like nobody’s business when it’s hot out. Try to pick fabric that includes at least a small percentage of a synthetic material (like Lycra), which will help keep your outfit crisp and professional-looking. As for color, keep in mind that while light shades may keep you cooler in the sun, they are also more likely to show sweat. 

You can (and probably should) absolutely go for the classic business suit look, but you’ll be much cooler if you wear an unlined suit made of lightweight material, instead of the usual heavy wool. Choose a thin, silk shell or blouse to go underneath and you’ll look and feel put-together. But remember that if it’s hot outside, there will likely be Arctic-level air conditioning inside, so don’t hesitate to choose a long-sleeved blazer.

You can (and probably should) absolutely go for the classic business suit look, but you’ll be much cooler if you wear an unlined suit made of lightweight material, instead of the usual heavy wool.

Related: Webinar: Ace the Interview In 6 Easy-To-Implement Steps

Alternatively, you can opt for a lightweight dress with an unlined blazer. One thing to remember, however, is that your skirt or dress length and neckline should be modest and conservative—despite the fact that you probably want to wear only the minimum amount of clothes necessary—to avoid being indecent.

When it comes to panty hose, avoid them it if at all possible, as they’ll will only make you hotter and are no longer considered a necessary addition to “business casual”. And, as always, your shoe choice should represent a balance of style and comfort. But given the fact that your feet may sweat, you should choose a shoe that allows you to wear a thin liner so you won’t be slipping around inside your heels. 

CONSIDER TRANSPORTATION AND GIVE YOURSELF TIME

So you’ve chosen a great outfit that looks professional and won’t boil you from the inside—great! But that’s just the start. Now it’s time to plan your arrival to ensure that any heat-related appearance issues will be avoided or remedied before you shake hands with your interviewer.

First, calculate how long it will take you to get to the interview and then double that, at least. {Click to Tweet} Nothing gets you panicked and overheated quicker than the feeling of being late or not having enough time to check yourself over before you walk in.

Nothing gets you panicked and overheated quicker than the feeling of being late or not having enough time to check yourself over before you walk in.

Related: What Should You Spend On Interview Travel?

If you can drive there, do that, even if parking is expensive. Otherwise, it’s best to take a taxi and ask the driver to pump up the AC for you on the way. If you have to take public transportation, however, you ought to give yourself extra time, and consider wearing a much cooler outfit on the way there and suiting up before you walk into the interview.

ADD FINISHING TOUCHES

A hot weather professional look is all about simplicity—this is not the time to experiment with some fancy new makeup method or an elaborate hair style. {Click to Tweet}

Stick to a neutral, minimal makeup look that’s easy to touch up if you start to melt a bit in the heat. For your hair, try a sleek and cool look like a low chignon. 

Stick to a neutral, minimal makeup look that’s easy to touch up if you start to melt a bit in the heat.

Related: Endless Interviews, But No Offers? Here's Our Secret to Landing the Job

And be very careful about your scent. The strength of perfume is multiplied when your body temperature goes up, so choose something very light or wear nothing at all.

PRE-INTERVIEW COOL DOWN & DRESS UP

Regardless of your mode of transportation, you should do a little research beforehand to find a coffee shop or restaurant close to the interview location. Give yourself 10 minutes to sit down with a cold drink as you mentally go through your interview responses. 

Figure in another 10 minutes or so to go to the bathroom and do some final checks. If your outfit includes a sweater or blazer, then you should bring it with you and put it on here instead of at home.  Use this time to take a look at your makeup, your hair, and your clothes one last time before you head out.

A FEW MORE PRO TIPS

  • If you’re at all worried about sweating, you may want to pick up some underarm shields, which will absorb any excess moisture that might throw you off your game. You can easily find them on Amazon or at Target.
  • Put together your own little emergency kit for that last check, including: baby powder, moist towelettes, antiperspirant, makeup, hairspray, hair elastic, bobby pins, a Tide stick, oil-absorbing sheets for your face, mints or breath strips, and a bottle of water. 
  • Wait until the last minute to put on anything that’s hot or uncomfortable.
  • Keep a handkerchief in your pocket or in an outside pocket of your bag to wipe away any sweat at the last second.