Tuesday, September 13, 2016

the interview suit: part one

As thousands of fourth year medical students across the country are putting the finishing touches on their residency applications (we submit on Thursday...eek!), we're all starting to think about the next step...interviews. For the majority of us, we haven't really worn a suit since our medical school interviews, and I know for me, my interview suit doesn't really fit me the way it once did...which lead me to start the task of finding a new suit.

Unlike men, women really have a tougher time finding suits as we don't have full sections of stores dedicated to suits of all sizes, colors, and styles. Even stores like Ann Taylor and The Limited rarely have extended sizes in stores. I went to Ann Taylor last week, and they had one style of blazer in straight sizes, and one style of pants, again only in straight sizes (i.e. no petite or talls). I've been casually checking out stores for the past few months, looking to see what was out there. Using Elyse's and Joyce's guides for interview suits, here is what I personally want for my interview suit.
what to wear to residency interview women

  • A pantsuit: I feel most comfortable wearing pants, so it only makes sense for me to get pants instead of a skirt or dress. As far as I know, skirts or dresses with blazer is equally as professionally, I just personally really don't want to deal with pantyhose (what if I get a tear?!), and like I said, I feel more comfortable in pants.
  • In black: Many will advise that black is too dark and too serious, but in my mind, it's timeless and always looks appropriate. I also think it's the easiest when it comes to accessories. If I weren't set on a black suit, I'd go for a navy suit, but those tend to be more difficult to find, and also tend to show a bit more wear and tear (and wrinkles!). I think as long as the suit fits you well and the fabric doesn't show major wrinkling, a suit in black, navy, or grey are all appropriate. I just chose black because I know it's what I will feel most comfortable wearing. I ordered this four pocket blazer, and three styles of pants to try on.
  • With a non-button up blouse: I have tried everything to stop button ups from gaping at the bust - I've sized up and altered, I've sewn them shut, I've used fashion tape. Nothing makes it lay completely flat, so instead of fighting it, I'm going to completely remove it from the equation! I plan on buying several sleeveless or short sleeved blouses, and will rotate them throughout the interviews. I asked on twitter if anyone ever removed their blazers during the interviews, and feedback shows that no, they didn't, which is why the sleeves of the blouses don't matter as much.
  • Simple accessories: I plan on wearing my black wedges I've been wearing for years - I can comfortably walk in them and I don't want to buy another pair of black shoes (I don't think my Revas would be a good shoe to wear with my suit). I plan on using my black Mulberry purse, and wearing my simple diamond necklace and pearl earrings.

  • I think the big thing with interview outfits is that they shouldn't really be a noticeable part of our application - as in, I want them to remember me for me, and not because my suit was inappropriate or ill fitting. The big thing is that I want to feel comfortable and not spend the whole day worrying about if my shirt is gaping or if my skirt is riding up. I do wish I had the guts to go a bit more ballsy and creative - I'd love to wear these tweed ankle pants and a cute peplum blazer, but will veer on the traditional side for what is typically a very traditional occasion/profession.

    The reason I'm specifically writing this post today is because Ann Taylor, a store that never includes suits in their weekly sales, is specifically having a suit sale right now! It's like they knew we were all about to buy suits and decided to help us out. I actually ordered a ton of suits last week from them, and they were nice enough to do a price adjustment when I called (a big thank you to Kimberly for suggesting this!). Below are some of my top picks for blazers, pants, and dresses/skirts that are now on sale at Ann Taylor, as well as a few blouses and accessories from other stores. As the suits very rarely go on sale, and because you may need to account for an extra week for tailoring (more on that in an upcoming post), I'd order sooner rather than later!

    black (this is the one I ordered) | grey (on major sale) | navy
    one | two | three | four
    one | two | three (my favorite!) | four

    If you've gone through the residency interview trail, or just wear suits a lot, we would all love to hear any tips you have!