Today, I am very glad that I saved my $80 Sears gift card from Adam's parents. In preparation for my interview tomorrow, I decided to swing by the department store to purchase some "proper business attire." The process took about three hours.
I talked to my sister when I returned, and told her of my accomplishment. Immediately, she said, "Did it take three hours?" and proceeded to list all of the pitfalls I encountered during my visit. At least I am not the only one.
So, Ladies, consider this blog a time saver. There is no need for us all to go through this experience only to learn lessons that are already known. I figure the process can be cut to about an hour by utilizing the following helpful hints...
Dressing Room Visit 1: Pants are no good. Proper suit pants that match a jacket are for some reason unbelievably long. You would need a tailor or some really good duct tape to hem them. Or, if you're a do-it-yourselfer, you might attempt sewing a hem. However, even if the idea of threading a needle doesn't phase you, the suit pants tend to sit unflatteringly high on the hips. They cost more than the skirt, and you will never never wear them again.
Dressing Room Visit 2: Business attire is just plain ugly. Ladies, you are not dressing for a cocktail party or a friend's wedding. You must relinquish all fantasies of finding a "cool" thing to wear to an interview. The hot-looking suits worn by female lawyers on TV are not sold at Sears.
Dressing Room Visit 3: Forget the skirt-shirt combo. If possible, find a dress with jacket combo. The dress, of course, is hideous, but so was the skirt. The difference is that the dress doesn't get all bunched up under the jacket.
Dressing Room Visits 4, 5, and 6: If you do not find a dress-jacket combo, you will need the skirt-shirt-jacket combo. Skirt and jacket are fairly easy if you remember visit #2's lesson about ugliness. Shirt? Not so easy. So I developed several shirt rules:
One, light colors such as white or tan work best with black (which was the only color available at Sears). Wacky colors such as turquoise, purple, or yellow must be avoided.
Two, quarter length sleeves should be avoided. Short or long are acceptable, while quarter length tend to bunch at the elbow, making it difficult to bend the arms. Option is to remain straight armed, which may make shaking hands a tad awkward.
Three, buttons up to the collar are needed. You do not actually have to button all buttons, but there were a ton of shirts which did not even include them above a certain level. Thank you fashion designers, but I think I can figure out which buttons to use on my own.
In the end, neither my sister nor I purchased a button down shirt. I found a regular shirt with a square neck. After all those button downs, the plain old shirt felt like heaven, and I ended up picking up a second one in red.
Then there are the shoes. I walked down the aisle and tried on shoes one by one. I have suspected for several years that my left foot is significantly larger than my right, but my normal shoe choices of hiking shoes or loafers have not revealed this definitively. Today, I confirmed my suspicions. There is very nearly a half size difference. Despite this, the shoe choice was the easiest one to make - I found only two pair that fit comfortably in my (left foot) size. One of the two had a cutsie strap that was less desirable, and so I happily tucked the other pair under my arm.
During my shopping spree, I did not consider cost. But after picking a decent looking dress-jacket combo and a pair of shoes, my total cost was $45. Sweet. This is when I went for the kill, and found a black skirt for $10, then picked up the two aforementioned shirts. Total was $84, so I handed the woman a fiver and popped down the street to a cheapo hair place for a trim.
At the very least, I will look good tomorrow.