Dressing for OCIs: Tips & Tricks for the Ladies
As Queen’s students, we are accustomed to weekly shopping trips for Smoker costumes at Phase 2. While planning an outfit for On Campus Interviews (OCIs) is comparatively unappealing, looking and feeling your best at interviews are the keys to success. As an OCI survivor who experienced and witnessed fashion wins and woes, I offer the ladies ten tips and tricks on how to dress for OCIs.
Organize your outfit in advance
If you’re wearing something more than a few months old, make sure to try it on well in advance of OCIs. Your size might have fluctuated (or your clothes might have shrunk). You don’t want to find out the night before OCIs that your clothes are too big or small. Leave time to bring your outfit to a tailor or purchase something new, if necessary. Ill-fitting clothes can ruin a great outfit.
Overdressing is better than underdressing
This means you should wear a suit. Skirt suits and pantsuits are equally appropriate. You may find that some of your interviewers are dressed business casual, but you should be dressed for a big-shot partner or client. I distinctly remember one of my interviewers describing the culture of her firm as “not the black suit, white shirt type.” With horror, I realized that I was dressed as she had described. Thankfully, she reassured me that she too wore a full suit to her interviews and that I looked great. You will never be faulted for looking professional.
Wear a tasteful top
You don’t need to wear a collared, white shirt. Choose something comfortable and stylish, but avoid anything too low, sheer or with thin straps.
Say “no” to sexy
You will impress no one if your clothes are too short, tight or cleavage-baring. Save the sexy clothing for Stages.
Stock up on stockings
If you’re wearing a skirt, wear stockings and bring an extra pair in case you get a run. You can’t go wrong with knee-highs under pants either. Thankfully, stockings make your shoes more comfortable.
Feel good in your footwear
Not-too-high heels and flats are both suitable. Your shoes should be office appropriate—polished, clean and comfortable. You may not have a table placed between you and your interviewers, so there’s a good chance they will get a good look at your shoes.
Hands off your hair
Wear your hair however you feel comfortable—up or down. Playing with your hair is unprofessional and immature. Tie your hair back if it will prevent you from doing so.
Understate your accessories and makeup
You don’t want your interviewers to be distracted or to remember you by glitzy accessories, chipped nail polish or heavy makeup. Stick to simple jewellery and neutral tones.
Get rid of wrinkles
Iron your clothes. A great outfit will look unprofessional if you don’t.
Despite these tips, you should feel comfortable. Try not to sacrifice too much of your personal style. You will perform best if you feel your best!
Jessica Firestone is a contributor to Juris Diction. She is a 3L student.