our everyday life

Dressing for an Interview in the Heat

by Bridget Johnson, studioD

With your talking points in the bag and your best accessories a smile and a firm handshake, you may be more than ready for that big interview, but if the day rolls around and the weather resembles a sauna, your chances of making a positive first impression can wilt along with you and your clothes. The wrong threads can leave you unnecessarily sweaty and self-conscious. In this situation, don breathable fabrics and summer-friendly styles tailored for a professional interview look while conveying cool confidence.

Styles to Combat Swelter

There's usually little choice but to don a suit for an interview, though in more casual industries a long-sleeved shirt can suffice. Women have the option of picking a skirted suit or a pantsuit, which may seem like a hotter option but eliminates the need for pantyhose as you add a pair of chic slingback pumps. Take some of the heat off with a sleeveless blouse or camisole under a suit jacket. Or wear a dress for fewer layers, ensuring that the sleeves are long enough, the neckline is high enough and the hem is low enough to maintain a polished, professional appearance. If you're concerned about dark colors soaking up too much heat, opt for soft neutrals with a dash of color to complement the season.

Fabrics to Keep Your Cool

Finding the right fabrics can prove challenging when finding proper suiting to make a professional impression in hot weather. Silk wrinkles easily and is vulnerable to embarrassing sweat stains. Linen is breathable and associated with summertime wear, but its propensity for wrinkles works against good interview attire. Wool seems like it would be a fabric reserved for cooler temperatures, but a thinner "tropical-weight" wool is light and looks polished for the office. Beware a polyester lining that retains heat, though. Synthetic materials can vary in their suitability: polyester, for example, doesn't breathe, but newer bio-based textiles such as modal, viscose knit and bamboo knit do, and are better for beating the heat. Avoid getting too summery in the office environment; stay away from casual fabrics such as seersucker.

Getting Hosed

It's debatable whether pantyhose are still necessary in the office, notwithstanding dress codes at individual offices that may require them. For an interview you should act like there is a dress code in place, which depending on the industry, could mean sucking it up and wearing pantyhose despite soaring temperatures. But fear not, as today's super-sheer pantyhose with softer finishes can even be worn in the summer, and many offer slimming benefits to boot. If you want to avoid pantyhose as much as possible in the heat and still make a professional impression, don thigh-highs under a pencil skirt that hits just below the knee.

It's About the Journey

Driving in an air-conditioned car lessens the chance of the heat messing with your impeccably put-together look, especially if you drive in flip-flops and slip your heels on once you get there or lay your suit jacket across the seat. But be prepared for anything less than a perfectly cool door-to-door journey, such as a long walk from a parking garage, a stuffy cab or a stifling subway car. Stash a mini-deodorant, oil-blotting papers and light fragrance into your bag for emergencies. Map out your interview location beforehand and know where to find a nearby restroom to give your interview look one last glance or to pull on pantyhose before it's time to sit down and show a potential employer your best.

About the Author

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist in Washington, D.C. Currently a foreign affairs writer, she loves time on the road and has reaped travel tips for the nearest and most remote destinations. Johnson was once editor of a national cat magazine and has a variety of furry, scaly and feathered pets.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images