Help me decide what's appropriate for this job interview (clothing-wise)..
October 29, 2008 9:39 PM   Subscribe

What should a California girl wear to a job interview in Boston in few (cold) weeks?

I'm born and raised in California and thus, have never experienced weather below a chilly 50 degrees or so. I'm flying out to Boston for a job interview on November 12, and I have no idea what's appropriate to wear. Usually I go with slacks, heels, and a crisp button-down and tasteful earrings. But this is COLD weather!

Are boots acceptable? What about sweaters? Do people wear boots into the building and then change? What about pants-wise? What happens!??!
posted by brynna to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Depends upon the type of job for which you're interviewing. Traditionally a woman wears a suit (skirt, blouse and jacket). But if you add a nice blazer or jacket to your slacks/blouse combo, that would probably work as well. And Boston in November is not Alaska; unless there's a sudden snowstorm, you won't need boots. Heels will be just fine. Make sure you're wearing dress slacks, not jeans or cords.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:03 PM on October 29, 2008

Tweeds have come back bigtime and they are perfect for NE winter pant/skirt topping. Mid November is really hard to predict weather wise. Short highish heel pant boots would work with any weather under slacks. A classic trench coat with a removable liner will serve you well for 9 months commuting wear. As an interviewer, I'm always drawn to lapel pins. The ones that relate to sports or hobbies I always ask about. Flag pins, political pins, frat pins, religious pins......not so much.
posted by Pennyblack at 10:26 PM on October 29, 2008

Congratulations on your interview! If you're flying out, it sounds like a Big Deal - in which case you might want to wear a suit. Sweaters aren't dressy enough for an interview *but* a wool jacket would be warm and appropriate. That said -
1. I expect that by 11/12 you'll want to wear a coat, but a coat + whatever ensemble you choose will be fine. It's not the north pole!
2. I *don't* expect that there will be snow on the ground - boots won't be necessary. boots can be tricky - it's so easy to look too sporty or too sexy (or too ginger? or scary? or posh?) in boots, but in mid-November it's highly unlikely you'll need them.
3. If there IS lots of snow on the ground - don't worry about it. Up here, either wearing boots into the interview - OR changing into heels once you're in the building and putting the boots by the coat rack - would both be fine.
posted by moxiedoll at 10:33 PM on October 29, 2008

Yeah, East Coast is a little stuffier than West Coast on interview clothing. Wear a suit, and I'd generally suggest pants over a skirt but it probably depends on the industry. (I work in a very male-dominated industry and would never dream of wearing a skirt to an interview) You can find a nice wool suit relatively cheaply at a place like Banana Republic or J Crew. Depending on footwear, you can either get a thick pair of tights to wear under your pants (if you're wearing pumps or something) or many stores make these lovely "boot socks" now, which are glorified kneesocks that are usually kind of thick and they add a nice extra layer of warmth under a pair of dress boots.

Are you walking to your interview, taking a cab, or driving? If there's snow on the ground, or it's raining, most of us wear Wellies (or Uggs) with our dress shoes stashed in a bag, and switch when we get to where we're going. Might be cumbersome for you, but that's an option if you think you'll hit wet weather -- or if we get a bunch of snow right before you fly out. Also beware that if you are in Cambridge or Boston proper, the sidewalks are often uneven brick or cobblestone, and there are frequent random grates, which can both be killer for your shoe heels and for your ankles if you're not used to it. If I were you (and you were going to be interviewing in the city) I'd take a cab to the interview just to be safe; that will also help you be less cold!

Get a scarf you like (it can be one of the more trendy ones, doesn't have to be thick wool or anything) and a pair of gloves. Scarves can make you surprisingly warmer. Bring an umbrella, because if there's wet snow it'll help keep you dry (and yes, I do see people carrying umbrellas for snow and I've done it myself).

You'll be fine! Many Californians have survived Boston weather.
posted by olinerd at 4:04 AM on October 30, 2008

Wear your normal attire plus a sweater or coat that can be shed easily. It's 41F here now. I'm guessing it won't be too much worse in 2 weeks. You could probably get away with boots if it's wet out. Some people change out of them some not. Long coats are better than having to change pants if your legs are cold, but we usually only have a few days each year cold enough to warrant that.

You might also want to plan out your route from hotel to interview. If you're only going to be outside for 5 minutes my advise would be to suck it up.
posted by valadil at 7:42 AM on October 30, 2008

Lets see, projects an average high of 53 degrees and a low of 39 for November 12th.

That doesn't seem awfully cold, unless your interview is in the evening. I would suggest a pantsuit, perhaps with tights underneath if you're chilly, heels, and a classic coat over it.

To be extra prepared for a cold snap or bad weather: boots you can take off and exchange for your heels before you enter the building, scarf, gloves, fold-up umbrella. If you can arrange for a car to pick you up from wherever you're staying, that will eliminate much of the weather hassle- but that's not always feasible.

In any case, best of luck!
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:42 AM on October 30, 2008

Our buildings are *generally* heated on the inside, so wearing a coat/scarf/mittens/etc. on the outside should do you fine for cold-weather survival in Mid-November. You shouldn't need boots unless we enter a new ice age in the next two weeks - there isn't going to be snow on the ground.

The only thing I would suggest would be to add a blazer/coat over your button-down. Other than that, your interview outfit should do you just fine. I see people wearing that ensemble (pants suit/heels) on the T every day and they seem to be surviving just fine!

As rachaelfaith mentioned, tights under pants are totally the way to go if you're feeling super chilly.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:16 AM on October 30, 2008

I'm from Boston, I live in Boston, and it's fucking cold here already. Wear a suit (skirt or pants doesn't matter) with a jacket over your button-down shirt. Tights (def. for skirt, probably not necessary for pants) and heels (not boots...way too casual). And a warm coat! Indoors, you'll be fine, but you'll want a coat and scarf for outside.

Good luck!
posted by emd3737 at 8:41 AM on October 30, 2008

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