Fashion Challenge
June 11, 2007 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Female attorney, network television interview, hot summer months, what to wear?

One of my girlfriends is interviewing for a legal department in network television in Los Angeles where it will be hot hot hot. She doesn't want to wear the standard navy suit with leather pumps because (1) it's summer; and (2) everyone at the company wears jeans or hipper hollywood styles.

She is a petite woman and she has picked out a khaki colored skirt suit from Banana Republic and a coral colored shell. She also plans to wear a tasteful gold necklace with linen and leather peep-toe pumps. It's professional, hip, and seasonal, but does this sound like it lacks the "power" that a navy suit packs?
posted by GIRLesq to Work & Money (14 answers total)
The outfit sounds awesome!

She should wear something that's appropriate, creative, and flattering, because these qualities are the 'power' that television tries to project. This outfit sounds ideal.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:04 PM on June 11, 2007

I'd suggest going with a black shell instead of coral. Coral is a color that's not flattering to a lot of skin tones, and khaki and coral just sounds....horrid. Just my opinion, but take it with a grain of salt because I detest coral. Black looks amazing with khaki, and is also hipper, more powerful, more polished, and easier to accessorize. Right now on the BR website they're showing khaki suit pieces with black tanks and shells, so she could get an idea of how it would look and if she'd like that. The rest of her look sounds great.
posted by iconomy at 3:17 PM on June 11, 2007

While I love black and khaki together, I'm not sure about black on television. I suspect coral would look wonderful (assuming she looks good in coral) and give her skin a good glow.

Here's a pdf about dressing for television interviews that may be helpful.
posted by occhiblu at 3:45 PM on June 11, 2007

Never mind, I just realized that she's not on TV but interviewing at a network.

It being California, however, I'd still go with lighter colors rather than black. At least in San Francisco, I feel like black really stands out (negatively) as overly East Coast.
posted by occhiblu at 3:50 PM on June 11, 2007

Best answer: I think the idea of a navy suit as a "power" suit is sort of outdated for all but the most conservative of law firms. For a network, it would make her seriously out of place, which would be unfortunate. The suit you describe sounds completely appropriate.

On the black-in-Californa front, I think it's fine and often a refreshing non-pastel note, though that's a matter of taste.
posted by judith at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2007

Power suit is a power suit is a power suit, whether you're on the east coast or west. That said, it's probably 100 degrees outside and she needs to keep cool. I am not sure about Khakis. Khakis is very difficult since there are many various to the color Khakis. It has to go with the skin tone. Open toe heel sounds nice, pumps are always nice esp, black. She could combine something dark to contrast. Coral is, as iconomy said, difficult to work, but looks fabulous when worn on a tan skin or ivory skin tone, but don't think it goes well with khakis...not a big fan of khakis here, esp for a job interview.

Perhaps she could wear a nice summer skirt. Still conservative but tasteful and playful. combine it with a semi-low cut top with short sleeves. Don't wanna go into a job interview with a loose top that shows the sides of your bra or any part of your bra strap.

Make sure she doesn't wear too much jewelry. Simple chain and a pair of diamond earrings or pearls are nice and professional, depending on how flashy, colorful her outfit is.

Hope this help, wish her good luck!
posted by icollectpurses at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2007

Best answer: (I work in this industry.)

That's a perfectly fine interview outfit. Ladies here mostly don't wear "power suits", so she'll be fine. Basically, she'll want to just look good (and of course work-appropriate: so no plunging necklines.)

Some people are weird about open-toed shoes, so if the pumps are a modest peep-toe, that's fine, but I wouldn't go for anything strappy.

Good luck to your friend!
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:48 PM on June 11, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks all, especially you Beagle (industry insider advice was very comforting for her).

She just flipped out a little bit when a sales lady at Nordstrom called BR suits "junky" and when my friend said she was thinking of wearing a light colored suit the same sales lady looked shocked and said: "Well, good for you!" in a not so good way.
posted by GIRLesq at 5:07 PM on June 11, 2007

For the interview, navy suit is essential. They want to see how you present yourself in the power situations, litigation and negotiation. If you demonstrate that you are aware of how the million little detail things add up to one big thing, they are going to hire you. How you dress for that interview demonstrates how you are going to go over each letter to avoid mistakes, how carefully you will choose your words when you stake out your position, and how seriously you will take the extremely serious job of protecting the legal rights of the organization in every aspect of your practice.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:33 PM on June 11, 2007

Admittedly, I am a litigator, which is a different animal from inside work, but I just cannot imagine not being as business formal as possible for an interview for a position as an attorney.

Your friend will lose no points for dressing business formal at the interview. She may lose points for not doing it. There will be plenty of time to lighten up the mood once she has the position.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:36 PM on June 11, 2007

Please clarify. Is she interviewing for an on-camera position? My understanding is that she is interviewing for a position with the general counsel's office, but everyone seems to be answering as if she is interviewing for an on-camera position. If so, disregard my earlier advice.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:39 PM on June 11, 2007

(i also work in fashion, as both a designer and a trend forecaster) so i agree with thehmsbeagle that the suit sounds like a great alternative. i am assuming she wouldn't pick these colors unless they did flatter her. i think khaki and coral is a refreshing combination without being frivolous. i also think it shows a lot more creativity as well as confidence to wear color and not always stick to the tried and true. regardless of whether she will be on camera or behind, she will be interviewing at a network (in california), so style is something that will be noted.
posted by violetk at 10:28 PM on June 11, 2007

I worked at a network for five years and was always impressed by how well the women dress. (Most of the dudes are total shlubs.) Yes, it is far more casual than most workplaces. Your friend sounds like she has the look nailed. One particularly stunning female boss always looked like she just stepped out of an Anthropologie catalog, although that did not save her from being Jan Levinson-Goulded out the door when her time was up.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:30 PM on June 11, 2007

The main thing I don't like about the color combination (besides the fact that I find coral fug, as I said) is that there isn't enough contrast between the two colors. It sounds drab. But the consensus here seems to be that coral and khaki together is great, so I'm most likely wrong.
posted by iconomy at 7:42 AM on June 12, 2007

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