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"Casual dress" is somewhat of a conundrum if you're not used to your workplace culture, especially if you haven't scored the job yet. Nailing the casual interview outfit can certainly be a challenge, especially when you've got so many options hanging in the closet. Just how casual is casual, exactly? To get the look and the job, let yourself get a bit creative while avoiding any interview fashion faux pas.
Don't Wear Jeans
Even if the interviewer emphasizes that the workplace is casual, don't plan to wear jeans unless you want the recruiter to take an unflattering double-take. Even in the most relaxed workplaces, wearing your denim for a job interview signals a lack of professionalism. According to "Cosmopolitan" magazine, 95 percent of recruiters expect you to wear something a little more polished to interviews, even when aiming for work in offices with more casual dress codes. Once you get the job, look around to see if other women around the office are donning jeans. If they are, you get the green light to pull out your favorite skinnies.
Do Button Up
Casual does not translate to short skirts and cleavage-baring blouses. Unless you're looking to land a position at your local Hooters, showing too much skin in the interview is a big no-no. A whopping 95 percent of recruiters say that dressing too sexy hurts your image in the job interview. If you're looking in the mirror and questioning whether your outfit is a little too racy, it probably is. Put it away and go for something more conservative.
Try a Dress and Flats
Dresses are a super cute choice if you want to look casual yet professional on your interview day. Just make sure the hemline doesn't go higher than the knee and that you cover up those shoulders with a jacket or cardigan. Choosing a dress with a colorful print is an office-friendly way to show off your personality and sense of style. Stick with a pair of neutral-colored flats to stay polished without looking too fancy.
Be One Part Casual
If you choose a neutral, more traditional look for your bottom half, you can go a little more causal up top. For example, if you pick a tailored dress pant, wearing a button-up shirt and jacket is too stiff for a casual job interview. Go for a print blouse with some character instead. Ruffled necklines, bows and flower decorations are okay, as long as they're not so large that they're distracting. If you have a colorful striped skirt that you want to try, wear a plain dress shirt on top to keep your outfit looking balanced.