What to Wear for a Visual Merchandising Interview

Finding an interview outfit that speaks to your sense of style and looks professional can be challenging.

Finding an interview outfit that speaks to your sense of style and looks professional can be challenging.

Visual merchandisers are responsible for the look of a retail store and might be hired to work in a particular store or at a corporate office. Visual merchandisers usually create or make rules for window displays, front of store displays and mannequin looks. Traditionally, people dress conservatively for an interview, but when you're interviewing for a job that requires a keen, creative eye, you have a little more room to dress with spunk to display your sense of style.

Rules Apply

While creative professions have some more leeway in interview attire, some of the basic rules still apply. It's no longer necessary to wear a pant or skirt suit, but don't wear clothes that are too casual, such as jeans or a T-shirt. Opt for items such as trousers, a knee-length skirt or a blazer. Never wear anything too revealing, such as a low-cut or sheer shirt or a short skirt, and don't over do the makeup.

Know Your Audience

It's important to have some sense of who you'll be interviewing with. If you are interviewing at a specific store, you might have a sense of employee dress code from visiting the store. You don't want to act like someone else or be a carbon copy of a store mannequin, but if you are working for a retail store consider that you will probably dress differently if you are going to work for, say, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie. Dress as or more professionally than the employees in the store -- but don't dress too casually even if the employees do. If you are interviewing at a corporate office, you might be interviewing with members of the human resources department and other department heads along with the visual merchandising head. These people may be more used to traditional or conventional professional dress.

Add Flair

Follow the basic rules as you dress for your interview, but show off your visual style. Matching suits and a button-down might be too conservative and don't leave much room to show off your creativity. Shopping website Refinery 29 suggests wearing at least one professional item -- such as a knee-length pencil skirt, a button-down top or a fitted blazer -- to be sure you look put-together and ready to work or join a meeting. They also suggest strengthening your look with a piece or two of statement jewelry, which can be both professional and creative.

Stay Neat

The most important rule for an interview is to look neat, clean and organized, since even creative jobs require you to act -- and dress -- professionally. Pay attention to details because first impressions count -- make sure your clothes fit well, your shoes aren't scuffed and, if you're wearing nail polish, that it goes with your look and isn't chipped. The interview is mainly about you, not your outfit, so stay away from lots of neon colors or too many different patterns.

 

About the Author

Paige Johansen has been writing professionally since 2003. She holds a B.A. in psychology and English from Cornell University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from The University of Virginia. Between degrees, she worked in the fashion industry for two years.

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