How to Dress for a Retail Manager Interview

Choose clothes that make you look like a professional.

Choose clothes that make you look like a professional.

A retail management position is a leadership role, so you have to impress the hiring manager from the get-go with your savvy and professional dress style. This is especially important if you’re applying for a job in the retail fashion industry and need to walk the talk and dress the part.

Look Business-Like

Management job interviews require professional business attire. Leave the club-style clothes, workout attire and blue jeans at home for this one. Opt for a business suit or dress slacks and blouse, moderate heels and low-key jewelry pieces. If you have visible tattoos, consider covering them up, and be well groomed and put-together. Wear your hair and makeup in a conservative style and make sure your nails are clean and polished.

Command Authority

Wear clothing that commands authority. A hiring manager needs to visualize you in a leadership position, so make wardrobe pieces that make you look and feel like you’re in charge. A black, navy or charcoal suit, crisp, pressed shirt and matching high-end accessories establish you as a presence to be reckoned with. Interviewers will feel your confidence and be able to picture you issuing directives and managing the store.

Represent the Company

Make your wardrobe reflect the company you’re interviewing with, to some degree. Even though you want to err on the side of being more business-like than casual, adapt your style accordingly. For example, if you’re applying for a job at a bridal boutique, you may opt for a more feminine look, integrating pastels, floral fabrics and jewelry, such as pearls. If you’re looking for a management position in a jewelry or artsy retail store, you might dress with a little more flair, incorporating colors and unusual patterns and accessories.

Dress Styles to Avoid

Whatever you do, don’t go into a management interview looking sloppy. Clothes that are too tight, too revealing or don’t fit you well make you look and feel uncomfortable. Don’t wear anything too warm that makes you perspire. Opt instead for layers. Try on your outfit in advance and make sure you’re comfortable sitting, standing and gesturing without worrying about how your clothes look. Managers in retail settings are often called on to mediate disputes, handle heavy customer traffic and make decisions on the fly. If you look sweaty and disheveled in an interview, you won’t appear as someone who can handle the pressure.

 

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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