Most women begin dressing for job interviews in their teens and early 20s. A nice pair of dress pants, pencil skirt, blazer and button-down dress shirt should find a place in every professional female’s wardrobe. One key element, however, to the perfect interview attire is often overlooked: shoes. Common sense tells us to skip the sneakers and sandals, but there can be a fine line between appropriate work footwear and a major fashion faux pas.
First of all, make sure your footwear choice is clean and in good condition. It’s not a bad idea to shine your shoes before a big interview, or at least clean off any dirt or scuff marks. You don’t have to purchase a brand-new pair of shoes for every interview, but it may be a good idea to keep one trusty pair around that you don’t wear as often as your other dressy shoes.
Next, think about heel size. Heels more than 4 inches tall are generally too wild looking, and there is a major risk of falling or breaking a shoe. That’s the last thing you want in this already nerve-wracking situation. Skinny stilettos and open toes are also best avoided. Ballet flats are perfectly acceptable, but make sure they are a bit more dressed-up and made of either leather, patent leather or stiff canvas material. The Steve Madden Heaven Patent Flat and Kelly & Katie Whitney Slip On are both good choices.
If you prefer a higher heel, make sure you wear it with long dress pants, trousers or a knee-length skirt and dress coat. Choose heels that are thicker and not too tall. Avoid boots or anything too over the top. The Bonomi heels from Aldo are appropriate, as are the Nurture Maren Lizard Print Pumps from Dillards. Subtle textured print is fine, but stay away from bold patterns and colors. Neutral shades like black, navy, army green, brown and tan are the best options for an interview.
A general rule to keep in mind is where you would wear your particular pair of shoes outside of a work environment. If answers like “the club,” “prom” or “hiking” come to mind, you know your shoes are not appropriate. Stick with something simple. You may feel like your footwear selection is boring, but an interview shouldn’t be about your shoes. As long as they match your outfit, look clean, and are dressy and appropriate, the interviewer won’t focus on your outfit and will instead be tuned in to the great things you can offer the company.