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By Mallory Price
Naperville North

Giving the best first impression is an important step in the interview process. Whether you’re applying for a job or interviewing to get into college, don’t let your clothing be the cause of a negative impression. Take the stress out of choosing an outfit by following these tips that will for sure win over your future employer or college admissions officer.

Boys

1. Dress to impress. Always wear professional attire such as a suit jacket and nice pants. If suits aren’t exactly your style try a buttoned-down shirt and khakis or dress pants. Remember to wear a tie as well. “You want to look like this opportunity is something that you are taking seriously,” says Jeff Denard, director of career development at North Central College. “If you show up in jeans or anything less formal, it may appear that you are not taking this job or college interview seriously enough.”

2. All piercings and tattoos should be concealed or removed. Some places of business have rules about visible piercings and tattoos, so if you plan on going to your interview with them, make sure you cover up.

3. Keep it simple. Avoid wearing colors that are too bright or patterns that are overwhelming. They can be distracting to your interviewer. Also, make sure your clothing fits you properly, says Gina Anselmo, assistant director and career advisor at DePaul University.

4. Look polished. Denard recommends polishing your shoes before an interview. Clair Pitstick, a senior at Naperville North, adds that all interviewees, especially teen boys, should remember to comb their hair.

Girls

1. Dress conservatively. Your skirt should be no shorter than one inch above your knee. Don’t wear low-cut blouses and opt for flats or closed-toe heels. ”Don’t show too much skin, and keep it professional,” says Brianna Griggs, a senior at Kenwood. A good combination is a suit or a pencil skirt and a blouse with a collar.

2. Keep it balanced. Take your look up a notch but don’t go over the top. Dress slightly more professional than those who you’re hoping to work with but make sure not to go overboard.

3. Don‘t break the bank. Girls are known to want to buy a new outfit for every new occasion. So if you need a new interview outfit but don’t have the money to spend, try going to second-hand clothing stores. “Check out Goodwill or some resale shops,” Denard says. “You might be amazed at what you can get for $25 or $30.”

4. Feel good in what you wear. Above all, wearing something that you’re comfortable in will help take the stress out of your interview, Anselmo says.

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free each Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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