You’ve prepared, researched, and practiced, and you’re ready to rock your interviews. But the night before your interview/tour, you’re standing in front of your closet and panicking! What are you supposed to wear!?

Summer interviews are particularly tough because not only do you have to be professional, you have to be age appropriate, AND you have to go outside and tour a school in summer heat.

The goals you want to hit are to look like a fine, upstanding citizen of the world, but still look about your age. So yes, you can go too formal. If you’re someone who likes to dress a little funky or creative, you may also run into problems because to achieve professionalism, you might end up in clothes that are too stuffy and uncomfortable. Thus, here are some outfit guidelines to follow when you’re planning on touring and interviewing.

The subjects: My brother Perry and I are your models for today.

I’m definitely a girly girl and I love dresses and clothes that skew a bit towards preppy. Perry likes to be comfortable, but not sloppy. He wears a lot of shorts and t-shirts for school, and he likes bright colors.

These outfits are all from things we had in our closets.

Our original outfits:

These were our “eating breakfast on Sunday” outfits that we were wearing before we started. They’re both entirely inappropriate for school tours.

Sunday Breakfast Outfit: Sweatpants and A T-Shirt

Sunday Breakfast Outfit: Sweatpants and A T-Shirt

Sunday Breakfast Outfit: Patterned Sundress, no shoes

Sunday Breakfast Outfit: Patterned Sundress, no shoes

 

The problems:

My outfit, while fun and summery and good for the heat, is too tight, too low cut, and too short.

Perry’s outfit is his pajamas, so obviously that won’t work either. Also, it’s sweatpants and a college t-shirt which is way too casual.

 

 

 

 

Outfit 1: Interview with a student, Interview and Tour, or Informal Interview

This outfit is the most casual and has room for some personality. While you still want to look professional, you’re also interviewing with someone who expects you to look your age, and you’re going to have to brave the summer heat in this outfit. Play with colors and cuts, and boys should pack an extra pair of shorts to change into.

Fun Interview: Patterned Button Down, Skirt, Flats

Fun Interview: Patterned Button Down, Skirt, Flats

My outfit: This one is fun, has some color, and is very lightweight. It’s also conservative

and casual. The skirt isn’t too short, and the shirt is cut conservatively. Comfortable flats look nice and professional, and will also not hurt on a tour.

Perry’s Outfit: This one may be too funky for some boys, but it’s comfortable and still a little dressy. You’re always going to want to have a collared shirt, and while jeans are too casual, any kind of slack is great. Boat shoes or comfortable dress shoes are a step above sneakers, and really tie an outfit together, and are comfortable enough for a tour.

 

 

 

Fun Interview Outfit: Red Slacks, Plaid Button Down, Sperrys

Fun Interview Outfit: Red Slacks, Plaid Button Down, Sperrys

What to consider for this outfit:
1. Am I covered up enough?

2. Is this comfortable enough to travel in?

3. Will I sweat my brain out in this outfit?

4. Will my shoes hurt my feet on a walking tour?

5. Does my personality show?

 

 

 

Outfit 2: Interview (with an adult) Only

While you can definitely wear an outfit 1 style outfit for this type of interview, sometimes you want to err on the side of formal if you’re not going to have to brave the heat. Look very dressy and professional, but don’t try too hard (don’t wear high heels, a jacket, or a tie). Have a bit of personality, but really look “adult” in your clothes.

Professional Interview: Button Down, Black Slacks, Flats

Professional Interview: Button Down, Black Slacks, Flats

My outfit: This is my token pants outfit (as I find pants to be abhorrently uncomfortable). It’s very professional and conservative, but not over the top dressy. It’s WAY too stuffy for a tour, but in an air-conditioned office it is just fine. It also is cut very nicely, and the shirt has a pink stripe on it, so I get some fun in the outfit too. This could be paired with a cool necklace for some personality.
Perry’s Outfit: This is a step to the side of most interview outfits (Kakis and a blue button down, sound familiar?). It’s not trying too hard (no tie) but it still looks formal and professional. Once again it’s way too hot if you’re going outside, but it’s great for an interview.

 

 

 

What to consider for this outfit:

Professional Interview: White and Black Striped Button Down, Black Slacks, Dress Shoes

Professional Interview: White and Black Striped Button Down, Black Slacks, Dress Shoes

1. Am I covered up enough?

2. Do I look my age?

3. Do I look professional?

4. Am I (fairly) comfortable?

 

 

 

 

 

Outfit 3: Alumni Interview
This outfit might be the hardest to conquer, as there’s no protocol. The goal on this type of interview is to look like a “good kid” so you’re going to want to look nice, but not overly nice (don’t try too hard). You’re probably going to meet in a coffee shop or a bookstore, so don’t be overdressed, and don’t mind the heat too much.

Alumni Interview: Patterned sundress, nice sandals

Alumni Interview: Patterned sundress, nice sandals

My outfit: A nice sundress will do fine for an alumni interview. It shows personality and looks great on everyone, so you’ll feel comfortable. I would bring a sweater, in case it’s cold wherever you’re meeting.

Perry’s Outfit: This is the epitome of effortlessly dressy. It’s a step above school clothes (do NOT wear jeans), but is not crossed over into the “trying too hard” sector either. The colorful shirt has some personality without being over the top.

 

 

 

 

 

What to consider for this outfit:

Alumni Outfit: Brown Corduroys, Blue Polo, Sperrys

Alumni Outfit: Brown Corduroys, Blue Polo, Sperrys

1. Do I look my age?

2. Does my personality show?

3. Do I look professional?

4. Am I comfortable in this?

 

 

 

Outfit 4: Tour Only

While this one seems like a no brainer, don’t be fooled. Even if you’re not planning on talking to someone in the admissions office, you still want to look a little nice in case you meet someone influential. Comfort is key with this outfit (as you’re walking around), but have it be casual plus.

Tour Outfit: Denim Skirt, White Shirt, Cardigan, White Keds

Tour Outfit: Denim Skirt, White Shirt, Cardigan, White Keds

My Outfit: So this is basically my daily uniform and it’s insanely comfortable. It is very casual, but still looks polished and thought out. It’s a good tour outfit because it’s built to resist heat (white shirts are great for that). Though it’s not quite dressy enough for an interview (denim skirt, sneakers, and a t-shirt), it definitely presents the image of a put-together teenager.

 

 

 

Tour Outfit:  Khaki Shorts, Sneakers, and Polo Shirt

Tour Outfit:
Khaki Shorts, Sneakers, and Polo Shirt

Perry’s Outfit: Finally an outfit that won’t make you sweat. This outfit is great because it’s casual, but not too casual. Notice how everything fits and nothing has holes? It’s very put-together. Shoes for this outfit are a little rough, but sneakers that aren’t totally destroyed are fine.

What to consider for this outfit:

1. Am I comfortable?

2. Will I sweat?

3. Do I look casual?

4. If I met the dean of admissions, would I feel underdressed?

5. Am I showing too much skin? (Aim for right above the knee and everyone should have their shoulders covered)

The Bottom Line:

Picking out the right outfit can be tricky, but it’s not rocket science. As long as you look conservative and professional there’s no reason not to let your personality shine through.



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the author

Jillian is better known by her pseudonym “CollegeApp Chick", which is half college application blog and half small private college advising business. She’s currently studying Psychology and Religious Studies at a small public school south of the Mason Dixon line. When not advising, studying, or blogging Jillian is an active member of the Shakespeare theatre club, sandbox improv, women’s chorus, and is an officer in a social sorority. She likes to talk, a lot. Most importantly, Jillian wears dresses more than 250 days a year. For more of Jillian’s tips, find her at her website or her Tumblr.

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  1. shoppingultimate on January 10, 2014

    I would wear plain simple clothes that looks like a formal attire. I would wear light colour clothes and comfortable clothes,

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