Susan is a finalist for a new position at work and has all-day interviews this week. When her sister “J” in LA asked what she planned to wear, Susan emailed this description of her tentative wardrobe:
I was planning to wear black gaucho pants with a pink long-sleeved t shirt under a black cardigan sweater with embroidered, beaded flowers on the front left with lacey knee-high gray stockings and my flat Mary Janes. Really, it’s better than it sounds and I’ve been complimented on it; it’s very comfortable (I’ll be walking between buildings and out to lunch). I’ll also try on more sophisticated outfits – my black gaucho pants with a top and this beautiful black, red and pink wrap that Marta gave me from Africa, black stockings and my Franco Sarto short boots.
As a resident of Southern California, J is automatically an expert on clothing, shoes, and accessories (among other things). Considering that Susan would wear flannel pajama bottoms and a hooded sweatshirt anywhere if she could, it’s a good thing we have an in-house expert to advise us when fashion becomes more consequential.
When J read Susan’s plans, she fired back a response with admonitions like, “You CANNOT wear to an interview anything described below, except for the boots with pant suit slacks.”
Susan’s other sister “S” was equally alarmed by Susan’s willingness to plunge headlong into fashion never-never land. S phoned J and urged her to call Susan, which she did. After reiterating her emailed advice, J said she was checking flight schedules in case she needed to fly up for a face-to-face intervention. J made Susan promise that she would go to either Nordstrom or Ann Taylor; she had already sent Susan a coupon for 25% off at Ann Taylor.
Susan got the message that she was not to wear a t-shirt, dangly earrings, necklaces or bracelets, and that she was to “dress for success,” not like she was 12 years old. J’s final word of advice: “Get in the Jesus boat looking good!”
Susan went to Ann Taylor, called J from the dressing room for some last-minute consultation about her options, and came home with a beautiful top. Even better, it was on sale. And she received the 25% discount. And she got a free bottle of lotion. She came through this fashion intervention with flying colors; I expect she’ll be at least as dazzling in her interviews.