Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:December 16th, 2006 06:08 EST
Send in the Jeans: When Casual Chic is Just Jeans

Send in the Jeans: When Casual Chic is Just Jeans


Can anyone really perfect the art form of turning dressing down " to dressing up "? The creators and owners of Juicy Couture may suggest otherwise, with their relaxed line of lose-fitting jammie-like pants and zipper-down hoodies pricing all the way up to the $200+ range. But no matter what the label reads (or the sleeve); you still cannot wear lounge wear to a job interview.

Or can you?

Depending on the job, interviewers may demand the classical suit-and-tie look, or be as lax enough to look the other way when a prospective employee comes in with a hoodie and a pair of well-fitted jeans. Some argue that a nice pair of jeans (think Seven for All Mankind-esque) can enhance any wardrobe style enough to be worn in even the most pivotal of events. Others insist that while recent trends have been throwing the couture jeans look out in spades, they still represent a blasé attitude that simply doesn`t belong in a work setting. Better leave those hefty name (and price) tags to the clubs, employers are suggesting.

So, as typical with any career conquest, one is left to wield their better judgment and go out into the job-seeking world armed with...jeans? Excuse me, but perhaps America`s struggling unemployment rates are due to our seemingly inability to down a proper outfit. Or do you honestly think that by flashing a readable label stamped on your backside to show you own something as precious and common as the ever-lasting jean will sparkle and intimidate as much as a polished resume? As impressive as all this may be at Pig `N` Chips on Ladies` Night, to an employer you simply have given up.

At one point in history, dressing for success meant always appearing in slacks and tie. These days, appearance depends on the job in question. If the job interview is your basic coffee shop or even fast food stop, sometimes your most casual look is still okay. If you`re in your twenties and applying for such jobs, feel free to down your favorite jeans and some spankin` shoes to match. Never, ever wear sneakers to a job interview. In fact, most shoes that have so much as a lace on them are unacceptable in an interview.

Employers understand you are coming to them in need of a job; it`s almost assumed that you may not have the excess of cash on your nightstand to scurry out and buy a whole new wardrobe simply for the possibility of getting a job. The other side of this coin? Major corporate marketplaces are looking to target a more specific audience these days. Even your local hospitals have upped the competition by targeting customer service expectations. Walk in looking like you are one of those who truly care about getting that particular job. While I hate to say that appearances matter, stepping away from your high-end clubbing gear and into a nice pair of slacks may be the saving grace you need to show the employer this isn`t just another interview. Otherwise, you run the risk of portraying the more popular image: I`m just here for the moolah. "

Even if this may be the case, in a nation with booming standards and an even lower employment rate, competition is fierce. The employees who will or can do it all " thus, the ones who will create the most return for the company`s investment (your salary) " are the happy ones. If you`re excited about your job, chances are greater what you do will make you happy, will make you work. It`s amazing, but the little extra effort you put into your appearance can be the bow on the recycled wrapping paper.

Keep in mind, you are just one of many many resumes employers look at in a day. If you have a chance to actually talk face-to-face with these people, don`t blow it by risking the jean scene. If everyone in the waiting room has on Rock & Republic and you`re the only one with the navy slacks, it just makes you that much more memorable.

That is not to say that a well-downed cas. applicant can`t get a job. Minimum wage to high-earning jobs all have one thing in common. Break your way into the interviewer`s heart by targeting their specific workplace. Observe the kind of clients they hinder to, as well as what the other employees are wearing. Uniform? Suits? Do they partake in Casual Friday? Take a few visual notes on what kind of office it is; this will also give you an idea of how management runs their ship. If all the employees down a simple black shirt and jeans, it might be appreciated if you show up at the interview in similar garb.

Moral of the story? If you look the part, it`s easier for the employer to imagine you in the part.