he summer months are a wonderful period in which to relax, take some time off from work or school and explore the outdoors. If you're going in for a job interview, however, the heat might put you in an unpleasantly sticky situation.
But there's no reason to sweat it. If you're trying to strike the right balance between the need to dress professionally and trying to stay cool, here are six wardrobe tips to help you feel comfortable and be confident in your summer job interview.
Seek Out Linen
Linen suits have long been a wardrobe staple for men in the American South, and with good reason: This fabric is lightweight and breathable. Because its fibers come from the stalks of flax plants, it's not only absorbent but also generally less "clingy" than other fabrics. For men and women, lightweight linen remains an excellent choice of fabric for a wide range of clothing in professional settings, from suits to blouses and trousers.
Keep Cool in Cotton
High-quality, lightweight cotton—as long as it doesn't have a synthetic base, like polyester—remains one of the most breathable fabrics around. That means it helps with airflow and drying damp areas. And since cotton is a natural fiber, clothing made of cotton absorbs moisture rather than repelling it. After linen, cotton should be your go-to fabric.
Explore Clothing With Vents
Vents, panels and openings increase the breathability of clothing and help keep you cool. For men, there are professionally appropriate shirts on the market today that have discreet vents and panels on the sides to release body heat from the lower back. For women, consider forgoing the traditional jacket when it gets exceptionally hot, and instead go for a silk button-down shirt paired with a knee-length skirt—still a business-appropriate look, albeit with some much-needed ventilation.
Select Your Colors Strategically
The color of a bird's plumage directly impacts its body temperature, and so it is with us and our clothing. When the temperatures soar, there's an argument to be made for dark colors like navy, charcoal and black. Not only are these colors always safe for business settings, but they can also effectively conceal sweat. If it's a scorcher and you're concerned that sweat is going to be a factor, dark colors may be in order.
Look for Unlined or Half-Lined Jackets
It's always a safe bet to show up slightly more formally dressed than is required when you're interviewing for a new job. For many candidates, men and women alike, that entails wearing a jacket. The downside of that, of course, is adding another exterior layer to your body on a balmy summer day.
If you're going to wear a jacket, look for one that's either unlined or half-lined, allowing for more ventilation and better overall coolness than the bulkier, fully lined traditional alternative. You'll sacrifice some of the jacket's structure, but it's more important that you're comfortable so you can focus on the interview.
Try Out New, Sweat-Fighting Undershirts
Cutting-edge wearables aren't the only way that new technologies are making a big impact on fashion. There are a number of new "sweat-proof" undershirts on the market that use state-of-the-art fabrics, together with new designs, to help keep you cool and feeling comfortable and confident. Bear in mind that most of these undershirts don't actually prevent you from sweating; rather, they prevent the sweat generated by your body from reaching your outer clothing. Breathable fabrics work best—but you should read reviews online from other customers, and check out the fine print of the materials, before you buy.
That's it—follow these tips and you'll be calm, poised and ready to go. And be sure to brush up on our guidance for first-round interviews. We're committed to supporting candidates at every stage of the hiring process, from initial exploration through the interview and your first day. If you're ready to join us, check out all of the opportunities to do so today.