Two days after the removal of teeth 1,16,17,and 32, I am on the mend, although I look like I have been storing food away in my cheek pockets for a long winter. I won’t lie. Night two is more painful than night one. No joke. So what’s a gal to do in the middle of the night when up with an achy jaw? If you’re me, you watch Jackass 3D and answer emails.
Here we go!!!
Dear Dr. Isis,
Oh benevolent Goddess of Shoes and Awesome Science, I have a question relating to both!
I was recently invited to interview at my top choice graduate school in pursuit of a PhD in Neuroscience. Not only has this triggered the standard feelings of overwhelming excitement and crushing insecurity but it’s also made me realize something else: I don’t have any appropriate shoes to wear!
See, most of my shoes look like this:
(Guess Opast in Gold and Black)
My most business-y looking shoes are 4 inches with a peep-toe and painted sole. None of them are <3 inches except for the shoes I wear to the lab, which look something more like this:
(representation of my awful old shoes)
The interview is across the country and over a period of a couple of days, and I have a feeling that my 3-5 inch stilettos would be a risky choice professionally and practically. How high is too high for a grad school interview? Should I simply find an acceptable pair of flats? I’ve read in some places that colorful clothing is a no-no, does this also hold true for shoes? For the more informal events (like the student party) should I still stick to more subdued footwear?
Help me Dr. Isis; you’re my only hope!
Shoe Loving (future) Neuroscientist
Before we continue, I’ll note that I’ve given advice on interview dress before and my guidelines are easy: clean, neat, and classic. Inevitably some dude will show up in the comments to tell us about how hole-y jeans, tennis shoes, and geek t-shirts are totally appropriate interview attire in his field. Congratu-fucking-lations. My general rule is that it is always better to be cleanly dressed in classically understated attire than to show up and realized you’re under-dressed. Being in a med school, I see under-dressed a lot and it is always awkward.
Our dear friend SLN is right – that first pair, although totally hot, is probably not interview appropriate. That second pair isn’t appropriate for anything. Not even a mud run. However, upon further reflection, I would like to see someone do a mud run in the first pair. That would be amazing. If one of you would volunteer, that would please me greatly.
[Here we pause for an intermission. Steve-O just drank some dude's ass sweat and I am laughing so hard I can't handle it. That man has an amazing capacity to puke. And now they're getting kicked in the nuts by a donkey and blowing noise makers with their asses. I may even have just seen full frontal nudity. My sore mouth cannot handle the laughter. Now you know my dirty secret. I can be a totally serious scientist. Honest. But I have a weakness for two solid hours of dudes getting kicked in the nuts. But back to the question.]
So, what shoes are appropriate for an interview? Hotness is a necessity, but comfort is a priority. For me, a day in flats with minimal support would be uncomfortable. During the week I alternate between heels and glittery Danskos for days when I have clinical-type things to attend to. I love a hot shoe, but my hot shoe needs good support when I have a lot of walking and standing to do. I think for a day of interviews, a shoe with a thick (NOT clunky) heel is full of win. These are super cute:
Figure 1: Naturalizer’s Collette Pump. $79.00 at Zappos.
I like Naturalizer. Their leather is super soft and they’ve come a long way from their matronly designs of yester-year. These are a reasonable 3″ heel and the detailing on the front is adorable. Don’t go higher than 3″. You’ll hate yourself. Always wear them for a day before you go interviewing. That’s not the day for a blister.
As far as color, I think you can wear color to an interview if you limit it to one item. And probably not the shoes. I really, really like jewel tones time of year. They always seem to add a clean line and they’re a color that can be easy pulled off without being noticeably loud. Like these sweaters with black or dark grey trousers:
Figures 2&3: Shirred front and kimono sleeved sweaters. $40-$60 from The Limited. Both styles are available in several colors.
Paired with simple metallic jewelry (not the bracelet in the 2nd picture) both would be fabulous choices.
For a social gathering afterwards? I am a big fan of simple black boots and dark wash denim these days. A pair of comfortable, black boots is a great investment. I wear mine often. I also think dark wash denim always looks classy and it’s fashionable without being overly dressy. Pair them with something like this:
Figures 4, 5, &6. Drape Neck Blouse in Rumba Red and Black Cardigan. $20-$26 from Maurices. I won’t lie that I may have bought that blouse while fashion surfing around the interwebz. Hanging Filigree Earrings. $7.97 at Charming Charlie.
Now, put your insecurity in the pocket of your big girl pants and get to it. You’ll be fine and remember that they wouldn’t have offered an interview if they didn’t want to meet you. Good luck!