Again and again we hear that even in a dismal market Houston is the place to land a job. Right at this moment, we're pretty sure, someone downtown is expertly BSing about something she learned in a moment of failure. But wait--what is she wearing? Torn jeans? The same black pencil skirt as every woman in the office? We're here to help. 

Traditional wisdom dictates that you suit up and ship out (think Hillary Clinton pastel pantsuit), but you have to be remembered if you want to be called back (think Lady Gaga's hats.) How can you be unique and professional without resorting to either extreme?

Creatives

Do: Pay Attention to Color
Demonstrating you know how colors work together shows you know your market when aiming for a career in ad agencies, design firms and other creative fields (especially important if you’re applying for a design position). Try a sophisticated tone-on-tone look or curate a personal palette and show you know your color harmony.

A well done tone-on-tone outfit (photo by Richard Bernardin).

Don’t: Destroyed Denim
This should go without saying: even in the most creative, causal, and laid-back of offices, jeans (ripped or otherwise) in a job interview are not okay. While you may be aiming for a “Clothes aren’t my thing, but I do great work” vibe, what you’re actually projecting is “I care very little about this.”

No. No. No. No. . None of this business if you want to land your dream job.

Corporate and Legal Career Seekers

Do: Buttoned Up Basics
A well-fitting suit strikes that elusive balance between stylesetter and seasoned professional. A fit-flattering, neutral set that includes a jacket, pants and a skirt is the most flexible—those three pieces can be mixed and matched multiple ways with other items in your wardrobe. For the interview, make yourself memorable with an of-the-moment printed silk top under your jacket and some killer wide-heeled pumps.

All available via Polyvore.

Don’t: Channel Annie Hall
Menswear is a classic trend, but know that if you opt for wider-than-wide-leg pants and a boyish tie, you might come off as costumey. 

Everything In-Between

Do: Look Classically Classy

If you’re not quite clear on the culture of the office where you’re applying, aim for something classic with a twist. Try a suit jacket with a jewel-toned pair of slacks and bold heels, or pair a day dress with tights, flats and a blazer for a polished look that shows your personality. 

All available via Polyvore.

Don’t: Be Someone Else
As inspired as you are by that one friend who can wear pants as a sweater and rock that look from here to Beaumont, if your jam is more understated elegance than avant-garde, this is not the time for a personal style revolution. You’ll feel more comfortable, not to mention confident, if you put your best foot forward and not someone else’s.

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