Friday, 13 June 2014

Goth Fashion and Job Interviews: My tips!

Job hunting is tough. Like really really tough. Although there are more jobs becoming available over here in Ireland there is also a lot of competition for those positions. With many entry level jobs requiring 2+ years of experience it makes things challenging and you definitely don't want anything within your control to count against you, right?

I am a recently qualified personal trainer in the market for a job. I am also a goth. I love black spikey things with holes in them and too much eyeliner. When was the last time you saw a personal trainer with a giant bat on the back of their polo t shirt? (note to self: make bat polo shirt happen)

In an ideal world what you look like wouldn't matter but realistically speaking there are times when paying the bills and keeping your car on the road has to take priority over one's image (unless you work in a creative job or are otherwise allowed to dress as you please for work, of course)

However I don't think that means you have to sacrifice your personality to the corporate machine altogether, I think a lot of alternative people have probably found themselves in the position of wearing something so normal to an interview that they lost their confidence.  What follows are some tips which I have found to be useful!

Yes goth girl from I also make that face when job hunting.

  • Isolate those themes in your wardrobe that are strong signifiers of your own style and translate those trends into a professional look. Think really far outside the box on this one! I have always loved combining super sleek items with distressed things, ripped tights ad platform boots with a cute fitted blouse for example. Taking that blouse and putting it with something more professional ensures that I am still wearing 'me' things to an interview. 
  • If you have to purchase something new then try and find items that can fit into your style. I bought a blazer to go with an interview outfit recently and I will definitely wear that blazer again. Blazers are a goth staple and usually not too expensive. Hold off on sewing patches and things to it and it becomes a little more multi functional. Band shirt, shorts, ripped tights and a blazer? Perfect!
  • Think simple. If your style is very elaborate or very full on remember that in the job hunting world these approaches may not work. Get back to the basics instead. Dress pants/suit pants whatever they are called (we just call them work pants over here usually) are great and they usually come in black or grey. Perfect. You can go for skirts either. Next think blouse or shirt and don't be afraid of colour. White shirts are very gothable after the interview is over for example. Deeper colours may be a good option too, say plum or even something pinstriped. Next consider a blazer or a waistcoat to add tailoring. I already mentioned blazers but waistcoats are a great addition to ones alternative wardrobe too! 

  • Accessories can be a fun way to make an outfit more you. If you have a colourful or subtly printed neck scarf then that could work well tied into the collar of a shirt as long as it isn't too overpowering. An all black outfit could benefit from a plum or even cream neck tie in the collar of a shirt or blouse.
  • Give your nails a coat of clear nail varnish. Even though its as plain as you can get, that extra bit of preparation adds to the look. Nude is great too if you have a nude shade. 
  • As for jewellry? This can be a great opportunity to show a little bit of personality. Now I wouldn't go wearing massive ankhs to an interview but if you had any simple delicate jewellery then this could be the time to wear it. A silver chain with a small black jewel could work or maybe you own some earrings in the colour of your birthstone for example? Small little cat earrings (depending on how formal the interview situation is) and a simple silver bracelet could be a nice combination too. If you are wearing something with a high neck then you could always wear any gothy necklace of your choice without the interviewer having to see it. You'll know its there though and that can help! 
Hilariously cheesy stock photo ;)
  • Piercings.Well for starters if you can remove your piercings then I would suggest doing that. I actually hate having to do this but an employer may not bother to ask you during an interview if you would take them out for the job, they may just assume you won't. Your image conveys a message during that short interview time, convey the right one! If you can't take them out without them closing then perhaps wear your hair down to conceal ones in your  ears. If you have facial ones then you may get away with taking them out directly before the interview and popping them back in straight away afterwards. You can make a more permanent decision if faced with a job offer but if you can save your piercings at all for an interview then I would do it.  I lost a piercing to a job interview and when I realised I wasn't getting the job I was kicking myself for not taking the extra few seconds to take care of my piercing afterwards. If you really can't do this then you may need to be honest and make a decision over your body mods and work so think long and hard. You could always replace lost ones with something like a septum which is easily hidden. 
  • I don't have tattoos so I can't speak from experience but I would say honestly conceal what you can if possible! This may be tricky if is too hot for long sleeves where you live but if this is the case then I would make an extra special  attempt at a professional image for the interview. Also Try google to see what the company's guidelines are with tattoos and piercings, this can be quite useful. 
  • Hair! Hair is in my opinion the make or break of an interview outfit. I love the sock bun as it is simple and elegant. When I had my short Betty Paige fringe I used a combination of hair wax, styling gel and hairspray to keep it back and I secured it with a plain patent black hairband and it ended up looking very sleek and well put together. I have curly hair which can be unruly so I usually opt for wearing it off my face in some way. Wear your hair down if you like but make sure it is smooth and as silky as possible. Whilst frizz ain't your fault and is often uncontrollable it doesn't look the best so if you are in doubt then wear it up! You can also look to Kitty from Sophistiquenoir for amazing inspiration on beautiful elegant updos! 

Ignoring the headset this hair and makeup combo are very interview friendly
I think. This was also a hard post to get images for as you can probably
  • Shoes. Again keep it simple. I think every goth has occasion for a pair of plain black ballet flats in their wardrobe. They are very handy to have around and you never know when you may need them! Keep them in your bag the next time you are wearing huge heels on a night out or even just throw them on to head around the corner to the shop. They look pretty and neat with some tights for a job interview or poking out from some suit pants. They are also fairly cheap.
  • Bags. If you can get away without a bag then go for it as they can be annoying but if you are alone then I would opt for something small and neat. Here I would go for black or maybe a nude colour but go with your instincts on that. I have a small over the shoulder black bag which looks nice and simple with interview outfits. It was 4 euro in Penneys. Can't go wrong!
  • The most important thing to remember is your attitude. It can seem stupid to friends and family when you are unhappy with having to tone down your look for an interview, they think its a phase and not an important part of who you are etc. Ignore them because they just don't get it and probably won't. Image is a reflection of self and changing that to please someone else isn't fun but try and look to the positives. Remember that this doesn't change who you are and that you can dress as you please when you are home. Remind yourself that you are being intelligent by understanding how competitive the job market is and presenting yourself accordingly. Its not lying or selling out, it is simply good survival tactics.
  • Do not forget your MP3 player or CD if you are driving. Listen to YOUR music before and after. Very very important tip!!

I love blasting this song when I drive anywhere. 

I would also add that if you are handing out CV's then the tips above still apply. A lot of people put no effort into their appearance whilst they are out and about visiting shops thinking that the interview is the time to look professional. Set yourself apart, look the part at all times!

Anyway I hope this helps and that you found it interesting in some way!

What about you guys? Any thoughts on points I've mentioned? Maybe you think I've forgotten something? Or maybe you have your own job hunting story you'd like to share?

This is a big topic for me at the minute so I would love to hear your thoughts!



Jade said...

I think these are indeed great tips. It all comes down to "tuning yourself down (a bit)". :) Appearance and style are a really big part of goth subculture, that's one of the reasons I love it so much, but I think it's a problem if one can not go out of the house without putting extreme outfit every time. I do not want to sound harsh but to me that looks like somebody's identity (which should come from the inside of a person)is only based on the outside. Of coarse you must have the possibility to express something of your persona and style in the way you dress at the workplace, otherwise you might get symptoms of depression. I know I've had when I was working in a place I could not be myself at all.

The Irish Phantom Cat said...

I love your point about people not being able to leave the house without huge effort in their appearance! Its so true! Also yeah I have had that experience too when you work somewhere where you cant be yourself! I'm glad you enjoyed my (long) post! Thank you for commenting and reading!

The Irish Phantom Cat said...

Also I love your hair Jade, gorgeous colour!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have a Depeche Mode question. What kind of music do they make? The first song of theirs I listened to was Just Can't Get Enough, and I assumed their songs were all like that, but from what I've read, their other songs are apparently very different.

The Irish Phantom Cat said...

Hey anon! They are usually just classified as electronic from what I can tell. Maybe synthpop and new wave also but I think most people can agree that their sound somewhat defies genre labels. They so have some very very different songs, I honestly love some of them and can't stand some other ones! Electronic is a nice broad term for them!Hope that helps!