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Creating a chic interview style

Lux-looking shoes, a sleek purse and great separates can make you look good at an interview.
Lux-looking shoes, a sleek purse and great separates can make you look good at an interview.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Experts tell job seekers they should look their best at interviews
  • Ann Taylor fashion chief Separates perfectly acceptable-- more versatile than suit
  • Isaac Mizrahi: Classic suit with modern details like fitted tailoring, three-quarter sleeves
  • J. Crew design director: Punch up your look with a sleek, colorful bag

(InStyle.com) -- Try separates

"The way today's working woman dresses is much more relaxed," says Ann Taylor fashion director Kristin Rawson, who stresses that separates are perfectly acceptable--and often more versatile than a suit -- for an interview.

Choose classic shapes like a pencil skirt and a cardigan or blazer, and add interest to the look with a leather belt, statement necklace or printed blouse.

Shop your jewelry box

Before hitting the stores, sift through your jewelry box--that piece you've forgotten about from years ago may be the perfect personal accent to your outfit.

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"The important thing with jewelry, real or fake, is that it doesn't look cheap, or garish," says J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons. She suggests "wearing multiple strands of similar or unmatched necklaces together" for a sophisticated-yet-modern look.

Wear luxe-looking shoes

"Shoes and bags are generally where you do want to spend money, but there are many affordable options that look quite expensive," says InStyle fashion director Cindy Weber Cleary. Specifically, shoes made of stamped leather that resemble croc or lizard in neutral colors are sure-fire luxe-looking choices.

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Look for modern details when buying a suit

"It's not that a suit is more appropriate [than separates]," says Liz Claiborne New York creative director Isaac Mizrahi, "it's just so easy to wear two matching pieces."

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To make a lasting impression, look for a classic suit with modern details like fitted tailoring, three-quarter sleeves, and Mizrahi's favorite, "strong shoulders."

Punch up your look with a sleek, colorful bag

While neutrals always look great, J. Crew design director Tom Mora says carrying a bag in a great color is a fun and inexpensive way to update your look. Just make sure it's on the small and structured side. "Generally oversize bags can overwhelm the wearer and give her a sloppy appearance," says Mora.

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