BGO interview attire for women

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by mom25, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. mom25

    mom25 Member

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    Hi. My daughter has her BGO interview tomorrow at our home. She's debating between wearing a formal (plain, fitted, charcoal grey) interview dress or going more casual, skirt and top, more the level of church clothes. Also, she has long hair. Is it acceptable to pull it back in a simple low ponytail or should she wear a bun?
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    IMPO, bun not required. Hair clipped or ponied back neatly.

    Which outfit does she feel most comfortable and confident in?

    Which is more easily managed when sitting up straight in a more formal chair? Skirt or dress? Which looks better when sitting?

    Assume skirt and top are not Lilly Pulitzer fruit and flower colors.

    Recommend simple stud or hoop earrings, no danglers.

    She doesn't need to look like she's in her twenties awaiting a Supreme Court clerkship interview.

    Trust the BGOs who will probably answer.
     
  3. Ted&Gladys

    Ted&Gladys Member

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    Great advice from Capt MJ. Couple of additional tips:

    - if your DD wears makeup, encourage her to keep it neutral/nude/unnoticeable
    - wear sensible shoes (they can be stylish, but sensible)
    - probably best to avoid anything too short or tight
    - not a bad time for her to practice sitting appropriately while wearing a dress (our DD's normal seated position needed a little polishing ;))

    This may be the first of many interviews your DD has this year. My own DD wore the same solid, dark blue, knee length, fit-n-flare dress with flats to all interviews associated with SA applications and nominations. She wore neither hose nor makeup; only jewelry was a simple silver necklace; hair in a low ponytail. This worked for her because she was comfortable. I'm sure your DD can pull together a look that works and is comfortable for her. Good luck!
     
  4. mom25

    mom25 Member

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    Fortunately, she doesn't usually wear makeup so that won't be a problem. She also doesn't wear much jewelry, probably because it's too much trouble with sports, etc. Crazy as it sounds, the only thing that concerns me is her height. She's 5'11". She's very comfortable with her height, unlike in my day when women feared seeming unfeminine for being taller some men! That said, when she dresses up (as with the interview dress) she wears heels, plain pumps usually. She also has flats of course but when dressed more formally feels more comfortable in heels. I feel a little guilty saying it but I recommended that she wear flats. I almost feel that I'm betraying all I've taught my daughters about not yielding to traditional gender roles. I'm obviously way over-thinking this! So question is, can a tall woman wear heels (2") to an interview? I won't begin to talk about how hard it is to find a modest length skirt or dress for a tall young woman!
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I'm 5'9" and wore heels when I felt like it, owned every inch. Don't wear 'em so much anymore, but it never bothered me to be taller. BGOs are used to tall/big candidates. Let her choose. I doubt male candidates even think about whatever would be a comparable issue.

    She should be her best and most authentic self - smart, articulate, accomplished, strong, confident - and as tall as she wants to be.

    Do a handshake test run too. No old-school limp fish half-shakes for a future officer of any gender!

    Edit: As one of the veteran/active duty military women on here, we didn't deal with "stuff" just for ourselves, but to lean on doors until they opened, and so a young woman who comes behind us doesn't have to think twice about being tall or wearing heels.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
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  6. Ted&Gladys

    Ted&Gladys Member

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    @mom25 Our DD is 5'10", so I definitely feel your pain when it comes to the challenge of finding "professional" clothes of modest length! Our DD has never felt comfortable in heels; nothing to do with her height, she just doesn't find them physically comfortable. Consequently, she always wears flats. I agree with Capt MJ though, if your DD feels comfortable and confident in those 2" pumps, let her go for it :).

    More importantly, toss her some practice questions. In the end, it won't be so much about what she wears, but what she says and how she says it. Best of luck!!!
     
  7. mom25

    mom25 Member

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    Thank you Capt MJ and Ted&Gladys! I showed my daughter my question and your responses and she nodded and smiled. Everything you said affirmed her feelings on the issue. When will I learn to trust my daughter's instincts? Hopefully before she's a ship's CO! Silly mom.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I texted a 5'11" alumni sponsor daughter who played volleyball at USNA. She said she found her best-fitting "young professional" clothes at:

    J. Crew Tall
    J.C. Penney Tall
    Old Navy Tall
    Long Tall Sally
     
  9. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I typically expect a male candidate to dress in slacks and a button up dress shirt with nice dress shoes. Ties are nice (not required per se) and coats/suits are completely optional. Whatever is the equivalent for females is what your DD should wear (others already mentioned that it should be comfortable and not awkward feeling, as well). What is clearly inappropriate (unless specifically worked out with your BGO due to extenuating circumstances) is jeans, sweat suits, shorts, etc. Appearance is important but there are many more aspects to the interview than dress. If the Superintendent were to walk in during the interview...what would he say about your appearance? If you can answer comfortably then you are probably fine.

    For BGOs, it is fairly obvious when a candidate is dressed appropriately or not.
     
  10. OtB

    OtB Dont Tread On Me & No step on snake either!

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    For discussion… Is there is a recommended dress code for parents?
     
  11. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO Member

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    THIS -----> She should be her best and most authentic....

    I am the last person to provide fashion advice , but the the comment about being authentic is spot on. From both BGO and professional interviewing , I can tell you the most distracting thing is someone who is uncomfortable because they are "dressed up" for the first time. Dress to be authentic, poised and confident. The other thing bit of advice would be that there is no benefit to standing out too much , either over dressed (to formal) or under dressed (to casual). The BGO interview is not a fashion show, and its not a picnic at the beach. It's kinda funny-- as I write this, I am trying to think back to interviews over the years for an example, and I can't remember any female candidates who were over dressed or under dressed for their interview , but have seen male candidates at both extremes. Bottom line, while appearance is important, it will not make or break an interview unless the candidate is too far at either extreme.
     
  12. FFG13

    FFG13 New Member

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    Agree with "Old Navy." As a BGO who has done hundreds of interviews over the years, I feel that the candidate should try to show that he/she feels that the interview is important enough to look their best. Not every student has the luxury of owning a nice sport coat and tie or designer dress - but what I look for is that the candidate has made an effort to look appropriate for the interview. I always wear a blazer and tie - and can get turned off when a candidate shows up in shorts, tee shirt and flip-flops for the interview. (Do you want to go to the beach or USNA???)
    Candidates need not go overboard in dressing up - but make the BGO know that you are committed in every way to earning an appointment.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would add onto that list remove bracelets that have charms to them, such as Alex and Anni or Pandoras. It can be distracting from a noise aspect everytime you move your hands.

    I would also say be honest with yourself regarding what you do when you are nervous, think about when you take a test. My DD will play with her hair if it is down, she just keeps twisting a small strand around her finger without realizing she is even doing it. I myself will play with my necklace. My DIL wears her watch loose and she twists it around her wrist. None of us know we are doing it when we are doing it, but we know we do it. Thus, when we go to interviews we will remove that item. I.E. My DD wears her hair up, so the moment she goes to twist it, it is not there and a big red sign to calm down it is okay. I do not wear any necklaces. My DIL wears nothing on her wrists.
    ~~ You will find that you won't resort to another thing, because now you are conscious of doing it.

    It is very distracting to an interviewer to see you twist an earring, a necklace, etc. because their eyes will follow your hands.

    I 1000% agree. Try on the outfit a week out from the interview, and that includes sitting in the outfit. If you wait until the night before and have a morning interview, what will you do if?
    1. You notice a stain on it because you have not worn it for 6 months?
    2. What if the skirt hikes up to high when you sit?
    ~ Now it is 9 p.m. stores don't open until 10 and your interview is scheduled at 10:30

    Trying on a week before gives you time to hit the dry cleaners or purchase something new.
    ~ I know you think I am joking, but trust me, every year there is a girl or guy that posts the night before the interview "I planned on wearing this outfit, but when I took it out today, the pants don't fit, my dress shoes are too small, etc, now what do I do, my back up outfit is this... Is this okay?"
     
  14. mom25

    mom25 Member

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    I want to (belatedly) thank you for your suggestions. She found the perfect interview dress for her congressional interviews at Long Tall Sally. We had never heard of it before so thank you!!
     
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  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    SAF Fashion Advice, a little-known service.
     
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  16. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I can't speak for every BGO but I am not conducting inspection. I expect the candidate to be dressed in a way that demonstrates he/she considers this interview an important event in the day. How that is manifested in dress will depend somewhat on the community in which the person lives. The ONLY 2 times in 15 years that I have ever considered dress to be inappropriate was the candidate who wore torn shorts, a ratty T-shirt and a ball cap and the candidate who wore (smelly) gym gear.

    So, don't stress too much. A general rule of thumb is clothing you'd wear to a funeral, just not necessarily black. Not joking or trying to be macabre. Church attire can be super casual for some religions/churches. Weddings imply cocktail dresses and suits. Most people try to look nice for a funeral. Think of the type of dress/clothing you'd wear (not the color).
     
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