Working in the Department of Defense does not leave a lot of room for creativity regarding wardrobe. Particularly for interviews, the need to make a first impression is extremely important. Unfortunately this often means wearing a boxy, ill-fitting suit. A few years ago I attended a group interview for a DoD office, and against my mentor’s advice I wore a navy wool Ralph Lauren sheath, black heels, and a cardigan. I set off early in the morning, only to find myself in a room with 30 people at least 10 years older than myself and all in suits. Bad suits. Ill-fitting suits. Even all of the women, sat trying to radiate an air of superiority, wore grey, boxy suits that left them looking like badly clothed robots in the government machine. I thought I did well in the interview, but I was not offered a position. I’ve wondered if not wearing a suit added to my not being hired, or if it made any difference at all. My current boss once told me, “If you’re being interviewed by a 50 year old Colonel for a position, you need to make yourself look exactly like him. Be relatable.” I reject this notion of needing to dress like a man in order to be employed for the government, and I’ve happily worn heels, pencil skirts, and flowy blouses for years. Here, Elle magazine breaks down their recommendations for an interview wardrobe.