Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What Not to Wear- Job Interview Edition - Part IV - Women's Accessories and Grooming

Women are lucky to have far more freedom than men when it comes to expressing ourselves through our appearance. Unfortunately, too many women abuse this freedom and do things like this to their faces and hair:


When preparing for a job interview, your mantra should be "less is more". You want your appearance to compliment, not overwhelm, your personality and qualifications in the mind of the interviewer. Don't let them remember you as the girl with crazy eyeliner or stripper shoes.

Grooming tips:

Your makeup should be SUBTLE. Many women are confused by this idea. It means that it should not look as though you have makeup on, just that your features are enhanced by a little bit of color and your flaws are concealed.

Clear skin, a little color on the cheeks and lips, some definition of the eyes (in light colors with only a tiny bit of eyeliner), nothing else.

If you don't ever wear makeup, don't feel like you have to wear it for an interview. Just make sure that your skin is matte (see "We All Shine On" post below) and that you've covered up any blemishes with a little concealer. Blemishes and skin redness will make you look younger and less attractive.

Your hair should be out of your face so that it doesn't fly around when you're speaking or walking. If your hair is short, wear it down, if it's longer, pull half of it back and bobby pin it behind your head, or wear it in a low ponytail. High ponytails scream "high school cheerleader". Avoid this.

Cut your nails short and only use clear or light pink nail polish on finger and toenails. If you're wearing open-toed shoes, get a pedicure. If you have long acrylic nails, get rid of them, they're trashy.

To reiterate what I said about fragrances for men, I think it's best not to wear perfume or strongly scented lotions to an interview. If you absolutely cannot live without a fragrance on your body, wear something light and floral that won't be noticable to anyone more than 4 feet away from you.

Rules for Accessorizing:

ALWAYS wear hose to an interview, or any business situation. There was a period in the 90's when women stopped following this rule, but hosiery is back in style and is absolutely necessary to wear year round in these situations. Choose a color that closely matches your skin so that if you get runs they won't be as noticable. Don't wear anything with a texture or pattern, those are for casual outfits.

When choosing shoes, it's always better to err on the side of sensible than fashionable. Wear pumps, slingbacks or flats that are under 3 inches, even if you are very short. Don't wear a stiletto or wedge heel, even if they are in style. Pick a pair that match your suit and are fairly simple- avoid pairs with bold patterns and large bows, buckles or buttons. Make sure the shoe fits well and won't give you blisters or hurt your feet- wear them at least one full day before you wear them to the interview.

Bring a purse or a briefcase large enough to hold a portfolio. You don't need both- one or the other is fine. Choose something leather and expensive-looking. Don't bring a trendy bag or anything with a ton of hardware.

If you wear jewelry, limit yourself. Choose small pieces: no dangly earrings, long necklaces, multiple rings, pendants or charm bracelets. If you jingle when you move you have on too much. Only wear metal jewelry (gold, silver, etc) as anything else will look cheap. If you have multiple piercings in your ears (or other places on your body), take out them out, at least for the interview.

In closing, I'd like to quote the great Coco Chanel, who said, "a woman should always take one item off before leaving the house." Even the best suit can be ruined by overdone hair, makeup and accessories, so only wear the essentials!


Tinny said...

Wouldn't a simple pearl set (studs, necklace, and bracelet) also be appropriate?

Meg said...

Yup, I agree. I love pearls.