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8 Job Interview Fashion Blunders

8 Job Interview Fashion Blunders

Carole Martin | monster.com

December 26, 2008

Any article about what to wear to an interview might well begin with a qualifying statement covering the extremes in various states (New York and California, for example) and industries (technology, manufacturing), which are possible exceptions to the normal rules of fashion. But it might surprise you to learn that those extremes have, over the last couple of years, begun to move closer to the middle ground.

Nowadays, if you were to ask 100 people their opinion about what to wear to an interview, the majority would answer, “Dress on the conservative side.” With that in mind, here are some suggestions on how to avoid fashion blunders.

Anna Soo Wildermuth, an image consultant and past president of the Association of Image Consultants International, says, “Clothes should be a part of who you are and should not be noticed.” She cites eight dressing faux pas to avoid when interview time comes around:

• Wild Nail Polish: This tip is for women. Extremely long or uncut nails are a real turnoff, too. Your nails should be groomed and neat.

• Jewelry That Jangles: Don’t wear more than two rings per hand or one earring per ear. And no face jewelry or ankle bracelets allowed.

• Open-Toed or Backless Shoes: And mules are a definite no-no. Out-of-date shoes should be thrown out or kept for other occasions.

• Bare Legs: Wear stockings, even in humid summer weather. Stockings can be in neutral colors or a fashion color to match your shoes.

Short Skirts: Hemlines should not be more than three inches above the knee. Don’t wear capri pants or leggings to the interview.

• Leather Jackets: Even leather blazers are not good for interviewing purposes. They look like outerwear.

Printed or Trendy Handbags: Purses should be conservative and inconspicuous.

Red Briefcases: Briefcases, purses and shoes should all be conservative in color and in good condition.

Conservative colors in various shades of blue and gray are best. Wearing black to the interview could be viewed as too serious. If you do wear black, make sure that there is another color near your face to soften the look. Brown is still considered questionable as a business color and probably should be avoided. Change your outfit’s look for a second interview by wearing a different color blouse, shirt, scarf or tie.

An interview is not the place to make a fashion statement, though those in the art fields and the very famous can be more adventurous. Everyone else should opt for a conservative look. “More and more companies are returning to traditional professional dress,” says Wildermuth.

Whatever you wear should accent the fact that you’re a professional who’s ready to get to work at a new job. Let common sense guide you, and it should be easy to avoid fashion blunders that could damage your chances of getting to the next level in the process. In this market, it is essential that you look good and your appearance is right for the job.

Related Reads:
Ace the 10 Most Common Interview Questions
10 Essentials Every Woman Should Have in Her Closet


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    RondaA

    almost 5 years ago

    8 comments

    Mostly good advice but no one outfit or style works for every setting. I'm an Engineer who has worked in heavy manufacturing for 20+ yrs and the most important reminder is to dress appropriately for the work setting. During a tour of a Shipyard for example, wearing a pants suit is definitely more appropriate than a skirt. If in doubt, you should inquire as to what is appropriate especially if you will be touring the facility.
    I also agree with several comments that you shouldn't be judged on your style during an interview (I have "long-ish", well groomed nails and wear jewelry) but unfortunately, first impressions are difficult to overcome. The good news is - alot of times, how you conduct the interview (and yourself AFTER you get the job!) overrides any first impressions concerns of many interviewers! Having nails has never impeded my ability to do my job including in a Naval Shipyard where I had to climb up 50+foot vertical ladders through holes from the floor of a dry dock to the flight deck of an aircraft carrier!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ShellyM

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I was always told that you should wear the right colors for your skin tone. I have a very yellow undertone (like a darker Jennifer Aniston). I look horrific in Red, Grey washes me out, Navy look all wrong. The only option I have is Black. I hope I don't get disqualified for making sure I'm wearing the right color for my skin tone.

  • Red_dress_max50

    donnapread

    over 5 years ago

    4 comments

    Ladies for years I was on the other side of the desk - conducting the interveiws. You would be surprised by what people wear to interveiws. Sandals, piercings, tatoos are all a matter of self-expression but they do turn interviewers right off. You want to convey the impression that this interview is the most important thing to you not something that you threw yourself together to come to.
    Now being the one interveiwed I try & keep in mind all the things that turned me off to a potential candidate. On the matter of carrying a purse - I don't carry one into the interveiw - one less thing to fumble with when entering/leaving the interveiw. I do carry a professional looking portfolio with copies of my resume and paper in case I want to take notes.

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    BrookeG

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Ladies I need your help. I have a second interview at a bank which also requires a medical exam after the interview. I hate having to wear heels and hose for this interview given that I have to remove all my clothes for the physical exam. Any suggestions on what I can wear?? Help.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Raquelle

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I must say, I don't see how open shoes, wearing pantyhose's, and most of all the color of your brief case or purse should have any impact on how you are perceived in an interview...as long as it is all tasteful. I see this very things as the one place you can truly distinguish yourself today and show uniqueness and originality, not boring conservatism. Perhaps things are perceived differently in the US, since I am from Canada.

    As far as I have seen, and I am currently interviewing a lot for a new job, the workplace has gone way to casual, and I wish it would come back to some sense of smart and professional work-wear, leaving room for personal expression in accessories, as long as they are always tasteful and work appropriate.

  • Kareena-kapoor2_max50

    fatimah

    almost 6 years ago

    88 comments

    Great article! However i agree with kat_cagle purse shouldn't be affecting your job interview.

  • 0428080805a_1__max50

    kat_cagle

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I don't see how your purse can affect your job interview-it's your job skills that should matter-not what purse you carry day to day. If I got turned down a job for the purse I carry then I wouldn't want that job anyways!

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    theinsurancegirl

    almost 6 years ago

    6 comments

    I hate pantyhose..... :(

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    Account Removed

    almost 6 years ago

    No slingbacks?? Hmm...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    marketeer101

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    While tips like this are always appreciated, every field and work environment is different. Its important to keep in mind that there are plenty of jobs where being fashion forward is appreciated, and to heir too strongly on the conservative side can make you stand out, but not in a good way.

    Also, it is important not to project your own personal opinions on tattoos on a board like this - we are here to help each other, not judge each other.

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    peacebe

    almost 6 years ago

    86 comments

    Great article. Nice reminders.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    sharikorday27

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    my interview is with a daycare, what should i wear?

  • Ycadi8mnfca4cwsj1ca3zi67ocabp2ab9cauojme0ca0ffpg5ca7hk6vuca0t5m14cawu18f4cagr2wgycagp8eryca8oyq8ecav18xh6ca6k4tblcad8ffwyca15x3dqca2tbllcca9bui8jcardrjm9_max50

    nyloe

    almost 6 years ago

    116 comments

    Great article. I used to teach an image workshop and these were at the top of the "Don't Wear This" list.

    More interviw fashion mistakes:

    Wearing skirts that have splits that go higher than your knee; too-long skirts (can look matronly); anything see-through; blouses or shirts that show too much cleavage; sleeveless dresses without jackets (looks too casual); sneakers and other casual shoes; tattoos; gold teeth; clothes that aare too tight or too loose; anything that doesn't look right for your age or size; denim

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    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    I've been told by my job service here, that you arn't supposed to carry a purse. Any thoughts?

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    tnm

    about 6 years ago

    12 comments

    I can't believe that you have to explain this to people.

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