On the Red Carpet and on an Interview, What You Wear Counts

interviewEvery year after the big celebrity awards shows, the pundits weigh in on the best and worst dressed of the evening and Sunday night's Oscars was no exception. Many of the popular style columns and blogs are already "dissing" Charlize Theron's breast petals, Robert Downey Jr's blue bow tie and sneakers, Diane Kruger's old fashioned gown, and Jennifer Lopez's futuristic frock. And while an interview isn't quite the same as a walk down the red carpet, hiring authorities are paying attention to what people wear to job interviews. Here are some of the biggest fashion mistakes I see job seekers make.


  • Long fingernails with bright or distracting nail polish. Nails should be clipped short and it is generally recommended that you wear clear or light polish on job interviews.

  • Short skirts. Make sure you can sit and cross your legs comfortably. If your teenage daughter thinks your skirt is the right length, it is probably too short.

  • Too much jewelry. Multiple bangle bracelets can be noisy and distracting during an interview. Only wear one pair of earrings (and only in your ears).

  • Too much perfume. An overpowering scent can quickly turn a one hour interview into a 20 minute interview. Go easy on the perfume or skip it altogether.

  • Inappropriate footwear. It is fine to wear a shoe with a heel, but stay away from stilettos and open-toed shoes.

  • Big Hair. If you plan to wear your hair down, try to keep it off your face. Otherwise opt for a neat style that pulls the hair away from your face.


  • Unruly facial hair. Clean shaven is preferred. If you have a mustache or a beard, get a trim before the interview.

  • Long Hair. Off the face and ears is best.

  • Unkempt fingernails. Nails should be trimmed and clean.

  • Too much cologne. Same reasons as stated for women.

  • Unpolished Shoes. It's not just about having a nice suit. Clean, polished shoes complete the look.

  • Loose Change. Jostling change in your pocket can be noisy and distracting. Clear out your pockets before the interview.

During an interview you want to be remembered for what you said, not what you wore. By choosing styles that are appropriate for your age, industry, and professional brand you can ensure that your candidacy is judged on your accomplishments, rather than what you wear to the interview.

Next:The Wrong Watch and Other Random Reasons You're Not Getting a Job >>

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