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What Not to Wear at a Job Interview

written by: AlexisW•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 10/27/2009

A job interview is an important part of the process in obtaining a job. Don't blow your chances before you even open your mouth by wearing an inappropriate outfit. Instead, read about what not to wear at a job interview and go dressed for success.

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    The interview is often the time when you get to make that critical first personal impression. Although a great deal is determined by the actions you take in that first meeting, a great deal is also said about you through your appearance. This is why it is necessary to avoid the following fashion mistakes regarding what should and should not be worn on your job interviews.

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    Backpacks and Fanny packs

    Neither one of these fashion disasters is looked upon positively. In fact, interview experts say that a woman should even ditch her purse. The only “bag" that should be bought into an interview is a briefcase. Leave the backpacks for school and the fanny packs at home for the amusement park.

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    Sunglasses and Headphones

    While these articles may be imperative on the way to the job interview for different reasons, make sure they are not noticeable before you walk into the lobby of the business. Stow all items in your briefcase or leave them in your car. Avoid leaving them in obvious places, such as sunglasses atop your head or earphones dangling around your neck, lest they leave an unprofessional aura.

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    The Skirt

    So what if you have an amazing figure or nice legs; the workplace is not the avenue to show them off to the world. Leave the short skirts at home for the club after work hours. Skirts worn in the workplace, especially to the interview, should be modest and should cover the thigh completely when a woman is sitting down.

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    Bad Ties

    Men should avoid wearing exuberant ties, such as ties with cartoons or logos on them. A subtly patterned tie is acceptable. The tie should also be made of silk and be no less than three and a quarter inches wide. Men should make sure to avoid loud colors too; power ties during the interview process are said to be either red or burgundy.

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    Bright or Patterened Clothing

    Although some interview experts are accepting of this type of clothing, others frown upon certain colors and loud patterns. These articles may be acceptable in creative fields, but in most professional fields they are simply distracting. Therefore, it is essential to do your research before preparing for your interview, including researching the acceptable way to dress. More often than not, you are safest choosing neutral colors such as navy, black, or gray, no matter what the position being interviewed for.

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    Excessive Make-Up

    Make-up on men is not acceptable to most interview situations. Make-up on women is expected to be subtle. A barely-there approach that is just used to highlight some of the facial features is perfectly acceptable. Save the dramatic smokey eye make-up and bright red lipsticks for your own time.

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    Jewelry

    Most businesses allow for men to wear very little jewelry. Acceptable jewelry for men includes a wedding ring, a class ring, and a nice watch. Women are permitted a little more leniency in the jewelry department; they can wear those items mentioned above for men, as well as necklaces, a bracelet, brooches, and earrings. However, excessive jewelry is never a good thing for either gender and neither are body piercings such as tongue rings, eyebrow piercings, nose piercings, and other visible piercings. Even earrings are rarely acceptable for a man.

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    Tattoos

    Tattoos are a form of personal expression, but they are a form of expression that most workplaces frown upon. While having a tattoo does not guarantee you will not get hired, your chances greatly improve for obtaining the job if you cover any visible tattoos up. For example, if you have a tattoo on your shoulder, avoid wearing a sleeveless shirt to the interview. If you have a tattoo on your leg, then as a woman, you might want to consider wearing a pair of pants to the interview rather than a skirt, or a dark nylon to prevent the tattoo from being as noticeable.