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Interview-Appropriate Makeup and More Office Beauty Etiquette from Anna Post

Etiquette guru Anna Post has flawless professional style. (Photo: WTS International)

We’ve all experienced the pre-interview jitters. The only thing worse than scrutinizing our resumes for the umpteenth time? Worrying about how we look. Since fall marks the start of recruiting and job-hunting season, we sat down with etiquette expert Anna Post (who happens to be the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post) to get tips on the makeup to wear for an interview in a more corporate work setting, and how to stay classy once you’ve landed your dream job.

Should you wear makeup to an interview? If so, how much?

You want to look polished during an interview, so I recommend wearing makeup. Just don’t go too heavy—you want people to focus on what you’re saying, not staring at your lipstick. Since it’s also important to maintain eye contact during an interview, I recommend that you play up your eyes. And think about your skin. Having clear, glowing skin can help you feel more confident. 

What about nails—can I wear polish to an interview? 

Yes, but you want to stick with a traditional nail color, like a peach or nude. You also want to make sure your nails are evenly filed and in good shape. 

How should you style your hair for an interview?

Keep your hair neat and tidy—you can wear it down, just don’t have it hanging loose and blocking your face. If you want to refresh your hair style, make sure to primp in private by brushing in the bathroom. 

What’s your ideal interview outfit? 

I suggest wearing a classic tailored suit that fits you really well. Your skirt should be no shorter than a hand width above your knee, and you should wear close-toed shoes with heels that are no higher than three inches as a general rule. If you’re interviewing in a more conservative industry, wear shorter heels, but if you’re interviewing in a more fashionable industry that you know really well, you can bend the rules. Keep the accessories simple—like a belt and earrings—but feel free to add a little bit of color to show your personality. 

Any tips for transitioning your work wardrobe from summer into fall? 

Retire the open toe sandals, sundresses, and shorts, and start wearing less revealing clothes made from heavier fabrics. I actually think white is okay to wear after Labor Day as we head into fall—just don’t show too much skin. 

—Mai

P.S. We found out that Anna swears by classic Pond’s cleanser to keep her complexion in tip-top shape.

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