This excerpt is taken from Chapter 5 of The Image of Success – Maximize… Harmoize… Accesorize
It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion that heralds your arrival
and prolongs your departure. —Coco Chanel (French fashion designer)
ACCESSORIES ARE THE absolute best wardrobe extenders. The versatility they provide can transform an otherwise nondescript interview outfit into a well-coordinated and balanced work of genius in the blink of an eye. Accessories can deliberately become the focal point of an outfit or unexpectedly add a splash of pizzazz. Best of all, they expand and contract along with weight fluctuation. On the other hand, accessories should not hijack an outfit and should be used cautiously and sparingly, particularly on a job interview.Used incorrectly, they will surely become the “can’t put my finger on it” reason why you are turned down for a job. Typically, I will give candidatesmy notorious onceover right before I wrap up an interview.My recommendations usually entail keeping accessories at fewer than 14 items, depending on the industry; any more than that and you will look kitschy. And, yes, a pair of earrings counts as just that . . . a pair . . .meaning two.
Evaluating the aesthetics and appropriateness of accessories using the same principles discussed in Chapters 1 and 2 is fundamental. When choosing accessories to enhance your look, you should continue to adhere to the following principles: proportion, shape, line, pattern, texture, scale, and color. Accentuate, balance, and camouflage wherever you deem necessary. Additionally, your preferences, personality, job rank, and professional industry will have a direct impact on the accessories you choose and how you decide to place them.
Integrating accessories as part of your interview look requires a closer assessment of one of your most important physical attributes, the one I and all other interviewers focus directly on—your face.
Your face is a canvas of emotion and expression. Therefore, it is to your advantage to frame your face with the least amount of distractions so that your message is not distorted. The right accessories should enhance your body and face. In cases where your budget restricts a suit upgrade, a highquality accessory can take on the role of advancing your look from moderate to fabulous.
Headwear: Hair Clips, Barrettes, Headbands, and Hats
If I had my druthers, I’d have everyone ditch the hideous hair clamp clips that look more like the ones at the end of a clipboard than something that should go on anyone’s head—especially during an interview. The decorative versions usually have rhinestones and all kinds of other jazz that make them even less tolerable. As I always say, “Lose the clip.” Combs and barrettes can be equally as offensive if the size is not monitored. Headbands look the neatest if kept simple, holding hair from covering the allimportant eyes. If you must wear a hair accessory,make it one that blends with your hair color and tuck it away where it’s not a glaring and distracting accessory, or worse yet, cutesy.
Winter hats, fashion hats such as berets, and sports caps are deadly if kept on when your interviewer comes out to greet you. Bicycle and motorcycle helmets are especially ridiculous to keep on even if you are interviewing for a position as a messenger. Oh, and for you fashionistas out there, a kerchief on your head or a turban is not cool, even if it was featured on the cover of Vogue and you are interviewing for a position as a fashion editor. Show your sense of style in some other way. If for religious reasons or because of hair loss from medical treatments you must wear a hat or the like, that is an entirely different story. However, if you do choose to wear a wig for aesthetics, secure it well enough for it not to slide off your head. I’ve witnessed such a mishap and, believe me, it threw me for a loop. Come to think of it, it was a toupee—talk about most embarrassing moments ever!
Eyewear: Sunglasses and Eyeglasses
Neither sunglasses nor eyeglasses should ever be worn on the top of your head when speaking to a recruiter. You are not dining al fresco with your bud on a veranda sipping a delectable drink. Eyeglasses should be placed on your face and they should be in a style that suits your face shape and facial particulars. For instance, if you have a diamond-shaped face with the widest part of your face being through your eyes, then bold, plastic-frame glasses will only maximize the width. Choose eyeglasses with decorative details at the temples if you have close-set eyes. This creates an optical illusion of eyes that are extended outward.Alternatively, eyeglasses with a decorative contrast at the bridge of the nose create an optical illusion of eyes that aremore balanced if you have wide-set eyes. By the way, if you’re wondering how to figure out whether you have close-set eyes or wide-set eyes, place yourself in front of a mirror and examine your eye area. If you can fit an imaginary eye (the same length as your real eyes) in between your two eyes, you possess well-balanced eyes. If you can’t fit one imaginary eye in between your eyes, then you have close-set eyes and if you can fit more than one eye, you have wide-set eyes.Wire-rim glasses work best on heartshaped or inverted-triangle faces to balance the broad forehead. To camouflage a hooked or protruding nose, the nose pads should be adjusted so that your glasses sit lower on the bridge of your nose. Sunglasses are to be kept inside their case and out of the recruiter’s sight.
Be conscious of not taking your eyeglasses on and off during conversation and chewing on the end pieces. Refrain from wearing your eyeglasses on an eyeglass chain around your neck. Even the most beautiful one is an unnecessary accessory in the interview room due to the temptation to play with it as your nerves creep up. I’ve also seen eyeglasses clank and clatter against the table, and it too makes for an unwanted distraction.
Remember the following tips when you go shopping for eyewear:
- Avoid repetition: Choose shapes that contrast with your face shape.
- Harmonize: Choose a color that blends well with your eye, skin, and hair color.
- Avoid “super sizing”: Choose size in relation to your face and body scale.