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Etiquette column: When dressing for an interview, err on the side of formality

And for women, that may mean wearing hosiery

Friday, February 7, 2014 - 8:42 am

Q. Karen, I am starting the interviewing process and wonder what I should wear for those interviews. No stockings for women is the trend, but I wonder if I need to wear stockings for job interviews. What do you think? If I wear stockings, what color is best?

A. When in doubt, err on the side of formality with your dress in a job interview. It is more difficult to make a good impression if you are under-dressed. And as far as wearing hosiery, I'd say, yes in most cases. Going into an interview you may not be privy to a particular company's dress code, and some places require women to wear hosiery. If the field in which you are interviewing is a more traditional field, such as finance, law or accounting, hosiery should be worn. As far as the color -- nude or skin color sheer hosiery is best. Opaque or dark colors are not quite as professional in some settings.

Building a professional wardrobe for women is not as difficult as it seems. Start with a good basic three piece suit: jacket, pants and skirt in a dark blue or gray tones. These three pieces can then be built upon. They can be dressed down with sweaters, blouses and accessories to accommodate a more relaxed work environment, but still be dressed up when the situation calls for it.

Have a good pair of black pumps in your closet. A toe and heel in shoe is the most professional, and black goes with everything. Keep the heel height to 1-2 inches. If it is too high, it can be perceived as sexy.

Keep accessories to a minimum, but good quality. No oversized earrings or noisy bracelets for an interview. They become too distracting. Carry a well-kept purse that is not overstuffed. A purse that will handle your resume and other items needed for an interview will allow you to carry only one bag, which is best.

Wear a little makeup, minimal or no perfume and a hairstyle that is well-maintained and out of your eyes. You don't want to be fussy with your hair during an interview.

Happy job hunting.

Karen Hickman is a local certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy. To submit questions, email features@news-sentinel.com.