Looking Good for Your Interview – Part 2: Tips that Can Help You Get Hired

Part Two – Accessories, Makeup and Hair


Shoes are the most important fashion accessory. They can make or break your outfit. And they dictate taste. A dressier shoe can amp up a too casual outfit, and a more casual shoe can dress down an outfit. It’s best to opt for classic, solid-colored pumps with medium to low heals (3” max). Sling-backs, and simple, modern oxfords or spectators are fine runner-ups. Try to coordinate the color of your shoes with your outfit. (An exact match isn’t necessary.) And yes, you can wear black pumps with a navy outfit. A contrasting colored pump, such as red, can add a modern twist to a navy ensemble, but it’s best to avoid calling attention to your shoes on an interview. Rule of thumb: Avoid trendy shoes. And designer shoes won’t guarantee a better score. Even if your inner Carrie Bradshaw loves Louboutins, you don’t have to break the bank to get a pair for the interview. After all, you’re out of work. Just be sure your shoes look like quality and are comfortable enough so you can walk well in them. They should be polished and not appear worn, nicked, torn or dirty.  Avoid overly high heels, stilettos or spiked heels, platforms, boots, flats, mules, wedgies, and open-toed shoes (which will save you money on a pedi). Stay clear of clogs, sandals, athletic shoes, metallic or shimmery shoes and fussy or overly embellished shoes. And don’t even think about flip-flops (even if they’re Prada).

Avoid carrying too much paraphernalia to the interview. A classic shoulder bag should be all that’s needed for the interview, and it should coordinate with your outfit. To avoid bringing a briefcase, try the combo method and choose a duo-purpose bag that accommodates a portfolio. Make sure it doesn’t look worn. If you love it because it has years of character, don’t bring it. Overstuffed handbags, huge totes, fussy pocketbooks, overly dressy clutches and bags with obvious designer labels can be a distraction.

Keep jewelry simple – attract, don’t distract. Jewelry shouldn’t be the first thing you notice, especially on a job interview. Wear it sparingly to refine your outfit and enhance your face. Use tiny stud earrings or small hoops. Gold, silver or pearls are best. Avoid drop earrings. Save that for evening attire. Keep bracelets and necklaces inconspicuous. Wear a watch (particularly metal). It can add power to your image in a business environment. You can never go wrong with a single string of pearls. Keep all jewelry classic and unobtrusive. Reserve rhinestones or crystals for later. Avoid oversized or multi-layered pieces, obvious pendants, jewelry with initials, logos or medallions, bright colors, anything flashy or gaudy and bangles or charm bracelets that jingle or make any kind of noise. Scarves and broaches are tricky to get right, so don’t even try.

Your most appreciated accessory – a smile. Having a happy look on your face and offering a slight smile from time to time is worth a million bucks and costs you nothing. (Before your interview, consider using an at-home teeth-whitening product to brighten your smile. Don’t sabotage your first impression with dingy teeth.)


Makeup is essential. OK, so you’ve perfected the outfit but you usually don’t wear makeup, nor do you feel you’re good at applying it. That’s no excuse. Wear it for a job interview. You’ll not only look better, you’ll be perceived as someone who makes an effort. If you still feel unsure, have your makeup done professionally or have it applied at the cosmetics counter at the department store.

Keep your makeup minimal and understated. Less is more. It’s not a wedding, photo session or a date. Don’t even think the words “glam,” “smoky” or “sexy.” Even out your skin with a light foundation or spot-cover with concealer, especially under your eyes, then add a touch of blush. Use neutral eye shadows and soft eyeliner. Lipstick is important in the workplace. It can make you appear more powerful. For your interview, apply soft peach, pink, berry or muted shades of red to your lips. Skip the “nude lip.” It can look too drab and washed out. Set your makeup with a light dusting of translucent power to keep it in place and reduce shine. Avoid bright or iridescent eye shadow, frosted lips, obvious lip liner and false eyelashes. Wear mascara. Go easy on lip gloss. Most importantly, blend, and always check for lipstick (or spinach) on your teeth before your interview.


Don’t change a hair for me. Don’t try anything drastic right before your interview. Just be sure you have a professional cut that’s not outdated. And get a touch-up if your hair is colored. Ideally, your hair should be clean and simple. Opt for smooth over wavy. Keep it classic … nothing sexified. If you wear a weave or wig, no one should know. Obvious perms are passé. Avoid trendy hairdos, spiky hair, overly processed hair, teased hair, tousled hair, bangs that are too short or too long, brassy color and obvious highlighting or multicolored hair.

Keep your hair in place. Avoid moving your hair out of your face during an interview. It’s not only annoying, it can reflect nervousness. Don’t fiddle with it, play with it, twirl it, flip it or run your fingers through it. Nothing should detract from your face. If your hair is long enough simply brush it behind your ears.

Final Recommendation:

Now that my four elements of beauty are in place, you’re ready … Almost.  Just four words of caution: Perfume, nails, posture and speech. They’re important. If you wear perfume, keep it very light. You’ll get bad marks if you mark your territory. Crucial. Be sure your nails are clean, short and well maintained. Go easy on the polish (or wear none at all) and make certain your nails are chip free and filed. Work on your posture and speech patterns. Stand tall with your shoulders back. When seated, keep your feet together and lean slightly forward to seem interested, and turn up the passion. Good body language signals confidence and alertness, and it can be as important, if not more so, than your verbal communication skills. Speak clearly, slowly, and don’t go up at the end of your sentences with a question. Lose “um,” “well,” “like” and  “y’know.” Be a good listener and don’t interrupt. And breathe.  One last thing: Before your interview, spit out your gum, toss the coffee cup and turn off your cell phone … y’know? OK, now I think you’re ready. Good luck!

Go back to Part One – Fashion

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Looking Good for Your Interview – Part 1: Beauty Tips that Can Help You Get Hired

Part One – Fashion

Your credentials are good. Check. Your resume is well prepared. Check. You’re accountable, likeable, trustworthy and hardworking. Check. But it might not be enough to ace that job in today’s competitive marketplace. Based on your appearance, when you meet someone for the first time, it takes between three to five seconds to make a first impression. The only immediate information your potential future employer has is how you look; and that first impression, by the way, is very difficult to undo. Bottom line: Don’t just look good on paper.

Equate how you show up for your interview with watching a big-production Broadway show. Visualize it from the perspective of the audience (a.k.a. the interviewer) and pretend you’ve already landed the part. You’re not only the star of the show, you ARE the show. Your outfit is the set, your accessories are the props, and your hair and makeup are, well…hair and makeup. All four are necessary, and they must work in harmony with each other to enroll the audience’s attention the moment they lay eyes on you.

Regardless of your age, weight, or where you think you might rank on your favorite magazine’s scale of the “most beautiful people in the world,” none of these things really matter if you follow my beauty tips for each of my four essential components of beauty: Fashion, Accessories, Makeup and Hair. My guidelines are assured to make you look the part. If any of the four essentials is out of harmony, it can detract from your appearance and even damage your performance. Once all four are in place, you can forget about how you look and confidently move ahead. By nailing the first impression, you’ll knock ‘em dead out the gate. It just may help you get a rave review … and the job!


Dress as if you already work there … but be the best dressed. Based on the particular type of job you’re seeking, do your homework and research their dress code. Companies vary to some degree on their standards of dress. It’s easy to investigate. Check with the receptionist about dress codes or even scope out the work environment as employees come and go during the day. If you’re interviewing for an artsy position in the entertainment industry, fashion, marketing or design, adjust your attire to be a bit more stylish … but never trendy. Or if every day is Casual Friday at a particular company, tweak your attire to be slightly less formal. But don’t overdo under-doing it; underdressing might be perceived as not caring enough about the job.

Always look professional and put-together. Think classic but not boring. Business attire is your best bet. Keep colors neutral and coordinated. Avoid bold prints, odd colors and busy patterns. They can be distracting when you’re selling you. The ideal interview outfit? A suit or a pencil skirt paired with a well-tapered, coordinated blazer. Second choice: A tailored dress or a pantsuit. Fit is crucial. Even on a budget, a good tailor can be your best friend. The ideal color? Navy. It fares better than black for a job interview. Black can seem foreboding. Be sure the length of your skirt or dress falls just above or just below your knee, and check that your skirt doesn’t ride up when you sit or get up (and never tug). Pair your outfit with a crisp white shirt or blouse. It’s mistake proof. Avoid sleeveless tops in case you remove your jacket. You’ll be taken more seriously with long sleeves. And make sure your outfit is age and season appropriate.

Err on dressing conservatively. It’s better to dress up than dress down. Avoid overly casual attire, jeans, shorts, beachwear or sports gear. Ditto on see-through material and undergarments that show through. Stay away from tight outfits, hip-huggers, low-cut tops and avoid cleavage. Keep sexy away from the interview. Save it for dating.

Choose comfortable clothes. Choose comfortable fabrics and breathable materials to keep you cool and collected.

Wear the right undergarments. Invest in a good body shaper to flatter your figure and keep the jiggles at bay. Spanx can be your best friend.

Avoid adjusting your clothes during the interview. It’s distracting and can make you appear fidgety and self-conscious.

Make sure your outfit is well kempt. Your clothing must be is neat, clean, stain-free and well ironed. Nothing rumpled. Wrinkles are a no-no. And don’t forget to use a mirror to check your outfit from the back. Look for tears, rips, stains, threads or overlooked wrinkles.

Next: Part Two – Accessories, Makeup and Hair

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Who Rocked the Oscar’s….& Who Didn’t


When it comes to Oscar 2011, there was good news and bad news.

First the good news: Most everyone looked good.
Now the bad news: Most everyone looked good.

Maybe it’s just me, but I wanted more “wows,” and I also wanted some total train wrecks. Although glam was certainly abundant, I’m not certain anyone really rocked the carpet the way most of us expected. I personally had hoped for outfits that might even start a trend or at least be unforgettable. Perhaps the stylists have gotten it so right that they’re afraid to take too many risks. How I miss over-the-top hot messes. Don’t you?

What I liked: Sexy, body-revealing gowns, mermaid silhouettes and a return to sleeves, trains and a few bustles. Amongst a sea of neutrals, there was lots of color (especially plums, lavenders and reds), interesting metallics, big jewelry, soft hairstyles and subtle makeup.

But rather than bore you with an endless rundown of who wore what, I’ve narrowed down my picks to three hits and three misses. All of them encompass my personal choice for the four essential elements of a total look: Fashion, Accessories, Hair and Makeup.


Jennifer Hudson at the 2011 OscarsRed Carpet Hit # 1: Jennifer Hudson

Fashion: Oscar winner, Jennifer, showed off her newly svelte figure, but played up her curves in a show-stopping vibrant tangerine Atelier Versace halter gown, which revealed her great shoulders, hugged her bodice and flowed into a train of one-sided ruffles. Her plunging neckline screamed sexy but the fit needed a hint of tweaking at the bosom for a more flattering décolletage. Unexpected purple shoes gave the outfit a modern twist.

Accessories: Three Neil Lane platinum and diamond wide bracelets, a large diamond ring, and a pair of long diamond basket earrings added the perfect bling to the perfect outfit.

Hair: Sporting a classic and polished hairstyle, Jennifer’s off the face, high swept, uber shiny hair could not have complemented the outfit more.

Makeup: Jennifer’s skin looked flawless, although her foundation appeared a tinge too orange and needed some finessing at the hairline. Bronzer gave her a beautiful glow, and her brows were perfectly groomed. A neutral eye shadow with a sweep of black upper eyeliner (winged at the outer corner) achieved a clean look. Faux lashes added pop. A color-coordinated translucent lip color tied in beautifully with the dress.

Hailee Steinfeld 2011 Oscar FashionRed Carpet Hit # 2: Hailee Steinfeld

Fashion: Props to first-time Oscar nominee, Hailee, for her amazing blush-pink, tea-length princess dress, which she co-designed with Marchesa. At only fifteen, Hailee brought her “true grit” to fashion for her first walk on Oscar’s red carpet. The embroidered tulle, ballerina-esque dress, was eye-catching, yet age appropriate. Delicate embroidered crystals on an “illusion netting” around the neckline seamlessly twinkled from her pale skin. Champagne-colored Ferragamo peep-toe, platform shoes complemented the dress exquisitely.

Accessories: Hailee’s Fred Leighton platinum and diamond narrow headband was the perfect finishing touch to complement her outfit and proved that less can be more. A feminine Fred Leighton platinum and diamond ring and a silver satin Ferragamo envelope clutch completed her look.

Hair: Hailee wore her hair pulled back in a high, twisted bun, which brought out her face, elongated her neck and created a ballerina effect. It was the perfect choice for her statement headband.

Makeup: Inspired by the pink tone of her dress, Hailee’s eye shadow consisted of soft pinks, beiges and a hint of plum. A daub of gold liner was placed under her lower lid. Pink was also used on her cheeks. A pinky-rose lipstick with a hint of shimmer in the center of her lower lip was her finishing touch.

Halle Berry 2011 Oscar FashionRed Carpet Hit # 3: Halle Berry

Fashion: Oscar winner Halle rarely disappoints when it come to showing off her smoking hot body. Her dazzling nude-colored, strapless Marchesa corset gown with a crystal-encrusted bodice accented her curves, emphasized her signature shoulders and complemented her skin tone. She seemed to glide along the Red Carpet with a billowy, ruffled organza and silk tulle train. She donned Louboutin peep-toe heels. And all of it worked incredibly well together.

Accessories: Sans necklace or bracelets, Halle kept it simple with a delicate pair of Neil Lane platinum diamond drop earrings and a platinum and colored diamond ring. Good choices for her outfit.

Hair: Halle’s short and piece-y, pixie-style hair brought focus to her extraordinary face.

Makeup: Her skin was glowing, her eyes were smoky and her brows were meticulously manicured – all of which help bring attention to her beautiful face. Brown eye shadow with black inner eyeliner brought out her exquisite eyes and a nude, glossy mouth complemented the dress while keeping Halle’s look soft and modern.


Cate Blanchett 2011 Oscar FashionRed Carpet Miss # 1: Cate Blanchett

Fashion: This Oscar winning star was fashion forward, but Cate’s gown was simply odd. Typically an award winning stunner, this time graceful Cate may have walked the Red Carpet but she sure didn’t rock it. She chose a pale lilac, pleated chiffon Givenchy Couture gown with structured action-hero shoulders and an armor-like front with accents of neon yellow near the neck. The same neon yellow is repeated in a huge crisscross on the back. At the chest, the dress has a large unadorned circle, surrounded by an embellishment of pearls, in a design reminiscent of a bakery cake decoration. The overall detail felt much like a confusing Rorschach test – it could either be an ornate lobster bib or the back of a Louis XIV chair – can’t quite decide.

Accessories: Cate kept it simple with a pair of gold and diamond earrings and a single yellow and gold tassel bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels. That worked.

Hair: Her short and straight, parted do was simple and chic.

Makeup: Understated, clean-looking makeup with taupe and gray shimmery eye shadows and nude lipstick harmonized beautifully with the color of her dress.

Red Carpet Miss # 2: Scarlett Johansson

Fashion: Scarlett wore a Dolce & Gabbana plum-colored, lace floral column gown. The high neck, sleeveless frock bordered on being boring, dated and aging for the otherwise sexy Scarlett we have come to expect. If the lace had been more see-through and delicate perhaps she would not have appeared to be wearing a doily tablecloth.

Accessories: Scarlett’s jewelry was kept minimal with an Anna Hu cocktail ring. It was her only piece of jewelry and a fun statement for the ensemble.

Hair: Her hair may have been edgy, but the new shag came off as looking messy and unkempt for the Oscars.

Makeup: Scarlett’s smoldering copper and gold eye shadow paired with a pink-toned lip color was movie star modern and good look.

Red Carpet Miss # 3: Helena Bonham Carter

Fashion: Oscar nominee, Helena, dressed outside the box, but also outside the century. She wore a black velvet and taffeta bustle gown by costume designer Colleen Atwood. The 18th Century style goth–esque corseted dress was certainly a lovely homage to the costume designer, but it would have been a nice change of pace for the beautiful star to have raised a few brows by wearing something current. At least something from this century.

Accessories: Helena wore Solange Azegury-Partridge jewels – but then chose a ten-dollar accessory for her hair that’s usually used to decorate flip-flops. What’s up with that? She added a British Union Jack garter and toted a Lulu Guinness fan-shaped clutch to complete the ensemble – neither one great choices.

Hair: Helena’s hair was very curled, very high and very tendrilled.

Makeup: With everything else going on, Helena’s makeup was actually sedate and quite good. She wore warm-toned eye shadow, brown liner and individual lashes. That, along with a pinky-beige mouth, looked contemporary, which fortunately and unfortunately didn’t relate to her period hair and attire. With that said, you can’t help but love her originality and zest for fashion and beauty. She’s a one of a kind …and we’ re lucky to have her!

To listen to my interview with Joan Bryden from WPCR Radio on Getting Red Carpet Ready click here!

Originally Published on Colette’ Bouchez’ Country Dutchess.com

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Check out this radio interview I did with Joan Bryden from WPCR Radio after the 82nd Academy Awards.

I primarily focus on how the stars prep for the Red Carpet. Having received a tremendous response to this particular
interview, so I wanted to share it with you
So click on the player below and I hope you enjoy it!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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