Job Stopping Fashion

Fashion has always been a topic that pushes the boundaries and exposes us to new, outrageous styles and looks that can appear as bright and bold as we wish to be.  It is often used as an outlet of expression and a way of displaying our personalities and preferences to the outside world. Clothing, t-shirts in particular, depicting bands, films and television shows are a perfect example of this type of communication. Many people choose to wear flamboyant clothes and jewellery, even dyeing their hair in bright and unusual colours to break from social norms and stand out from the crowd.

However it is becoming increasingly common to push boundaries with evermore extreme forms of body modification. Ear piercings have been relatively commonplace for decades within the professional world of work. The number of industries embracing employees with facial and more alternative piercings has increased, especially in the creative and media sectors. Despite this increase in acceptance for more alternative appearances and lifestyles, there are still some body modifications that are considered “job-stoppers”


So what is a “job-stopper”? Any style or body modification choice that could appear intimidating, offensive or unprofessional within certain areas of work. Generally those that cannot be hidden or concealed are the most obvious aspects of body modification that could harm your chances of gaining a career within a prestigious company. These include face and neck tattoos, which are generally considered the biggest taboo within the corporate world. Hand and wrist tattoos are also not usually accepted in typical “white collar” workplaces.

Extremes such as multiple piercings located in one area of the face or body and rather more gruesome modifications such as scarification, tongue splitting and dermal implants are also going to considerably damage your career prospects. Stretched earlobes can also be counted as a “job-stopper”, especially if they are large in diameter. This form of modification is also harder to reverse or disguise, as the ear may need to be surgically stitched to try and repair the hole created.

Hair can also be a sensitive issue within the workplace and it can be hard to draw the line on what is considered acceptable. Many larger corporate companies can include any unnatural hair colors and extreme styling as part of the dress code, deeming it unprofessional. Those individuals who dye their hair unusual colors may also face stigma during interviews. If you are adamant about keeping your hair color, ensure it is freshly dyed and styled in a smart and presentable manner. It will look even less professional if the color has faded out and the hair is unwashed, in the same way that regular hairstyle will.

Certain clothing choices may also be deemed “job-stoppers” if they are over the top or may be inappropriate for the workplace. Revealing clothes such as low cut tops, or very short skirts and shorts, as well as sheer styles of clothing are definitely not acceptable. This is in addition to clothing styles that may be reflective of a niche subculture such as Goths or hip-hop fashion. This may give the interviewer a bad impression of you and can give the idea that you are entirely serious or committed to the job in question.

Many of these body modifications or alternative choices can inappropriate during an interview, and take the focus away from your skills and experience. An interviewer may not listen to your answers or feedback properly if they are distracted by the number of facial piercings you have and an oversize tattoo on your neck.

Personally, I love tattoos, or at least I love a lot of tattoos. Those done tastefully, and as someone working closely with the tattoo industry it is no surprise that I have some. But I also have a job, working at a desk and interacting with clients who aren’t always happy with seeing tattoos, all of mine can be hidden easily if I want, it doesn’t cause a problem.

As a general rule, it is best to avoid tattoos on the hands, neck or face and only tattoos on the lower parts of your arms if you’re willing to wear long sleeved shirts on a regular basis to cover them. You might not be asked to in the workplace, your current job might be find with visible ink for now. However you might not stay in that job and they may be less accepting if dress codes are changed in the future. Always be prepared to cover it up.

The same can be said for any bold fashion choice, if you’re drawing too much attention to your looks and potentially intimidating people around you then you aren’t going to look great in the eyes of an employer. Keep things professional and look smart; this is the safest way to ensure that you get a job.
If you have an existing body modification or outrageous hairstyle that perhaps isn’t that easy to hide, you should at least try to cover it and ensure it is presentable during the interview so that your potential employer isn’t too distracted by your fashion choices. They need to notice how perfect for the job you are, not dazed by the large flesh tunnels in your ears and neon hair color.

Ankle and foot tattoos are pretty popular, and usually you might select shoes that show them off, but not for your job interview. Something simple and conservative that shows you’re taking things seriously and conceals your ink is important of course. Reflect on what is appropriate for the job interview and come to a conclusion that is suitable for your style.

Choosing your clothes, accessories and shoes to highlight and flaunt your body modifications can be a great way to draw attention to them within your outfit. Halter neck tops can be the perfect way to show off your back piece or shoulder tattoo, whilst bandeau can showcase your chest piece without the hindrance of straps blocking the design. Open shoes such as sandals and flip flops can be a great way to expose your foot and ankle tattoos. You can also show off your leg pieces by choosing an appropriate length skirt that finishes just above your tattoo. This will draw the eye down towards your ink.

In the same way that clothes can highlight your tattoos, they can be a great way to cover and distract the eye from them. For example if you have a tattoo covering your lower arm, ensure it is covered completely by an opaque top or shirt. Don’t make the mistake of wearing a white top over a dark colored tattoo, as it will likely still be visible and can sometimes look like a large bruise or other suspicious mark. In addition you should also make sure your nails are clean and tidy. If you choose to wear an unusual ring, that is still fairly professional, this will distract the eye away from looking around your wrist area,where the tattoo may show.

Also choose more plain and simply jewellery to accessorize your piercings. Opt for silver studs in your ears rather than brightly colored rainbow earrings etc. Using accessories and the cut of your clothes to draw attention away from your body modifications will help make them a lot less noticeable and prevent them from being “Job-Stoppers”.

About The Author:

Kate Critchlow is an enthusiastic writer with a quickly developing passion for fashion, particularly tattoos and the tatto industry. Kate has covered a range of topics from using tattoo goo to keep tattoos looking good to picking the right leggings for your outfit.