The Makeup Question

Christian Dior Lipstick ad

Photo credit: Flickr

For those of you in the New York area, you may be aware that the above question has been circulating amongst the librarian crowd for the past month. It all started when METRO, the Metropolitan New York Library Council (a great resource for librarians in and around New York City), posted this article.

In it,  Ellen Mehling, the Career Services Consultant at METRO, addressed whether or not women should wear makeup to an interview…even if they do not normally do so. The awesome blog Librarian Wardrobe responded with an excellent post a few days later, and I personally came across this debate when the New York chapter of ARLIS tweeted about it early last month.

Full disclosure, I hold a very similar opinion to the one espoused in the post on Librarian Wardrobe, but I was very interested to see what my fellow ArLiSNAPpers thought about the subject. I feel like the world of  art librarianship stands somewhat apart from the rest of the librarian community, partly because we deal with different subject matter, but also because we tend to hold roles outside of the typical brick and mortar library, at art galleries, museums, artists’ personal collection, etc.. As a result, I believe the expectations for “proper office attire” (makeup included), are somewhat tempered, if not entirely altered.

Anyway, definitely curious to hear your guys’ opinions on the matter. Let me know!!


  1. I’m definitely on board with the Librarian Wardrobe article too, as I never wear makeup at all. Why would I put it on for a job interview? I feel like it would be misrepresenting myself, and I think you can absolutely look professional without wearing makeup. Maybe it helps that I wear big ol colourful glasses, I don’t need any more colour on my face. :)

  2. Appearance matters when attending job interviews but not necessarily simply to satiate the expectations of the hiring institutions. In fact, I would argue that it matters — or at least should — more to the one being interviewee than to the interviewer. If I had to go to an interview wearing clothes or accessories that I don’t feel good in that will come across in my interactions with others. If I did wear makeup and if it was an important part of what made me feel good than I would want to wear it to an interview. And yes, men can wear make-up too. We all have a right to feel beautiful don’t we?

    1. Absolutely Ralph, good points! I guess it’s a balance of what will make you look professional, and what you feel represents a bit of your own style, what feels like your authentic self. I’d want to be taken seriously in an interview, so I would be sure to dress relatively conservatively, wear tights if I wear a skirt or dress, not show too much skin; but I really don’t feel that makeup needs to be a part of that, and I think it’s a little unfortunate that so many women do.

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