Foot Tattoos and Interviews

How to Cover Your Tattoos for Interviews | CorporetteShould You Cover Your Tattoos for Interviews? | CorporetteShould you cover a tattoo for an interview?  What if it’s in a place that’s hard to cover — should you go the extra mile just for the interview?  Reader A wonders about her foot tattoo:

I am a 2L at a Midwestern law school and going through the interview process for next summer. I would like to build my professional wardrobe, but shoes always stump me. I have a tattoo across the top of my foot; a quote in black ink. I would like to cover it up for interviews and other conservative, professional events, but still look feminine, professional, and seasonal.

The compromise I have come up with is either wearing a pant suit with black leather booties or a skirt suit with black pantyhose and pumps. Either option is too hot for the summer and prevents me from wearing other colors.

Any advice for cute, professional shoes that would cover my ink and allow me to lighten up my wardrobe?

Great question, reader A!  I was just talking with a reporter about looking professional with tattoos, and I’m surprised we haven’t covered them since our interviewing with tattoo sleeves post a few years ago.  In general, I agree with my old advice, which is that you should a) avoid getting visible tattoos in the first place, and b) keep your tattoos covered for interviews, big/first meetings, court appearances, and more.

Here’s the thing, though: a foot tattoo is kind of hard to cover up easily.  Something to keep in mind when interviewing is that a very conservative job may require you to keep a tattoo covered almost all the time — so consider beginning as you mean to go on.  By this I mean: If you’re ok with taking the steps below on all but casual days (after you’ve gotten to know your office, of course), then great.  But if this all sounds like a lot of work and you plan to wear regular pumps or ballet flats 90% of the time, you may want to consider just leaving the tattoo exposed during part of the interview process (such as the second round of interviews), since this will weed out a lot of fit problems with your future office early on.

That said — here are some solutions for covering tattoos that may work for you if you want to wear the most conservative, safest outfit choice for an interview — a skirt suit, nude-for-you pantyhose, and comfortable pumps or flats:

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Tattoo Sleeves in the Workplace

tattoo-sleeves-at-officeIf you have tattoo sleeves, must you wear a blazer everywhere at work?  Reader A asks a great question for everyone who had a wilder youth:  what to do about tattoos in the office?

As I’m now a law student, I’m worried about how to dress in order to hide my tattoos, which go from both shoulders down to right above my elbows; they’re dark enough to be seen through most lighter button-downs. Not that it matters, but they’re all very tasteful– I went to art school in my wild undergrad days. Now, though, I’m wondering whether I’ll be forever banned from wearing any sheer blouse or sleeveless shirt. Am I destined to wear collared shirts for the next thirty years of work? Any advice would be appreciated immensely.

We haven’t talked about tattoos in the workplace for years, so let’s revisit the subject. I will say at the outset that I think tattoo sleeves are in a very different category than the tiny tattoo somewhere noticeable (wrist, ankle) or the bigger tattoo somewhere generally hidden (lower back, shoulder blade).  As someone with tattoo sleeves (or half-sleeves) (tattoo ballet sleeves?), you should not only know your office, but I think should also know a) yourself, b) your boss, and c) your business relationships.  (Pictured: Shading, originally uploaded to Flickr by liquidnight.) Here’s what I mean:
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Poll Results: Professional Women and Tattoos

Poll Results: Tattoos and the Professional Woman | CorporetteLast week we asked you whether a visible tattoo was ever acceptable to women lawyers. And wow did you guys respond — roughly 1500 of you weighed in. Although the poll is still open, here are the results thus far:

  • 43% of you said a professional woman could never have a visible tattoo
  • 30% of you said it was fine if it could be covered by clothes or makeup
  • 12% of you said only so long as it wasn’t visible when you shook hands or interviewed
  • 8% said sure, a visible tattoo was fine

The commenting section was where things got ugly — some commenters accused the reader who had e-mailed of already having gotten the tattoo, and just seeking assurance. Some commenters referred to “tramp stamps” (which, we agree with the commenter who noted that that’s only generally referring to a lower back tattoo). The extremely helpful “billybob” opined that tattoos were for hookers, not lawyers.  Quite a few readers noted that tattoos were only in style in the late ’80s. [Read more…]

Poll: Are visible tattoos ever appropriate for professional women?

Can Professionals Have Visible Tattoos? | CorporetteThe other day we got an e-mail from a reader:

I have a question about tattoos. I’m thinking of getting a new tattoo on my inner ankle, and I’m wondering what you/your readers think about what is appropriate for the office in terms of tattoos. In terms of placement, if I was wearing a skirt and heels the tattoo would be uncovered where I’m thinking of getting it (inside of the ankle, right above the ankle bone that sticks out). But it would be a small (.5 in. x 1 in.), black, abstract design – nothing flashy. And it would be on the inner ankle, so not as obvious. Do you think this is appropriate, or is any tattoo that’s visible at work inappropriate? If small tattoos are appropriate, is there any kind of consensus on when it becomes big enough that it’s inappropriate?

Excellent question.  We’ve often thought about whether tattoos are appropriate for the working woman, and whether our friend who got a huge tattoo on her calf when she turned 18 (seriously, HUGE) has been at all limited in her career options.  For our $.02, it seems to us that a small, tasteful tattoo on your inner ankle is the limit to which a visible tattoo would be appropriate — anything on your hand is certainly out (unless it’s a wedding band tattoo or something like that), as is anything on a part of your leg or arm that would be visible. [Read more…]

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