I’m not busting my chops teaching you to speak well just to see you lose a promotion or a job because you can’t polish your shoes. That’s why I wear my Fashion Police badge and grade your appearance in our Speech 101 Job Inteview assignment.

Think I’m being too picky basing a few points of your grade on what shoes you wear for the job interview? Consider this:

[Image consultant Ginger Burr] tells of a client who was passed over for a promotion for a detail as small as scuffed shoes. “There were two people who were equally qualified for the position, and in the end it came down to one candidate was wearing shoes that were scuffed,” she says. “The company wondered whether that would translate in a work [environment] to other details being overlooked” [Laura Sinberg, “What Not to Wear at Work,” Forbes.com, 2009.07.22].

The same article notes that in the office, sexy doesn’t sell:

Dressing too sexy can also have psychological effects on your peers, according to Peter Glick, a professor of psychology at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. A study by Glick that was published in Psychology of Women Quarterly indicates that women in high-level positions who dress in what is seen as sexy attire are viewed as less competent–regardless of their skill sets. These women are passed over for promotions more often than their more modestly dresses female colleagues [Sinberg, 2009].

Now if you’re just too sexy for your shirt, I can’t help you. And if you consider it a grave injustice that the boss judges your book by its cover, well, you have my sympathy.

But the practical fact is, packaging matters. When you go for that big interview, polish those shoes, button that shirt — dress up!