Dressing At The Interview

One of the biggest debates in fashion and the workplace is the discussion of what modern day women should wear to an interview. Shopping malls offer a wide selection for women to choose from, including the perfect purse to accentuate a pair of ebony pumps. However, many women are faced with the predicament of choosing between a timeless skirt suit and the progressive pantsuit when it comes to their next interview.

One of the largest deciding factors for any woman preparing her interview ensemble is the type of job she is applying for. Many of the managers hiring for more conservative positions in law, banking, stocks and investments may find a traditional skirt suit more professional. They may see it as a reflection of a proficient woman who is smart and capable, but still feminine.

However, it is understandable that some women would not enjoy working for a company that bases a woman’s skills on her interview outfit. Some women may find companies expecting ladies to dress in only skirts and dresses too dated, and a bit sexist as well. When women feel they are being overlooked because of their clothing, they have two options. One choice is to power past the wardrobe requirements and focus on their interview skills and strengths in her career field. The other is to find a company in agreement with her beliefs of modern, working women and their freedom to wear contemporary designs.

For women unsure of what to wear for their upcoming interview, the following provides an overview of why pantsuits and skirt suits both have a place in the interview chair.

Advantageous or Unfavorable?

Women deciding to dress in pantsuits for their interviews will find there are many advantages to doing so. From embracing the feeling of power that comes from wearing it, to standing up for her beliefs, women can benefit from wearing this contemporary outfit. Other advantages of the pantsuit include:

  • Feeling comfortable and confident during an interview. With a pantsuit there is no need to fidget with a skirt or pantyhose.

  • Staying warm in climates prone to cold, windy weather. These may be more acceptable in these climates as well.

  • Showing prospective employers that women can be just as powerful as men when it comes to the workplace.

  • Pantsuits can be tailored and custom made to create a fit that is sleek and stylish, but not as revealing as a skirt.

    These benefits may be found in a multitude of working environments, especially in more liberal corporations such as non-profits, domestic abuse centers, animal rights corporations and party planning companies. If female managers run these corporations, pantsuits may be the norm anyways.

    Pantsuit Predicaments

    As mentioned, there are certain companies and job sectors that may accept women who wear only traditional skirts and suit jackets to their interviews. This may seem outdated, but it is true and needs to be understood by women looking for their next job. First and foremost, it is better for female candidates to be overdressed than casually underdressed. For first time interviews, it may be more advantageous for female candidates to follow traditional dress codes and not surprise a potential manager with a fiery red suit complete with spiky heels.

    Wearing a skirt suit also shows that women can dress conservatively, even when their personalities and fashion sense may be more progressive. Answering questions in a simple, knee-length skirt complete with a jacket of the same color will also keep the focus on the woman’s answers, resume and job interviewing skills, not her showy trousers. Additionally, women who choose to wear a colorful blouse underneath a jacket all atop a pair of flowing pants, may find themselves losing the respect of hiring managers and possible fellow co-workers due to their misunderstanding of the company’s culture.

    Finding a Solution

    Women interested in wearing pants, a blouse and suit jacket need to deeply research the company and career field they are interviewing for. It is always beneficial to have knowledge of the company one is possibly entering into, and with that also comes an understanding of their dress codes and expectations. The best way to learn about the company’s wardrobe expectations is by talking with the assistant of the employee recruiter or hiring manager about how to dress for the interview and what the company values. However, if women find themselves interviewing in a sector filled with outdated view points and highly conservative wear, they may want to push for new standards or keep applying.

    Both male and female employees must understand how important their interview ensemble is. However, if the standards for women are too old-fashioned and outdated, what must be done to change them? It is a question worth debating and one that will continue for many years.

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