With all these conflicting opinions, how can a woman decide? The best strategy may be to ally yourself with the assistant to the recruiter or hiring manager with whom you’ll be interviewing. Call up the assistant before the interview and ask about the company culture and whether pantsuits or skirted suits are the norm for interviews. If you really want to wear a pantsuit, but the assistant says it would be out of place, best to stick with the skirted suit. Consider regional differences also. If you’re interviewing in an unfamiliar area, be aware that the culture may be different from what you’re used to, and it pays to do some research.
A more difficult question is — if most people agree that the skirted suit expectation is outdated and sexist — what can we do to change this tradition? That’s a question that both women and men should be asking themselves. This is the 21st century after all.
Riskiest grooming/attire for women:
Dress for success for men
The standard job interviewing attire for men is a conservative dark navy or gray two-piece business suit (of natural fibers, such as wool, if possible), a white long-sleeved button-down dress shirt, a conservative silk tie (that matches the colors in your suit), and nicely polished dress shoes.
If you do not own a suit, or the company is a bit more informal, wear a conservative sports coat (no plaids or wild patterns and preferably a dark color), nicely pressed dress slacks, a white long-sleeved button-down shirt, a conservative silk tie, and nicely polished dress shoes.
Your belt should always match your shoes.
If you have a beard or mustache, your facial hair should be neatly trimmed. If you have any visible body parts pierced, most experts recommend removing all jewelry, including earrings. Avoid both body odor and excessive cologne.
Riskiest grooming and attire for men:
Go to Dress for Success for Women for specific tips for women.
Go to Dress for Success for Men for specific tips for men.