Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Trials of Being Female, Episode XIVIVVIVIII: The Interview Outfit Conundrum

As you may know, I'm currently job-hunting. Yay. It's all kinds of soul-destroying fun!

As much I hate filling in the application forms, and the online personality tests, and the rejection emails, what I actually hate most are the interviews... and what I hate most about those is deciding what to wear. If you're male, it seems like 99% of the time you should just show up in a suit, and that covers a whole range of levels of formality. As a female, there are so many more options out there, and I never know which is appropriate. Full blown trouser suit? Is a collared shirt necessary? Will a smart top be enough? I just don't know! Anyway, I had an interview today, and here's what I settled on: a fitted shirt and pencil skirt combo.

(Please excuse the delightful backdrop of my mum's bathroom. Do, however, feel free to admire my new iPhone cover.)

It was a fairly informal interview; we pretty much had tea and a chat. I probably could have toned down the formality even further, but I'd rather go too smart than not smart enough. I'm glad I didn't go for the full pantsuit, which I will be breaking out tomorrow for a way more formal group interview type setting. I suspect there will be a lot more on-the-spot interrogation and a lot less peppermint tea and talking about out fabric hoarding problems. (My pantsuit is delicious. It has a bright, hot pink lining so I feel like I'm secretly colourful under my Smart Adult disguise!) The pantsuit, in all its glory, was my mum's idea, as she insisted that trousers are smarter than skirts.

Fellow ladies of the blogosphere: what do you wear to interviews? Are trousers smarter than skirts? How do you decide what is formal and what is extra formal?

alice xox


  1. I totally agree that it's better to look too smart. I definitely take into account the type of industry it's in too. I wouldn't wear a pantsuit too something that was in the creative industry and same with a funky print top to a financial job. :P But I don't think it' really matters on the pants/skirt front.

    And you look smashing, I might say! I'd give you the job. ;)

  2. I agree with Lauren, you definitely need to dress for the industry you're aiming for. But I'd prefer to be slightly over-dressed than be under-dressed, I think that gives a poorer reflection. Your outfit looks fantastic! It looks professional enough without being over the top :)

  3. I tend to aim at dressing just a bit more formally than I anticipate I would need to if I was hired.

  4. My experience in the education world (especially in the UK) is that I tend to always overdress. But, as others have said, it's better than than underdressing. I think you look amazeballs in that outfit, by the way.

  5. I think that outfit is ok for a job interview. Self-confidence and kindness make the rest :)