Skirt Suit vs. Pants Suit for Interviews

Here’s an age old question. For a first interview (for women, obviously), is it appropriate to wear a skirt suit or a pants suit?

For me, my take has been: if it’s legal, uber-conservative, government or banking, always err on the side of caution and wear a skirt suit. Why? Because people aged 50 and older, tend to still be the heads of management
in most of those corporations/industries, and get ‘offended’ if a woman shows up in a pant suit for an interview. Ridiculous, I know, but if you want the job, just roll with the punches I suppose.

As for other industries, like consulting companies, retail goods companies, or medium-conservative industries, go for the pant suit if it’s more comfortable. Just make sure it fits all right. Steer away from bright colours, odd cuts, and center on a suit that fits. In fact, buy a cheaper suit, and get it tailored by a tailor, so you will never have to worry about how baggy something looks on you. (I ought to take my own advice and get my skirt suit taken in a bit).

Lastly, but not the least, the creative industries like marketing, advertising, or publishing; you could probably get away with a funkier colour and cut, since the industry expects a bit of personality and flair.

But the prevailing norm for the majority of companies is: be professional, look neat and clean, and take into account the corporate culture of where you’re applying. Also, always dress slightly better than your interviewer.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.