Polls on hose, and thoughts on other interview accessories

What Kind of Hose Should You Wear to an #Interview? | CorporetteToday’s reader mail comes with a ton more of questions about interviewing…

I’m a 3L and have an interview next week with a panel of district court judges for a judicial clerkship. I have a few questions with regards to my upcoming interview:

1.) I (and the interview) are in the Midwest, so it’s cold and snowy outside. I am planning on wearing a black skirt suit and am wondering if it’s appropriate to wear black tights with my suit? Or would pantyhose (off-black) be more professional?

2.) What do I do about a coat? Is it ok to wear a wool coat over my suit? I’m not sure if there will be anywhere to hang it or leave it once I get to the courthouse. Or should I just leave it in the car and just suck it up during the walk to the courthouse from my car?

3.) What about a purse? All I’m planning on bringing with me are copies of my resume, writing sample, etc. so I don’t necessarily need a large bag, but I don’t know if it’s unprofessional to bring my purse and carry the paperwork in a leather portfolio.

Good luck on the interview!  We’ll go through all of your questions… [Read more...]

Reader Mail: Are colored tights ever conservative enough?

Are Colored Tights Ever Conservative Enough for Work? | CorporetteToday’s question is an interesting corollary to Thursday’s discussion on opaque tights…

For the fall, can you rock colored opaque tights (subdued forest green or burgundy) in with an otherwise conservative skirt suit/sheath dress? I work in a tech firm where only the business unit, which I’m not in, fully suits up. Problem is, there are so few women in the company and offices so scattered I can’t take cues from my female coworkers. Any thoughts?

This is interesting, as we were just drooling over the Ferragamo ad (pictured) while flipping through Harper’s Bazaar.

There are a few different ways to wear colored tights, obviously.  There’s the look above — head to toe color —  which, on the Ferragamo models, looks oh so chic and fashion-otherwordly, but in real life has a tendency to look like a bad ’80s movie.  There’s the “layered” look — wearing a lot of colors, amongst them colored tights; for example, a gray skirt, yellow tights, purple blouse.  There’s the “mod” look, wearing a loose-fitting, fairly drab dress (for some reason, the more potato-sacky the better) that is a few inches above the knees with a shock of color in the tights.  And there’s the “matchy” look, meant to elongate the legs, such as wearing an army green wool skirt with matching army green tights.

We’ve tried all of these looks and, honestly, for us, not many of them work for the office.  The mod look works well on the weekends, particularly if you’re going to be very active because you can wear flat-heeled boots, opaque tights, and be quite comfortable, stylish, and covered.  The other looks tend to look too clownish or odd.  But maybe that’s just us.  If you decide to try any of the looks, start conservative; for example, wear a pair of navy tights with a gray skirt and a black sweater and see how you feel that day.

Readers, what do you think — have you found a way to wear colored tights for the office?

Reader mail: Which tights are truly opaque?

The Best Opaque Tights | CorporetteReader M writes to us with a question…

Could you do a piece on where to find really good opaque tights? I would love to buy some Wolford pairs, but think $64 may be a bit out of my price range right now. I want TRULY opaque — not the kind that you can kind of see through at your knee.

Personally, we’re fans of Spanx’s reversible tights — because there’s a color on each side they seem much more opaque to us. We have the gray/black pair, and have been happy with the opacity of both colors. Our one little thing is that we wish the thick seam stretching below the belly-button weren’t there, or that if it’s still there, that it were more prominent on the gray than the black.  Readers, which tights do you swear by for opacity?
Pictured: SPANX ‘Two-Timin’ Tights, available at Nordstrom’s for $34. [Read more...]

Reader Mail: How to Look Professional and Cover My Bug Bitten Legs?

Today’s reader mail comes to us from a reader with an interesting dilemma:

I just scored 3 awesome interviews with publishing companies in the South.  I know I need to dress conservatively, but it’s so HOT down here in the South that I’m not sure what to wear. I don’t want to look like a freak all dressed in a suit when it’s 98F with 100% humidity. What would you suggest?  Also, I currently work at a summer camp, so my legs are covered with mosquito and chigger bites! I’m way more comfortable in a skirt than I am in pants, but should I wear pants just to cover up the bug bites? Would really appreciate any suggestions and advice!
This is an excellent question, and one we don’t necessarily know the answer to.  Unless your interviews are taking place outdoors, we would dress for air conditioning — which is to say, wear a regular skirt suit.  Layer, layer, layer in order to deal with the heat — if you’re taking public transportation to get to the interview you may want to wear just the skirt and a tank top, and then add a button-down and the suit jacket on top of those.

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Your bug-bitten legs are the most interesting question, for us, and we’re hoping the readers have some good advice for you. We would say that even though your legs are a bit marred, you should still wear a skirt suit:  the point isn’t that you’re displaying your “assets” as you would on a date, but rather that you’re wearing an outfit that, for whatever reason in today’s society, registers as the one that is the most conservative and professional thing to wear.  So theoretically it shouldn’t matter that your legs have bug bites all over them.  If you’re sensitive enough about them to cover them up, though, we recommend playing around with concealers.  For all-over coverage, Sally Hansen makes a spray-on concealer to help “tan” your legs and cover imperfections:  Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs Tan Glow, available at Drugstore.com for $10.95 (pictured at right).  For spot coverage, you may want to look into stage makeup like Ben Nye — it’s used a lot for covering tattoos, and won’t break the bank.  (If it’s just one or two really bad bug bites, you may be able to cover them with a band-aid, also.)
Photo credit:  Year Two, Day 337:  Hairy Legs and Bug Bites!, originally uploaded to Flickr by Brymo
Other reading:  Ask Metafilter

Poll Results: Most of You Really Don’t Like Fishnets

fishnets to conservative jobSo last week, we asked about fishnet tights – and whether they were ever appropriate for the office. It turns out that we failed to account for something that a lot of people thought was an important factor: the width of the netting. (Our apologies!) With the caveat, then, that our poll was imperfect (hey, aren’t they all?), the results were:

– 60% of you said they were never appropriate
– 24% said only if worn as trouser socks
– 13% said they were fine so long as the skirt/outfit was demure enough
– only 1% had a laissez-faire attitude about fishnets.

can you wear fishnets to a conservative jobCommenters noted that small-weaved fishnet tights added texture and style, and as long as the fabric was the color of your skin then it was acceptable for a casual day. One commenter (Style Goddess) felt so strongly hers were appropriate she sent in some pictures (above and at right) — we must agree, they look great on her. N.B.: Even those in favor of fishnets noted that these were not the accessory to choose the day you’ve got that court appearance, press conference, or stock holders’ meeting.

The poll is still going on — please weigh in!

Poll: Can Fishnets Be Worn at a Conservative Job?

can you wear fishnets to workA while back, someone commented that instead of nude hose they wore nude fishnets in the summer. This piqued our curiosity — we used to do this also, back in the days after college, but not in a long while — we stopped because it felt inappropriate. So we thought we’d take a poll… (Pictured: I Bought Fishnets! originally uploaded to Flickr by badlyricpolice.)

For our $.02, fishnet tights are generally inappropriate for the office environment. Let’s face it, they conjure up images of dancers (both professional and otherwise) and hookers — and that association is a little too much for bosses of either sex. Besides, the goal of a working wardrobe should be to avoid what we’ll call “the second look” — you don’t want any of your coworkers to look at you once casually in the hallway and then be forced to look a second time in order to answer the question, “Were my eyes deceiving me or is she really wearing that?” Even if they answer the question with a blase “ok, well, I guess that’s acceptable,” the second look in and of itself is something to be avoided. We would argue, though, that fishnet trouser socks could be appropriate as long as they’re in a neutral color. (Our reasoning here is that only perverts are staring at your ankles; otherwise, what you wear there is unlikely to elicit the dreaded second look.) [Read more...]