Are you required to wear a skirt suit for an interview, or are sheath dresses acceptable? We’ve talked about interview attire (including what to wear beneath a suit jacket) before, but let’s discuss again. Here’s Reader L’s question:
I have an upcoming call back interview at a big law firm. I am a 2nd year associate. Can I wear a Theory sheath dress and jacket or do i have to wear a skirt suit? I only ask because the Theory sheath dress is wonderful, comfortable, and super professional. The internet basically says absolutely not … but this is a West Coast based firm. Any thoughts are much appreciated!
For my $.02, I think that while a skirt suit is the default conservative option, pants suits are becoming more and more acceptable — and a sheath dress with a matching blazer isn’t that far behind. A few notes on this, though:
- ONLY wear a sheath suit that has a matching blazer. This doesn’t sound like Reader L’s problem, but I just wanted to throw it out there. The dress + blazer combo is great for any number of things — networking, informal interviews, presentations, etc. — but for an interview I’d stick with matching pieces that visibly read “suit.”
- Do the interview mirror test. Make sure that the hem (and especially the slit, if any) of the sheath dress doesn’t ride up too high, that the neckline doesn’t fall too low, and that there aren’t any other fun problems that might occur with a sheath dress. Obviously, make sure your bra straps are not showing at all.
- Assess the office before you go sleeveless. Sadly, the acceptability of going sleeveless is still a know-your-office situation — so if you wear a sleeveless sheath dress, be careful about removing your jacket if you get too hot.
Readers — particularly those on the West Coast — please chime in! Do you think a sheath dress + matching blazer is acceptable for an interview? Is it too informal?
(Pictured: Theory ‘Betty 2’ Stretch Sheath Dress, available at Nordstrom for $295.)
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