Office Dressing to Impress

How the Fairer Sex Should Dress

It seemed that back in the 1980s – since there was a battle by women for egalitarian – the more females dressed like males, the greater their success would be.  But now that has changed.  A recent study co-led by Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire, UK, in conjunction with Mathieson & Brooke Tailors has found that women are today “considered more confident and more likely to earn a higher salary when wearing a skirt instead of trousers [pants].”  And it seems that these findings are indeed new since earlier studies have indicated rather that opposite – that women should try to dress similarly to men if they want to up their success chances.

The findings were based on three hundred individuals being asked for “snap judgments” of images of women in pant suits or skirts.  They favored those in the skirts.  Eight images were presented on five areas: confidence, flexibility, salary, success and trustworthiness.

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The skirt and trouser suits were both navy and made from the same fabric, and all facial features were removed by pixelation. Scientists found that after just three seconds, the participants made up their mind and rated the women in the skirts more positively than those in the trouser suits.   As Professor Pine noted, “first impressions are formed rapidly and are often highly accurate.  After seeing a face for just one second, people make judgments about another’s personal and occupational attributes. Women generally have a wider choice of dress style for work than men, but still have to maintain an identity that balances professionalism with attractiveness.  The skirt suit may achieve that balance without appearing provocative. What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress really is worthwhile and could even be the key to success.”

Pine also warned that while women should try to  look feminine, they should be careful as to the length of their skirts and neckline since provocative clothing definitely doesn’t promote success in the workplace.