23 October 2009

October 23rd, 2009 § 24 comments

23 October 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.
  • Ruffle Cami – Gap
  • Pinstripe Skirt – J Crew
  • Blue Cardigan – BR Outlet, birthday gift from mom
  • Belt – Target, altered by me
  • Sweater Tights – Banana Republic
  • Shoes – Off Broadway
Pencil skirt, cardigan, and heels have become my go-to professional uniform.  Today’s outfit is  basically a recreation of a look I wore several months ago to mark the end of the intense course I taught this summer.  Here I have made it weather appropriate by adding the grey sweater tights and a bit more colorful with the mix of bright blue and maroon.
Layers, originally uploaded by academichic.

This afternoon I will be moderating a discussion after offering m thoughts on a campus-wide lecture given by a prominent activist. I figure, this time, it’s ok if I am one of the most dressed up people there.

I have to say, before our recent “roundtable” discussion about interview-appropriate wear, I would have worn something pretty similar to this for an interview. Now, I think I would definitely loose the sweater tights and belt, but I think I would still wear the rest. Does it need a suit jacket or a button down to be interview-appropriate?


Shoes and tights, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 24 Responses to 23 October 2009"

  1. Sal says:

    Love those rich, dark colors together. And I think the only thing I’d change for an interview is the belt – lose it or go with something plainer.

  2. Audi says:

    This is beautiful — what an imaginitive color combination.

  3. As someone currently on the job market, yes, you need a matching blazer. As one of your readers commented on your roundtable post, you have plenty of time to let your individual fashion sense shine once they hire you. I’m doing a standard suit (3 pieces– skirt, jacket, pants) a la J. Crew or Banana Republic. Blazer for pre-interview dinner with non-matching wool pants (also suiting separate– think black and grey), matching blazer and pants for interview day one, matching blazer and skirt for interview day two. There still are ways to personalize a suit– with a cute blouse instead of a button-down, or by adding a scarf. As long as you feel put-together, keep in mind that no one is going to be judging you on your fashion sense. Hell, most of the faculty in my department still were wearing clothes they acquired in high school or college. My advisor in particular had a patchwork wool sweater with pom-poms.

  4. your last three looks have been so perfect. definitely taking notes!

    I too was thinking about something like this for interviews (though, for the top half, a fitted black v-neck sweater and ascot tie blouse). Good to know I would have been handicapping myself in an already abominable market.

  5. Genevieve says:

    I haven’t posted before, I don’t think, but I want to say, those saturated / bold colors look GREAT on you. I know from reading your posts that you love neutrals but these rich tones do great things for you; it’s a really good look.

  6. Megan says:

    Oh I love these colors together!! You guys really inspire me with the way you mix colors together, especially since you all do it in slightly different ways.

  7. Sabrina says:

    I had the luck of going to a top 20 PhD program that had the highest ratio of female to male professors in the (very large) discipline. Everyone of the women I spoke to recommended a making jacket. I think yours is a perfect look for teaching, and even for a conference presentation, but for interviews of any kind (including at the National Conference), we wear matching jackets in our field. Most women for for pants suits, but I wore a skirt suit (plain three button grey pinstripe wool from Banana Republic).
    I think the general norm is go business formal for interviews in our discipline if you are a junior scholar. For senior hires, especially if you are well respected, professors wear whatever they please (sometimes to the opposite extreme).

  8. Sabrina says:

    p.s. Part of the reason that we were counseled to go so conservative was because there are always these departments full of older white dudes who are already suspicious of bringing in young women for interviewees. Anything too casual or cute will just set this “old boys network” reaction off- “She’s not serious about this,” etc. It sucks but it’s true. And in this academic job market we can’t be too picky, as these dinosaurs who will be retiring soon anyway. I’m amazes how many departments are virtually all men!

  9. Erika says:

    I appreciate that those who are more experienced are offering their advice about interviewing attire, but I for one would like to know the respective disciplines of the advice-givers. Such disclosure would help me better understand how much weight the opinions of others should carry in my own case.

  10. chiara says:

    I really like the whole ensemble. I love your shoes and want to steal your skirt (what size are you… just kidding!)
    I like that you look so cozy and comfortable yet very very professional. And I love the pairing of colors.

  11. I love it! Can I make a confession? I don’t own a single belt. But looking at this week’s posts on here, I think it is evident that I am going to have to change that state of affairs, don’t you agree?

  12. Clare says:

    I usually go pretty formal for interviews, but I think this might be okay. The rich dark colors give off an air of “seriousness” and professionalism that pastels just wouldn’t convey in an interview setting. I truly love this outfit!

  13. gina says:

    Great outfit! I love the colors of the sweater and belt, and the textures of the blouse, skirt and tights.

  14. N. says:

    Again, in my discipline (English) matching suit wear is the norm for job interviews. Also, something to keep in mind ladies, watch your skirt hems. I heard a story of a female colleague who thought her skirt appropriate (and it was) until she sat down in the interview chair, which was low and the seat was angled in such a way (upwards) that her skirt suddenly became inappropriate. She spent a good deal of the interview tugging at her skirt and trying to situate herself– that she didn’t feel that she performed her best in the interview because she was more concerned with her clothing than her conversation.

    You want to be as comfortable, and confident, as possible.

  15. WendyB says:

    You can’t go wrong with a skirt like that.

  16. HistorySpice says:

    Have you seen the recent opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Ed about cleavage and job interviews? While this article was not about the academic job market, it really does give one pause. Dressing the way that you (and I) tend to in our normal day to day academic lives might not only set off the old-boy network chain reaction, but also alienate many female academics. I always err on the side of conservatism in dress when it comes to interviewing.

  17. N. says:

    HistorySpice: I DID read that article. I was surprised at the author’s reaction– which I thought was a little extreme. The comments following the article were quite interesting.

  18. HistorySpice says:

    I admit that the article really irritated me. I was happy to see that most of the reader comments expressed more or less my sentiment of exasperation that the Chronicle would run such a piece. I also looked at the original NYT article and in neither picture did I see very much cleavage. It also became apparent from the Times article that this woman nailed the job interview and that the other person ranking candidates was a woman. I do think that in academia, caring about fashion is fraught with peril or atleast potential problems. That’s why I blog anonymously.

  19. Trish says:

    Gorgeous. Great color combination.

  20. Lisa says:

    So, so, so pretty!

  21. Doctoressa says:

    What a stunning color combination. This outfit looks perfect for your duties – hope the talk went well!

    To make this outfit interview-able in my field (history), I would wear a blazer in place of the cardigan, no belt, and black tights rather than the sweater tights. I would also probably wear closed-toe shoes.

    However, you and all the Chics are so well-dressed and so attuned to self-presentation, I trust you three to have observed job candidates and determined the range of interview-appropriate dress in your field. I think that the standards really can vary quite a bit by discipline.

  22. Nadine says:

    Wow, you really suit the fitted retro-sixties silhouette. Smokin’ hot! Love the colours and the tights.

  23. Rebekah says:

    If you squint hard enough, our outfits look alike:


    Your Color Review posts had a big impact on my dressing, I’ve started looking for more colorful accessories.

    I expected to hate the red and blue together, but it felt surprisingly good.

  24. Matilde says:

    This outfit is lovely, and would be a great teaching outfit once you have the job. However, this outfit will not do for a job interview.

    I’m in economics, but I’ve interviewed lots of candidates and have many friends in other fields. It is almost universally true that the standard for junior job candidates in academia is a suit. Most people who insist otherwise are usually other graduate students, not people who sit on lots of hiring committees. Every stylish person should have a suit in their wardrobe anyway, so consider this an occasion to invest in one.

    While a job interview is not a place to showcase your fashion sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage. A suit can be everything from dowdy to smashing. The first thing is getting the right suit. A well-cut, modern, flattering suit is the key. This means trying on multiple suits and using a tailor. And don’t scrimp – this is an investment piece. Cheap suiting fabric wrinkles easily, the labels don’t lie flat, and they don’t hold up well after multiple dry-cleanings. You’ll be mixing these pieces in your professional wardrobe for years, so don’t consider this a one-time purchase.

    Once you’ve got the perfect suit, you can subtlely give it a little personality. In a creative field you can get away with a pretty patterned blouse and earings. At a B-school interview play it conservative with a fitted menswear shirt in a flattering color. Universally great things to style a suit are a great haircut, smashing eyewear, a decent manicure, and a nice watch.

    My two cents, M.

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