Research says that for women to make a great first impression they need to ditch the pants and wear for a skirt.
The study also shows that men wearing a bespoke or made-to-measure suit instead of wearing an off-the-rack equivalent positively affect the judgements people make upon meeting them.
Let’s talk skirts versus pants though.
The research, done at the department of psychology at the University of Herfordshire, also found that opinions are formed within seconds of first meeting. When 300 people were shown eight images of women in pants suits or skirts and asked to give their first impressions, they preferred the women in skirts. The women were rated on the following five criteria: success, trustworthiness, confidence, flexibility and salary.
Looks or colours were not part of the study as the faces were blanked and everyone wore navy.
Professor Karen Pine who led the study said in a release, “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.”
When asked, Human Resources expert Sarah Paul said, “I tend to think that a woman who wears a skirt suit is capitalizing on an opportunity to differentiate herself, to stand out among her male counterparts. All men wear pants suits, most women opt for pants and the ones that wear skirts seem to stand out. This is what successful leaders do, they stand out and make you take notice.
The fact that she is in a suit (hopefully a stylish one at that) speaks to her professionalism, ambition, power. But taking it one step further by wearing a skirt and dressing in an overtly feminine way elicits personality characteristics more often demonstrated by women… support, empathy, sensitivity… which are all desirable traits of a leader in today’s workplace.”