Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

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Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:15 am

For whatever reasons I'm always more comfortable in pants than in skirts. I've heard before that some old and/or conservative people take skirts as a sign of respect. Is this still a thing today? I don't really want to work for a place where it would be a problem for women to wear pants, but I also don't want to miss a good firm because of one mean partner/associate. Thoughts? Which firms are likely to frown upon pants?

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:19 am

Im not sure if there are really partners out there who frown upon women in pants. No one is that full of it. All my female friends who wore pants are employed and never once had issues during the oci.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:56 am

I worked for a very, very old judge who took an instant negative view towards any woman wearing a pant suit.

He used to tell his female interns on the first day to never wear pant suits.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Nebby » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:46 am

Where are you interviewing?

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:42 am

It wouldn't shock me if certain very old-school people found it inappropriate. However, as you say, you don't want to work for those kind of people anyway. I think there are many, many more places where no one would care, so I wouldn't worry too much about limiting your options by doing it.

Caveat: I am a dude.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:52 am

I am a female in the same position as you. I didn't wear a skirt to my biglaw interview and got the job with no problem. I think, for me, the decision came down to weighing how uncomfortable I would be in a skirt (extremely so) vs. the potential points I'm going to lose for showing up in pants from one or a handful of people. You may be different, but for me, wearing a skirt would throw me off my game to such an extent that I'd botch the interview and be weird due to being SO uncomfortable. Use your own judgment. I doubt that it would cost you a job, and I don't think wearing a skirt is going to help someone who otherwise wouldn't have gotten the job.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:I worked for a very, very old judge who took an instant negative view towards any woman wearing a pant suit.

He used to tell his female interns on the first day to never wear pant suits.

I think judges are different from firms, though.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby JenDarby » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:38 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:It wouldn't shock me if certain very old-school people found it inappropriate. However, as you say, you don't want to work for those kind of people anyway. I think there are many, many more places where no one would care, so I wouldn't worry too much about limiting your options by doing it.

Caveat: I am a dude.

wait what? for some reason I've always thought you were a woman

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:05 pm

JenDarby wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:It wouldn't shock me if certain very old-school people found it inappropriate. However, as you say, you don't want to work for those kind of people anyway. I think there are many, many more places where no one would care, so I wouldn't worry too much about limiting your options by doing it.

Caveat: I am a dude.

wait what? for some reason I've always thought you were a woman

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby patentlitigatrix » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:54 pm

This is such a hard thing to answer yes or no. I am tempted to say "just wear a skirt to be safe," but I am someone who is far more comfortable in skirts than pants, so it is pretty easy for me to say that. It may matter where you are interviewing. I would think east coast is going to be more conservative than west coast, but it could also depend more on the firm. I do know of some attorneys that worry it shows bad judgment to not dress as conservatively as possible for an interview (I don't share that view, but throwing it out there). I think the concern comes from reactions of judges, as others have mentioned. I have actually seen a female partner I work with get asked to leave a courtroom by the judge due to attire, and I as a junior associate had to do the argument on a preliminary injunction in a huge huge huge case. That is terrifying, but obviously an extreme case.

FWIW, I am an OCI interviewer and I really don't care about the pants/skirt thing. I care more than the interviewee looks put together. Skirt suit, pant suit, and even dress/jacket work in my book.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:57 pm

this isn't directly relevant to your oci process OP but my judge (federal, prestigious court) does not allow pants for women. He doesn't directly say but its passed down by the clerks.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby patentlitigatrix » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:this isn't directly relevant to your oci process OP but my judge (federal, prestigious court) does not allow pants for women. He doesn't directly say but its passed down by the clerks.


Yeah, this is common I think. I have been before plenty of judges where I heard through the grapevine that you simply can't wear pants in their courtroom. I actually had a male law clerk tell me over the phone that whoever is planning to come argue a motion I was calling about should be sure to wear a conservative skirt suit and a high-necked shirt (all female team). That combined with the whole partner getting asked to leave basically means I would never risk wearing pants to court. Admittedly insane.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 18, 2016 3:11 pm

patentlitigatrix wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:this isn't directly relevant to your oci process OP but my judge (federal, prestigious court) does not allow pants for women. He doesn't directly say but its passed down by the clerks.


Yeah, this is common I think. I have been before plenty of judges where I heard through the grapevine that you simply can't wear pants in their courtroom. I actually had a male law clerk tell me over the phone that whoever is planning to come argue a motion I was calling about should be sure to wear a conservative skirt suit and a high-necked shirt (all female team). That combined with the whole partner getting asked to leave basically means I would never risk wearing pants to court. Admittedly insane.


Yeah judges seem to prefer the conservative dress model even if they are more liberal themselves. I know of multiple "liberal" big time judges where it would be a huge issue if you wore pants as a lady.

Upshot OP- If you can wear a dress even for just a few days, do it. While it might be sexist to have to follow a different dress code because some people are more conservative, its not worth the hassle if you do run into an interviewer that will straight ding you for wearing pants. Besides, wearing pants in the summer sucks anyway.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:16 pm

The problem with wearing a skirt suit in the summer though is the debate about hose/no hose. :(

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:18 pm

OP here. Thanks for all the helpful responses!

I am asking about OCI/call-back interviews only. I kind of hate skirts, but can bear wearing them for a few days if necessary. Seems the unfortunate reality remains that you'd better be in skirt :roll:

And, yes, hose… I guess only nude pantyhose would be okay, right?

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:For whatever reasons I'm always more comfortable in pants than in skirts. I've heard before that some old and/or conservative people take skirts as a sign of respect. Is this still a thing today? I don't really want to work for a place where it would be a problem for women to wear pants, but I also don't want to miss a good firm because of one mean partner/associate. Thoughts? Which firms are likely to frown upon pants?


I've worked in NY, London, SV and LA, all in biglaw. No one will bat an eyelash if you wear pants. Don't worry about that. Just make sure your pants are hemmed properly for whatever heels you wear.

Yes, all these stories about judges are true. But law firms are generally more liberal than judges, and you won't have an issue with pants. It's not what matters. Promise.

If you wear a skirt, wear hose. Even if it's one bajillion degrees out. Shows you understand how business works, even if no one at the firm really wears hose. Nordstrom has a ton on sale right now for the anniversary sale, and you can get good recs on corporette re your body type and hose too. Yeah, are hose lame? Sure, but it's an interview and you should dress up. Protip, always keep a second pair in your purse for when they inevitably run during your interviews. Ask me how I know.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the helpful responses!

I am asking about OCI/call-back interviews only. I kind of hate skirts, but can bear wearing them for a few days if necessary. Seems the unfortunate reality remains that you'd better be in skirt :roll:

And, yes, hose… I guess only nude pantyhose would be okay, right?


As a corollary, if I'm dark-skinned, can I get away with black pantyhose, or am I also expected to wear nude pantyhose? And does anyone have some good sites for non-light people to get nude pantyhose?

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby JenDarby » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the helpful responses!

I am asking about OCI/call-back interviews only. I kind of hate skirts, but can bear wearing them for a few days if necessary. Seems the unfortunate reality remains that you'd better be in skirt :roll:

And, yes, hose… I guess only nude pantyhose would be okay, right?


As a corollary, if I'm dark-skinned, can I get away with black pantyhose, or am I also expected to wear nude pantyhose? And does anyone have some good sites for non-light people to get nude pantyhose?

I always went with either dark grey or black sheer hosiery for interviews, as did a large majority of my classmates.

Nude is obviously fine too, but I could never find shades that matched close enough and/or didn't look shimmery.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby emkay625 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the helpful responses!

I am asking about OCI/call-back interviews only. I kind of hate skirts, but can bear wearing them for a few days if necessary. Seems the unfortunate reality remains that you'd better be in skirt :roll:

And, yes, hose… I guess only nude pantyhose would be okay, right?


As a corollary, if I'm dark-skinned, can I get away with black pantyhose, or am I also expected to wear nude pantyhose? And does anyone have some good sites for non-light people to get nude pantyhose?


You're not expected to wear nude hose. They make several brown and dark brown shades that will match your skin tone, wear those instead. Or black would most likely be fine as well.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby emkay625 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:For whatever reasons I'm always more comfortable in pants than in skirts. I've heard before that some old and/or conservative people take skirts as a sign of respect. Is this still a thing today? I don't really want to work for a place where it would be a problem for women to wear pants, but I also don't want to miss a good firm because of one mean partner/associate. Thoughts? Which firms are likely to frown upon pants?


I'm in Texas, and many of my classmates wore pants to OCI and did not have a problem. If you want to wear pants, wear pants.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:15 pm

emkay625 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the helpful responses!

I am asking about OCI/call-back interviews only. I kind of hate skirts, but can bear wearing them for a few days if necessary. Seems the unfortunate reality remains that you'd better be in skirt :roll:

And, yes, hose… I guess only nude pantyhose would be okay, right?


As a corollary, if I'm dark-skinned, can I get away with black pantyhose, or am I also expected to wear nude pantyhose? And does anyone have some good sites for non-light people to get nude pantyhose?


You're not expected to wear nude hose. They make several brown and dark brown shades that will match your skin tone, wear those instead. Or black would most likely be fine as well.


Brown hose don't match either (or it looks just as bizarre as wearing light-colored nude hose); that's why I was asking whether or not someone knew of a site/store that caters specifically to those with darker skin (which would hopefully include a wider variety of colors). Thanks for the tip regarding the black hose, though.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby patentlitigatrix » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
emkay625 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the helpful responses!

I am asking about OCI/call-back interviews only. I kind of hate skirts, but can bear wearing them for a few days if necessary. Seems the unfortunate reality remains that you'd better be in skirt :roll:

And, yes, hose… I guess only nude pantyhose would be okay, right?


As a corollary, if I'm dark-skinned, can I get away with black pantyhose, or am I also expected to wear nude pantyhose? And does anyone have some good sites for non-light people to get nude pantyhose?


You're not expected to wear nude hose. They make several brown and dark brown shades that will match your skin tone, wear those instead. Or black would most likely be fine as well.


Brown hose don't match either (or it looks just as bizarre as wearing light-colored nude hose); that's why I was asking whether or not someone knew of a site/store that caters specifically to those with darker skin (which would hopefully include a wider variety of colors). Thanks for the tip regarding the black hose, though.


I feel you. Pantyhose and foundation/powder make me want to scream. I would try to go to a higher end department store. I have had luck at Nordstrom and Saks.

I have also worn black hose with a black suit, both for interviews and for court. I know others may say it is a no-no, but if you are darker-skinned, have black hair, and are wearing a black suit/shoes, it is not very noticeable. Plus if you really can't match skin color to hose, it sue as hell looks better than wearing some bizarre looking shade. There are jet black and soft black, so you may want to try both to see what you think looks better.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby JenDarby » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:41 pm

I've never heard people say black is a no-no. Nearly everyone I saw in NYC wearing hosiery (be it interviewing students or practicing lawyers) in 3 years of law school and 2 years post grad wore sheer gray or black. It looks better on almost everyone IMO.

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:54 pm

I think it's regional. NYC is the kingdom of black. In some parts of the country, black hose can signal cocktail party/evening wear. I agree the soft black or "off black" is often better (and that if everyone where you are wears black then absolutely no problem).

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Re: Okay for women to wear pants at interviews?

Postby emkay625 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
emkay625 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the helpful responses!

I am asking about OCI/call-back interviews only. I kind of hate skirts, but can bear wearing them for a few days if necessary. Seems the unfortunate reality remains that you'd better be in skirt :roll:

And, yes, hose… I guess only nude pantyhose would be okay, right?


As a corollary, if I'm dark-skinned, can I get away with black pantyhose, or am I also expected to wear nude pantyhose? And does anyone have some good sites for non-light people to get nude pantyhose?


You're not expected to wear nude hose. They make several brown and dark brown shades that will match your skin tone, wear those instead. Or black would most likely be fine as well.


Brown hose don't match either (or it looks just as bizarre as wearing light-colored nude hose); that's why I was asking whether or not someone knew of a site/store that caters specifically to those with darker skin (which would hopefully include a wider variety of colors). Thanks for the tip regarding the black hose, though.


I apologize, brown was a generalization on my part. If you go to a department store (Nordstrom, etc.), they'll have higher end hose that come in 10-15 shades and hopefully some of them will work for you. A close friend of mine had this same issue and found hose for her that worked at Macy's. I can't remember the brand, but she ended up paying about $12 a pair. She says she rarely got runs though, so maybe the higher price is justified. idk.



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