The law blog, Above the Law, posted a piece on how summer associates at law firms should dress. The advice is offered by Professor Anna Akbari of New York University and primarily focuses on women as “ladies just have a lot more to deal with when it comes to dressing for work in a professional setting.”
The pragmatic tone of the piece is reflected by the first item:
“Skirt suit or no skirt suit? If you’re going to wear a suit, a skirt suit registers better than a pant suit. In male-dominated fields like law, skirts and dresses are particularly rewarded, as they are more appealing to men. In interview situations in particular, women should always wear a skirt or dress, as it is heavily favored over pants by interviewers (many of whom are men).”
On the one hand the advice offers real world tips on how to impress those in power and advance one’s career and for women there are more pitfalls than for men (although there are many ways men can be slovenly and unkempt). On the other hand, the question is left open as to why male interviewers prefer skirts and dresses and what possibly lecherous inclinations one is playing to by dressing that way.
I guess decades in the future when my daughter may have to dress for professional positions, I hope she has a chance to read such advice, analyze it through various critical lenses, and decide to follow it or not. I am not optimistic enough to suggest that the world will change to render the advice moot.
(for more analysis see Jezebel.com)