|Rosiland Russell puts the "Pow!" in Power Suit - from His Girl Friday|
G's current position will be ending sometime next year. She'll be looking for another job in the same line of work (mostly administrative within a creative field) and wrote,
Let's get this out of the way first: yes, pants are certainly OK.
Then it gets a little more complicated for most of us. While we always want to be considered for our skills and abilities, we still have to parse and control the messages our appearance delivers, even before we shake hands with the hiring manager. (If you're job seeking in a strictly corporate environment such as big legal or accounting firms, financial services industries, or high level executive positions in most industries, head right over to Corporette for wardrobing advice. My focus here is on those quasi-corporate or even casual business environments typical of arts, entertainment, tech, research fields.)
First (and only) rule: keep it simple. This isn't the time for pattern mixing, layering jewelry, trying out that creative silhouette. What you're wearing should contribute to a harmonious whole, putting You in focus.
Currency: I agree with G that the suited skirt is probably dated and a bit overkill (especially in her field and locale). You don't have to wear this season's latest runway look, but be mindful of the silhouettes, fabrics and patterns that are current. It's unfortunate, but we often are working against a bias that people over ___ years of age are "out of touch" so we don't want our appearance to reinforce that impression. While
Open toe vs. closed toe? I'm going to err on the side of caution here and say stick with a closed toe shoe for interviews.
She was also hoping to find pieces that she could incorporate into her regular work wardrobe. I've put together a couple of options that I think would look serious-but-not-stuffy and be appropriate for G's particular situation.
The first is more or less a pantsuit, but in a softer silhouette (this is from Eileen Fisher, but I've seen a lot of these softer jackets out there). It's a very simple and clean look with a single piece of statement jewelry. I've chosen a simple bag with an interesting texture.
You could swap out the loose shirt worn under the jacket above for something more fitted/tailored to take the level of formality up a notch.
The other option I suggested to G is to use coordinated separates. I've shown with trousers here, but she could just as well wear a sheath dress and opaque tights with the jacket.
Again, I've kept the individual pieces fairly simple and straightforward, and if she's investing in new pieces, she can pick items that coordinate with what's already in her work wardrobe. I've used black and grey in these ensembles which are safe bets for an LA/arts venue, but you could work these looks in other neutrals as well.
What do you think? Does your part of the world still demand a suit for interviewing regardless of the industry and position, or do you have more leeway?