Businesswomen in skirts make a better first impression

20 Sep

Women wearing skirts for business make a better first impression and are perceived to earn a higher salary, according to research from the University of Hertfordshire.

I know that the trouser suit hasn’t been in vogue for some years – and there’s been a recent debate about women such as Hillary Clinton continuing to ‘power dress’ with masculine-style suits –  but I think women should dress in what they feel most comfortable in. I feel personally much more confident and professional in skirts/dresses rather than trousers, in business situations the impression I am hoping to convey will surely go beyond what I’ve chosen to wear that day.

However, the study The Effect of Appearance on First Impressions did not include facial expressions or anything else that might reveal personality. It concludes: “The woman in the study was perceived more positively in a skirt suit than in a trouser suit. 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, and the skirt suit may achieve that balance without appearing provocative.”

As the research was carried out in conjunction with Mathieson & Brooke Tailors, it is perhaps no surprise that the study concludes that a made-to-measure suit for a man gives the impression that he is more confident, successful and wealthy.


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