Pardon my making an executive decision here, but it seems that the “what to wear to an interview” thread that got started in the comments on a prior post should get its own line. Here is the original question: One grad student told me that her adviser said not to wear black at a jobtalk, nor shoes that were too stylish and “youthful.” This same adviser reportedly said that one wasn’t to dress too nicely, either, lest they look too wealthy and ‘unneeding of the job.’ The first few replies are here , which can be characterized as scary stories about people making you feel bad about your clothes. Apart from getting scared by academic legends, do people have any real opinions about what to do for an interview?
My opinion for what it is worth, since I am notoriously clueless about fashion. I once read a book giving advice about what to wear for various occupations that had general advice on the order of “spend 1 month’s income on your clothes”!!. For educators the advice was: “Try not to be too sloppy.” So I think that probably benchmarks us. Wear something you feel comfortable in that is on the dressy side of what you normally wear, so you will satisfy the people who feel you should look like you are making some sort of effort, but wear something that feels like “you” and not a stranger. You want people to notice you and not your clothes. If your normal comfortable style includes some fashion or pizazz, then go for it but avoid extremes. I also think women should avoid spike heels, but that is because I think they are equivalent to foot binding, and I hate to see young women give up on all the political advances we made when we insisted that women should wear shoes you can walk in.