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Job Interview wear for middle-aged women

oldtimeyfanoldtimeyfan Registered User Posts: 55 New Member
edited March 2010 in Parent Cafe
For a middle-aged woman interviewing for a professional job (attorney, etc.), which is more professional-looking - a skirted suit or a pants suit (assuming both are high quality)? What if you have a figure (and legs) like Hillary Clinton? What if you have varicose veins on your lower legs? Should the question be instead, which outfit is less likely to get you rejected for age reasons?
Post edited by oldtimeyfan on

Replies to: Job Interview wear for middle-aged women

  • sallyawpsallyawp Registered User Posts: 2,059 Senior Member
    Either choice would be completely fine. I would recommend wearing whichever one will make you feel more confident.
  • UCDAlum82UCDAlum82 Registered User Posts: 1,084 Senior Member
    While we have the eye of the fashionistas, okay, how about a middle-aged woman going on a first date? Neighborhood bar/restaurant. I'm not skinny, and it would be nice if I looked like I bought clothes in the last decade, but I don't need to look really young. (And jeans make me look fat and old.)
  • tonerangertoneranger Registered User Posts: 3,723 Senior Member
    oldtimey... if your legs are like Hillary's go with the pants suit. Your legs probably look MUCH better but if this is what you think, it can affect your confidence.

    I know some execs who want their senior corporate women to always wear skirts. I wouldn't want to work for those men!
  • JustAMomOf4JustAMomOf4 Registered User Posts: 4,563 Senior Member
    <<<(And jeans make me look fat and old.) >>>
    Honey, you are wearing the wrong jeans. seriously. From your user id, I would say that I am a year older and I am definitely not skinny! Go buy a new outfit and have fun! :)

    oldtimeyfan - if it's winter you can wear a skirt and boots, however as we are moving into spring go ahead and wear slacks. it's okay - really.
  • Puzzled88Puzzled88 Registered User Posts: 1,120 Senior Member
    UCDAlum - go to the library and check out How Not to Look Old by Charla Krupp. It has lots of good, common sense advice on how to stay looking current without trying to look really young. As to your actual outfit, have you ever tried on trouser jeans? I have some from The Gap but lots of companies make them. If you wore some in dark denim and then maybe a fitted top that had some built in shirring to camouflage any little bumps. Maybe with a V neck that shows a tiny bit of cleavage. Add some cute shoes (see the book for good advice) and fun jewelry you'll look great.

    PS if the pockets on the trouser jeans pull open, get your dry cleaner seamstress to sew them closed.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,532 Senior Member
    I'm middle aged, and I interviewed for my current job wearing a suit with pants. I felt that I had no other choice because I have a conspicuous 10-inch surgical scar on my lower leg. But my job is in an environment where business casual is considered appropriate in the office and any outfit with a jacket is considered appropriate for outside meetings, so my attire was appropriate. In a more formal environment, it might not be.

    In my opinion, the fabric, color, and cut of the suit are probably more important than whether it has a skirt or pants. That awful orange suit that Hillary Clinton wore at the Democratic Convention would have been just as awful if it had a skirt. But if your suit is conservative, well-made, and dark gray, black, or navy, with or without subtle pinstripes, I think it looks professional regardless of whether it has a skirt or pants.
  • worknprogressworknprogress Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    Agreed - it is all about feeling confident and let's face it, whatever your politics, Hillary always looks very pulled together and you can't possibly be interviewing more a more visible, professional position than Secretary of State.

    As for dating - woot - good for you. One of my closest friends started dating about two years ago, eight years after her husband passed away. While the whole experience provided some GREAT stories, the upshot is that on Valentine's day we attended her wedding. She said it is pretty uplifting finding romance after 50! Dear friend was also not a jeans gal, so she wore great slacks, sweaters, blouses, vests, etc. always looked very nice.

    You might need to start a new thread to tell us about your experiences!
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,014 Senior Member
    I am also in the camp of pant suit is perfectly acceptable. 20+ years ago I used to only wear skirts, but in the last 5 years only pants for me. D1 just interviewed at banks this winter, she only wore pant suits (it was freezing out), fitted right in.
  • oldtimeyfanoldtimeyfan Registered User Posts: 55 New Member
    My professional wear role models are Hillary Clinton and SOH Nancy Pelosi, especially Pelosi, who always looks elegant in her pant suits. With Pelosi, what I notice are her shoes. They are very current and pretty without being frivolous. Shoes are another challenge for me. As women hit middle age, their feet often widen. Between that and just the fact of aging, wearing really high heels (3 inch or over) becomes painful and frankly, stupid. But even without the height, finding good quality, fashionable shoes in wide sizes is not easy.
  • worknprogressworknprogress Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    Oldtimey - oh, you just hit on my fashion dilemma! I think our feet widen, but only in the toe box - not the heel. Finding shoes that fit in the front without the heel flopping out is so difficult. I never had a problem finding shoes until the last five years or so. I was so spoiled.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    Honey, you are wearing the wrong jeans. seriously

    First make sure your underwear fits- ( I mean like bras- it makes all the difference).
    I don't really like much underwear- I have some tactile defensiveness issues- but even 26 year old actresses, wear SPANX & if it gives you confidence- it's worth it.
    They are pretty comfortable, I wear them because some stuff shows every singly freckle, let alone bump.

    While they don't necessarily fit those who aren't a standard size, ( & thin), the pants and jackets from JCrew, can give you an idea of how to put something together that looks " new" & not 1960's. ( Depending on the type of interview- will depend on how far you want to go- I mean new by, aware of relative fashion trends/not stuck on them, not that you have to go buy a new wardrobe)

    For a date- if you really don't want to wear jeans- alot depends on body type- look on oprah or one of the fashionista web sites, they have lots of makeovers for women who are stuck in whatever & it doesn't take huge change to change the way you look.

    I really don't like pants- I think it is the sensory thing, jeans are comfortable but pants are not. I wear skirts if I am not wearing jeans. But a lot depends on your personal style- you aren't going to feel comfortable, no matter how good somebody thinks it looks on you if it isn't " you".

    I like to wear things like a fitted suit jacket and a tank with jeans, or a floral dress with a biker or jean jacket, or a cashmere sweater set with my holeyest jeans.

    Trying on clothes is exhausting ( and can be depressing :( )

    BUt one of these web sites might help you get a better idea of what kind of jeans to at least try on & what to look for.

    Jeans - Designer Jeans - Top Brand Jeans | Zafu.com

    My True Fit - Matches You to Designer Jeans that Fit.

    Internet Jeans: Find Your Fit - The Early Show - CBS News
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    But even without the height, finding good quality, fashionable shoes in wide sizes is not easy.

    I have always had wider feet- not quite enough to need a wide- but not narrow either. I also have a high arch & the only slip ons I can really wear are my ariat cowboy boots <B

    But I recommend Born shoes, comfortable & stylish and very well made
    If you can't find what you want locally, it's hard to beat Zappos service.

    Or Dansko
    I bought a pair of these last year, when the store down the street was having a sidewalk sale.
    They were very comfortable to walk around the hills of S.F.
  • LergnomLergnom Registered User Posts: 7,926 Senior Member
    I've interviewed a number of middle-aged women for jobs and my advice is to wear something that you like because you'll feel more like you and it's you they're going to hire. I guess you can say "confidence" but I'm thinking more about how when you interview and the person seems like he or she is really there in front of you and you like what you're hearing then you're ready to give it a shot. If you dress so you feel like you, then you're more likely to be you.
  • HannaHanna Registered User Posts: 14,213 Senior Member
    Re: dating wear, "What Not To Wear" shows excellent casual and dressy outfits for social occasions. Their formula for casual is a straight-leg trouser jean worn with a heel (boot or sandal), colorful V-neck top, and a casual blazer, and then some fun beads or earrings. If all of this fits you well, it can make a non-skinny middle-ager look like a million bucks.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Registered User Posts: 40,488 Senior Member
    Can't link to the blog, but google Corporette. Lots of good advice there.
This discussion has been closed.