The most popular Google search term that leads people to my blog is some variation of “Is it okay to wear a maxi skirt to a job interview?”
I never wrote about this. What I wrote, in 2013, was a post about finding out I had to conduct an evaluation at the men’s prison, being advised not to wear form-fitting clothing to said prison, briefly questioning whether or not my maxi skirt was prison-appropriate, and having it not matter in the end. Early in the post, I mentioned that I’d been to the prison once before for a job interview. And, as dramatic clickbait, I titled the post “The Time my Maxi Skirt Almost Got me Thrown out of a Men’s Prison.”
So now, if you go to Google and type in “is it ok to wear a maxi skirt to a job interview?” this is the 5th result that appears:
It’s like Google read my post and then proceeded to get high, pass out while watching The Wizard of Oz, and have a psychedelic dream in which the events of my post occurred jumbled up and out of context.
It’s a disturbing sampling of phrases and ellipses, to say the least, and I can see how an anxious, Maxi skirt-wearing job seeker might see that and assume my outfit got me banned and blacklisted by a potential employer. So then they click, and ultimately waste four minutes of their valuable interview prep time reading a totally inane and meaningless anecdote about my anxiety.
And they never get their question answered. And I feel bad about that.
For years, I’ve been wanting to write an actual post addressing whether or not it’s okay to wear a maxi skirt to a job interview, since clearly there is a very real need for this in my online community. But here’s the thing: I don’t know either! After rolling the question around in my mind for almost three years now, I still can’t come to a conclusion about whether or not it’s okay.
I’ve spent a lot of time Googling it myself, and all I can tell you is that opinions on the matter are very mixed. One woman claims that she wore one to an interview and all five of her interviewers complimented her on it. Others say it’s a death sentence to your career.
On one hand, maxi skirts are stylish, comfortable, and can be made to look plenty professional. While I’d never suggest wearing one to interview at a corporate law firm, it might be just fine for a more artsy job, or a nonprofit. (The first time I wore one to work, my co-worker said “Wow! You actually look like a real clinician today.”)
But on the other hand, why risk it? If you’re not sure it’s okay, and I’m not sure it’s okay, and hundreds of Googlers aren’t sure it’s okay, and if several dozen online forums are dedicated to questioning whether or not it’s okay, then maybe we should all just take a deep breath and listen to Oprah’s advice: “Doubt means don’t.” (I actually think that’s terrible advice 99% of the time. If I never did anything I doubted, I’d never do anything at all. But this is the 1% of the time I can get on board.)
Because here’s the thing. Job interviews are nerve-racking enough as is. You want to be at your best, with as few distractions as possible. If worrying about the appropriateness of your outfit is going to take up any space in your head, then you will feel less confident and it won’t be worth it. Wear something you don’t have to question so that you can walk in feeling self-assured, and so that you can pour all your mental energy into knocking those interview questions out of the park.
My advice for interview apparel? Black pants, heels, a blouse, and a cheap but pretty blazer from Maurices (you’ll probably only wear it once). Then, once you land the job, go ahead and wear the hell out of that maxi skirt, as often as you damn well please. Also, wear leggings or thin shorts underneath to prevent chafing.
That’s all I got. I hope this has been more helpful than my story about going to prison. The second most popular search term that leads people here- and I’m not making this up- is “maxi skirts for men.” But my opinion on that, my friends, is for another day.