“Suit. Wear a suit.”
I’m getting that a lot. That is the general advice on the internet and from some administrative colleagues. I agree that women look extremely professional in suits.
That problem is that I am 5 feet tall. I look like a weird monkey playing dress-up in a suit. Actually, I have never worn one — at least, not out of the dressing room. I have never even come close to finding a suit that remotely approximates a collected outfit appropriate for my shape.
Clearly, there is a lot to be said for suits. For how many of you readers is a suit the be-all and end-all of interview attire?
On the other hand, are there any other appropriate options out there?
No doubt there is a fine line to walk between not-a-suit and completely inappropriate. The clothing I currently wear to work is designed to shield me from my students, who use me as a human tissue, and to enable my quick access to things close to the floor. So my daily personal brand of frumpy chic is in no way appropriate for an interview!
I realize that dressing well for an interview is an important way to demonstrate your gratitude and respect for a principal and their school. I very much want to do that, I just…am not going to do that wearing a suit.
Since I have already confessed that I have never really worn a suit, you won’t be surprised to hear that I did not wear one to any of the interviews I went on to find my current teaching position. I was offered every job for which I interviewed, despite my lack of suiting. I have also been part of interviews for staff members joining my school — not all of whom wore suits, and none of whom got or did not get the job due to their clothing. On the other hand, I have witnessed interviewees wearing inappropriate attire and it is very jarring and certainly does have an effect on the interviewers’ perception of them.
I have a fairly small window into the dynamics of professional education attire, so I’m really interested in other experiences, especially those of people who have recently been involved in the interview process.
So tell me: Suit or no suit?