Are pantyhose really necessary for a job a interview?
July 10, 2005 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Are pantyhose really necessary for a job a interview?

I know in the past, pantyhose have been a must for job interviews, particularly at conservative companies, but are they still 100% required?

I have an interview tomorrow and I am adamantly anti-pantyhose. Am I ok wearing a knee-length pencil skirt and closed-toe heels minus the nylons? It's a somewhat creative office environment, it's summer (and 90 degrees), and I'm young. And it seems like fewer and fewer women wear them these days anyway.

I've looked at some of those one-size-fits-all interview tips online and some of them just seem horribly antiquated.

I know this seems like a trivial question, but you always hear those horror stories about people not getting jobs for really weird reasons.
posted by awegz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total)
Why do anything which might diminish your chances?
posted by caddis at 6:38 PM on July 10, 2005

I would say not, but I also hate pantyhose. As long as your legs are neat, aka recently shaved and not stubbly, I can't see why not. I didn't wear hose to the interview for my current job and that was alright, and nobody wears it really for work at my company though we are pretty dressed up and the guys usually wear ties etc. To add a little to the "done-ness" of your outfit you can try using something like Jergen's Shimmer body lotion, which may make your legs look a little bit more polished. I wouldn't worry about the weird reasons for not getting a job too much, you don't have any way of predicting what bizarre quirck your interviewer might have, so it's useless to try and plan around it.

You could always wear pants too.
posted by orangskye at 6:44 PM on July 10, 2005

I hate ties, can I get out of wearing ties?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:45 PM on July 10, 2005

How anti-pantyhose are you--it just seems a very strange question--which is more important--possibly not getting the job or not wearing pantyhose--I am not sure how anyone could answer your question except the potential employer-- --why not wear the pantyhose--evaluate the work environment and if you are offered the position you can either take it or reject it based on whether it is anti-pantyhose friendly
posted by rmhsinc at 6:48 PM on July 10, 2005

Sorry, I guess I didn't explain the situation well, but some background would probably make the question look less silly.

This was a very last-minute job interview, I don't own any, and I don't know if I'm going to have time to run around the city to buy some (I live in Chicago nowhere near a dept. store so it would be a production to go get some). Just wondering if I should try to reaarange my schedule tomorrow to get some if it's really not a big deal.
posted by awegz at 6:54 PM on July 10, 2005

They sell cheap hose at most grocery/drug stores. Not ideal, but better than nothing. I'm with caddis - it wouldn't be important to me if I were interviewing you, but why risk it?
posted by ferociouskitty at 7:00 PM on July 10, 2005

I'm not sure it really matters. I stopped wearing pantyhose pretty early on in my professional career. It's never been an issue at any company I've worked at, including large technology companies and the national headquarters of a large religious denomination.

I'd be really concerned if a coworker, especially one in a senior position, noticed my legs to such an extent that pantyhose could become a topic.

My perspective is this: as a society, at least for the moment, pantyhose are over. Not required, not expected. Unblemished legs are permissible, and perhaps the norm.

That being said, I'd wear the dreaded hosebeasts if:
  • you have a creepy skin tone,
  • are a "cutter",
  • are interviewing at a small firm in the deep south,
  • or you simply look better in control-top.
Good luck.
posted by cior at 7:05 PM on July 10, 2005

Well, you know, everything depends, and we can't really know the job circumstances like you can. But for what it's worth, sure, what you describe sounds okay, because it's one situation for one specific job interview. If what you're really asking is, "Can I ignore something that seems like a basic office dress code because I don't like it and other people ignore it too?", well, that's a different question altogether, and you shouldn't ask it in this context. Good luck with the interview!
posted by JanetLand at 7:07 PM on July 10, 2005

Thinking some more, I think you should definitely go without the hose. If they love you, I can't believe it would make the difference.
posted by JanetLand at 7:10 PM on July 10, 2005

In 10+ years of interviewing, I've never noticed anyone wearing hose or not. I do think it's important to look polished and put together, but the individual style of that is not so important. I recently interviewed a candidate who really appeared as if she'd just rolled out of bed, and I got the sense that she didn't care about making a good impression. But I'm with you on hating (and not owning) hose and I'd say skipping them is fine - especially in a major city in a creative office environment.
posted by judith at 7:20 PM on July 10, 2005

Why not just wear some slacks? Forgive me, I'm a guy so I might be unaware of the heat dissipation issues, but I wear linen pants/jeans/khakis to work all the time without too much of an overheating issue. But when in doubt, err toward something that will definitely not create an issue, like pants?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:22 PM on July 10, 2005

That being said, I'd wear the dreaded hosebeasts if:
. . .

are interviewing at a small firm in the deep south,

When I worked at a large investment bank in New York the women wore pantyhose. For an interview I would do as caddis suggests - why take a chance?
posted by mlis at 7:25 PM on July 10, 2005

I'd vote for doing something that made it a non-issue. Maybe pants or a longer skirt. Some places are looking for the littlest excuse not to hire you so make them really search for a reason.
posted by dial-tone at 7:26 PM on July 10, 2005

it's summer (and 90 degrees), and I'm young.

I suggest a "velatissimo", ultrasheer, 15 deniers, Lycra

it'll make all the difference in the world -- it's really ultra-sheer, light, chic, but very sturdy. you can find plenty of models with no waistband. and they're perfect with miniskirts, too. invest in a pair, you won't regret it
posted by matteo at 7:27 PM on July 10, 2005

a definition of "deniers", for our non-metrosexual (or non-fetishist) male readers, link with a marginally NSFW pic is here:
This is an Italian measurement for knitting yarn which equals 5 centigrams per meter of yarn
. The weight of the denier is obtained by weighing 450 meters of thread of nylon, silk or rayon. If 450 meters weighs 5 grams, the thread is called a 100 denier thread. The base of 450 meters being the standard measure, the weight of the thread will determine its caliber. The lighter the thread (the less number of deniers) the finer the weave. A 15 denier yarn is twice as fine as 30 denier yarn. The most popular denier for day/evening is still 15d, 30 denier has been popularized as "business sheer", 70d as "service sheer". "ultra sheer" or "evening dress sheer" stockings can be 15d, 12d or 10d. The sheerest practical denier is 8d, which is so wispy sheer that it literally disappears on the leg! (and is so fragile that it can barely survive one wearing)
posted by matteo at 7:32 PM on July 10, 2005

I'd say go without. If it's really important to them that you wear pantyhose and you ARE wearing them and you get the job, what's going to happen when you have to wear them every day forever?
posted by undertone at 7:32 PM on July 10, 2005

I'd say that it depends on what you think will make you interview better. If you'd feel more relaxed and confident being dressed up in pantyhouse, then you should get some.
However, if the act of getting the pantyhose is going to stress and distract you, thus impairing your preparation for the interview, then I'd skip the hose.
I'd choose the direction that gives you the most confidence and ability to show them you are who they need for that job.
Me (well, --ahem--, not that I, being male*, would ever wear the stuff), well I'd spend the time preparing for the interview and convincing myself I'd just make up for the lack of hose with style and aplomb.

*nothing against males that do wear the stuff
posted by forforf at 8:36 PM on July 10, 2005

I recently interviewed for a position without pantyhose, and I got the job. My take? I wear what I think looks appropriate, not a costume pretending to be someone I'm not. If they are really uncomfortable with no pantyhose, then will you really be happy working there?
posted by abbyladybug at 8:42 PM on July 10, 2005

It won't matter if you wear pants :)

But seriously, I hate pantyhose too. My personal solution is to wear pants to work, but the last time I did interviews, I didn't bother to check if the candidates were wearing them or not. I think what's important is that you are comfortable and that you look nice. If you're more comfortable not wearing them, then don't.

Besides, do you really want to work for a place that would not hire you based on the fact that you didn't wear pantyhose?
posted by geeky at 9:20 PM on July 10, 2005

I also went for a job interview recently and didn't wear pantyhose (not owning any besides fishnet stockings in various shades, and I wasn't certain that those, even in nude, would be appropriate for a job interview). I got the job, and I also noticed that most of the women (ahem, the entire office is populated with women minions with a smattering of suit-and-tie wearing male managers -- I think I was hired for my lovely breasts rather than anything else) were bare-legged, and this in a "formal" office setting.

But . . . if I do need to wear pantyhose, I buy a 15 or 12 denier stocking. My waist isn't constricted, my legs are decent, and I am more comfortable all round. Stockings are brilliant; I love them.

Honestly, I think it likely doesn't matter if you wear them or not to the interview.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 9:55 PM on July 10, 2005

Yes, there are people who insist on certain dress standards in work attire. Yes, there are people who would decide not to hire someone based on these standards. I'm one of those people. Maybe this guy is, and maybe he isn't. Roll the dice or don't.

And by the way, I love the logic, "If they won't let you dress that way, would you really want to work there?" See Aesop, "The Fox and the Grapes."
posted by cribcage at 9:57 PM on July 10, 2005

Also, as to the pants thing -- I hate pants. In fact, I only own a single pair of jeans. So the pantyhose question can't always be solved by simply switching outfits.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 10:05 PM on July 10, 2005

awegz posted "Are pantyhose really necessary for a job a interview?"
Yes, but they should be carried in your purse and be used to strangle the interviewer should they allude to the unprofessional nature of stockingless legs.
posted by peacay at 3:16 AM on July 11, 2005

My vote is to wear the pantyhose, and I say this as someone who *hates* the damn things. A job interview isn't just about discussing your qualifications and experience; it's also about using every nonverbal signal at your disposal to show that you understand and can adapt to all the unspoken tacit norms of professional/career behavior. Maybe the office environment is creative and informal, but if you'd be meeting at times with corporate clients, your bosses will want to be assured that you can adjust to the kind of self-presentation they'd expect. Bottom line, to me, a job interview is a special occasion, not a normal day at the office, and your appearance should show you get that. I've known people to lose job opportunities for being too casually dressed; I've never known anyone to lose points by dressing with an extra degree of polish and formality.

And as noted, you can pick up a pair of pantyhose at a 24-hour drugstore or grocery store. Knock 'em dead, and then when you get home rip the damn things off and *burn* them. Good luck!
posted by Kat Allison at 4:47 AM on July 11, 2005

I worked at what's generally considered the most conservative mutual fund company in one of the US's snottiest (said with affection) cities, and even there stockings depended on the position that one was interviewing for.

If this is an administrative position, don't wear them. Bare legs are sexier, and admins seem to be chosen based largely on how good they'll look sitting outside an important person's office (yes, it's gross that it still works like that). If it's a more specialized position, wear stockings so that you seem very put together. I don't know if anyone consciously notes whether you're wearing them or not (except the men that you're working with when they're bored). But it has an affect regardless.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:13 AM on July 11, 2005

I've never worn pantyhose to any job interviews. In fact, I even scored my current job at a fairly conservative law firm with no pantyhose (while wearing a skirt) and with a lip ring, though the lip ring did have to go when I started working here. Heck, I even wore open-toed shoes, I didn't realize those were a poor choice.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 6:47 AM on July 11, 2005

Amen on the pants.

I personally love trouser socks or knee highs if I *must* wear something, though.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:14 AM on July 11, 2005

Anecdote: Just last month the major Savings and Loan I used to work for (my Mum still works there) okayed not wearing pantyhose. However, it is known to be a very conservative company in more ways than one.
posted by deborah at 9:33 AM on July 11, 2005

Most interviewers probably won't notice or care. But some will.

What are the chances that you will be interviewed by someone who cares? Probably not very high. Let's say 10%. Is not wearing hose worth a 10% chance of getting a black mark against you in the interview?

I would imagine that by now, you've already gone to your interview and my comment doesn't matter anyway.
posted by clarissajoy at 11:44 AM on July 11, 2005

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