I ought to have had one when interviewing for medical school, but I didn't. I doubt it's a make-or-break situation, I still got in, but believe me that the anxiety I had sitting the conference room in a bright blue sweater surrounded by peers in very conservative professional attire -- well, there's a reason you stick with convention in situations like that. No need to make yourself more nervous than necessary.
However, this year I need a suit. I will be interviewing for a medical residency, AKA my First Grown-Up Job, AKA Incredibly High-Stakes Professional Courtship. I am not such a BAMF that I can interview now in a blue sweater and black capris again. I'm not even such a rockstar that I can interview in the awesome vintage dark olive green suit I loved (but have no use for). Dark, intimidating, conservative is the way to go.
Well, almost. The classic option is a black suit, of course, but then everyone wears that, so it's beneficial to do something a *little* bit distinct amongst that sea of black come interview day. Charcoal grey is recommended, or navy blue. The really baller do black with white pinstripes.
Me? I do purple. And plaid.
The pantsuit: nice lightweight wool, with cool details that I fell for: that folded collar, the tone-on-tone plaid, the of-the-season cropped trousers. I simply detest having things that are just like everyone else's. It's counter-intuitive to me, but pantsuits are perceived as less formal than skirtsuits, though still acceptable on the interview trail. I'm pretty sure this one will be returned, though. The pieces are the right sizes, but just the wrong fit. The jacket isn't shaped like me, and I'm not thrilled with the silhouette of the pants either.
The pants would get tailored in at the waist, which might help the fit of the legs, but I think I'm just more comfortable with a traditional wide trouser, rather than this cropped business. (Also, the pants are unlined, and consequently a bit itchy). The jacket also has a pleat at the low back, and you can see that it pulls open across my hips. Love the details, but this is not the right suit for me.
The skirt suit: polyester (boo) with some stretch (yay!), and a slight purple cast (interesting). Fitting the blazer is still not *quite* perfect, but it sits well at the shoulders and bust and the rest can be tailored. I've got a substantial bust/waist difference and quite a short torso; fitted jackets never fit on me without tailoring.
I've got to say, I feel much more like me in a skirt suit, and even more so when I ditch the jacket. This one is a keeper; a classy modern shape, construction with some movement ease (yay, stretch and kick-pleats!), and that just-off-of-black hue is due to this subtle purple pinstripe-dottiness. To me, it says "I look respectable and responsible from a difference, but when you get close you realize I have this fun side as well." Hopefully it would say the same to my interviewers...
I may go out looking for a pantsuit again -- it's recommended to have two suits, so that you're not panicked trying to get your only one back from the dry cleaner in time, and I may be shilling myself out in the frozen Midwest where pants are mighty advisable come December. Interview season is still six months away, though, so I've got time.
Thoughts? Favorite suit sources? Opinions on how these things fit? Commiseration in the First Job hunt? I'm all ears.