This is in response to what was written on a really great blog called The New PI Sets Up a Lab. She addresses the topic of what females should wear on a job interview and what to wear as a new PI.
The New PI gives the advice that a woman might want to wear at least one item that expresses her personality, something that gives her some flair. While this might work for women, and I’m not sure it does, this is terrible advice for men. Anything strange or particularly memorable about your clothes is only going to hurt you.
What qualifications do I have to say this? I’ve worked in one very old-school department with lots of conservative old professors at a fancy medical school and I’ve worked at one of the world’s most prestigious institutions that was in the vicinity of four other universities. I now work at a major university’s medical school. The point of bringing all this up is that I’ve probably seen at least 100 job talks, particularly since I made it a priority to attend them during my postdoc, and actually paid attention to what the candidates wore. I was also on two search committees this past year. There are two outfits that will work regardless of what type of department it is.