Eastern formal or western formal for women
Wearing a formal dress is the first rule of any job interview and as always, things are so simple for a man. What should a woman wear? Let me make it more specific. What should the Indian woman wear? What is the definition of a formal dress for an Indian Woman? In the western countries, trousers, skirts etc. are highly accepted and now that we in India look upto them as our role models, we have also made that as part our formal dress. However in my 20 years of experience in corporate, academics and corporate training, I have come across several women who have confided in me about not been comfortable in western formals. And for all those I feel saree is a good option. But then the issue is somewhere else. A saree or a formal kurti is not wrong, what is disturbing is the bright colour or the bangles or the sparkling earrings or finger rings. An interview with background noise of dingling and jangling is any day not desirable. Nor are the sparkles or flashes of light from the glittering jewellery very comforting for an interview board. So do you think, Image Management should actually be something to be taught to Indian Women as early as from High school days?
We talk a lot about inequality in our society in terms of opportunities that a woman gets in our society. Now it seems it prevails in the way one needs to groom up as well. For men dressing up for interview means a formal trouser, shirt and suit with a tie being optional today. In case you are a student or fresher it is advisable to wear a tie as well.
However for women the situation is quite confusing. Several parts of our society is yet to approve western formals for women, especially for married ones. So an interview call means, for a woman, a huge decision making in terms of what she will wear.
However I personally feel that a more pressing question is how to look efficient, smart and decent at the same time. Women spend a lot of time looking good for the interview. Whereas, they should be spending more time in understanding how to look sincere and intelligent instead of beautiful. Whether you wear a salwar kameez or saree or business suit, you will not be judged as long as you do not give that opportunity to the selection board or the interview panel. What matters more is your confidence which can come in any dress. So next time you get an interview call, reach out for a dress in which you are very comfortable, except your pajamas. This is important so that you can focus on questions asked related to your qualification or job experience.