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missfleur

Odd Satorial Choices

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So, I obviously won’t name names or programs, but at one of the interviews I went to in clinical psychology an applicant showed up in a sweater and what at first looked like jeans but were more casual grey ponte pants. I also had  another interview in a past cycle where someone wore a cocktail dress and cocktail sling back shoes. 

At both I was with applicants that were all in some sort of suit expect them. They stood out and not in a good way.

I don’t know if anyone else has encountered this. But I felt I needed to post about this because what you choose to wear is so so important. It reflects your sincerity, judgement, and professionalism. You’ve done a lot of work up to this point and to dress that way for an interview is short changing yourself and will raise eyebrows. In fact, in both cases I overheard current PhD students discussing them specifically and stating it was bizarre, embarrassing for them, that they lacked good judgement. 

Everyone is on a budget, has things they can’t control, but if you have an interview to come, please make something work that’s appropriate for the day otherwise you’re shortchanging yourself and shifting the focus not to you and your fit (no pun intended) and qualifications but something that you can more readily control!

Edited by missfleur

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I feel like it is these types of superficial comments that would immediately discourage me from wanting to accept an offer from a program. I think I would be more embarrassed for the current grad students making those comments - I mean what kind of full grown adult working towards a doctorate makes catty comments about a student's clothes? 

On another note (not that it matters much, as my clothes shouldn't be part of my application for so many different reasons). I did just come back from an interview day, and I was the only person there wearing a suit. I guess I would be considered the one who "stood out".  

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idk I feel like it’s pretty classist to say that someone who is wearing a sweater over a suit should be looked down upon. like I think that type of thinking veers into dangerous territories where individuals are blamed for their inabilities to have things that signal material wealth when theoretically all applicants should be taken for who they are.

I don’t think anyone should have to cater to standards of respectability because often times those standards of respectability have been used to police and silence different racialized, gendered, and other marginalized bodies so like using that as a determining factor of what someone brings to the table is pretty fucked up in my opinion (granted i don’t belong to an admissions committee but still)

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I don’t disagree that their comments could be perceived as catty. I at first felt that way. It does seem superficial. But, honestly, it is not. Again, it’s very much a reflection of commitment and professionalism. It’s not a casual event. That really goes for any interview. Is that fair? Maybe not. But I would never wear a sweater and casual pants to an interview, let alone a PhD interview. We’re all poor students, some more than others. But you can borrow clothes, go to thrift stores, try your best to plan ahead. You spent hundreds of dollars applying. If you show up too casually dressed you could be perceived as not taking the interview seriously  I am in no way talking about clothing brands or expensive clothing but dressing for the occasion  

It doesn’t seem fair, but in this climate of interviewing, it is unfortunately a factor. Am I saying show up in a $300 suit? Heck no. But dress up a bit, at least business casual.

In regards to the comments, I merely overheard the PhD students discussing it over whispers. They weren’t publicly proclaiming it. I didn’t find what they said catty so much as very relevant to the applicant in question’s lack of good judgement.

Edited by missfleur

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Classism in graduate school is a topic that has been discussed ad-noseum. It sucks, but being from higher SES probably helps you get in to grad school and stay there (not just in psychology). 

 

Honestly,  if an applicant showed up to the program I presently attend for an interview wearing anything less than business casual, that is a HUGE red flag. Interviews are professional, and you should dress accordingly. It's not going to get any easier (at least in clinical)... wearing nothing less than business casual is an expectation of our year 2 practicum and many external practicums in our area. If you can't put on something professional to dazzle on interview day, I think that also has broader implications about how you may dress around patients. 

 

Not exactly sure why OP felt called to post this as a current applicant, but the point is nonetheless valid. 

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For what it's worth - there's a lot of options between a suit (very formal) and a sweater (very casual). I'd personally opt for something a little bit more in the middle, but towards the formal side (something that can be interpreted both ways) - maybe business casual. Although this is not too far from what I"m used to wearing in daily life anyway.

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9 minutes ago, Clinapp2017 said:

Classism in graduate school is a topic that has been discussed ad-noseum. It sucks, but being from higher SES probably helps you get in to grad school and stay there (not just in psychology). 

 

Honestly,  if an applicant showed up to the program I presently attend for an interview wearing anything less than business casual, that is a HUGE red flag. Interviews are professional, and you should dress accordingly. It's not going to get any easier (at least in clinical)... wearing nothing less than business casual is an expectation of our year 2 practicum and many external practicums in our area. If you can't put on something professional to dazzle on interview day, I think that also has broader implications about how you may dress around patients. 

 

Not exactly sure why OP felt called to post this as a current applicant, but the point is nonetheless valid. 

I felt called to post because while interviews are winding down, I would hate for someone to not be taken as a serious consideration over something like what they wore during an interview. Like you said, it could be considered a red flag. They already worked so very hard and spent so much time, money, and effort to be slelected for an interview. It just seems something preventable. My first experience with this not this cycle I thought was a fluke. But when I saw it again at an interview I felt compelled to post about it. 

Is it a tough issue to discuss? Absolutely. But it is important and not talked about much. 

Edited by missfleur

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6 minutes ago, Psygeek said:

For what it's worth - there's a lot of options between a suit (very formal) and a sweater (very casual). I'd personally opt for something a little bit more in the middle, but towards the formal side (something that can be interpreted both ways) - maybe business casual. Although this is not too far from what I"m used to wearing in daily life anyway.

Norms between social interviews and clinical interviews are pretty different, from what I understand. Clinical is usually more formal-dressing. 

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2 hours ago, Clinapp2017 said:

Norms between social interviews and clinical interviews are pretty different, from what I understand. Clinical is usually more formal-dressing. 

My point was more that even for social psych I wouldn't go for a sweater and that there are a lot of choices between very formal and very casual (such as business casual). 

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19 hours ago, Psygeek said:

My point was more that even for social psych I wouldn't go for a sweater and that there are a lot of choices between very formal and very casual (such as business casual). 

I totally agree. There's a lot of choices between a sweater and a suit. And while social psychology is more casual, I wouldn't go for a sweater there either. For what it's worth, this wasn't a dressy sweater either, but a cable knit sweater. My first thought when they walked in was that they were planning on changing there, obviously, they did not.

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