Women appear more confident in skirts than in pants, and this creates a better first impression on job interviews and usually leads to a higher salary, according to a recent study.
The result turns on its head a long-held belief among researchers worldwide that women are more likely to succeed if they "power dress" in the same way men do.
The study, led by Prof. Karen Pine at the University of Hertfordshire in Britain, showed 300 people eight pictures of career women wearing skirts or pants, and asked them to rate the subjects in terms of confidence, success, trustworthiness, salary and flexibility.
The clothing in each of the photos matched in terms of color and fabric so as not to influence the test-takers, and the faces of the models were blacked out for greater impartiality. The researchers found that the participants needed only a few seconds to award much higher scores to women wearing skirts.
Pine added that revealing deep cleavages or wearing micro-skirts may act against women, as clothing that is too provocative is not associated with professionalism at work.