WOMEN in skirts are more successful and earn more money than women in trousers, according to a new study out today.
Skirts give a better first impression and are more likely to lead to success in the workplace, researchers found.
In findings that will see some feminists throwing up their hands, female staff were considered more confident and were more likely to earn a higher salary when wearing a skirt instead of trousers.
Professor Karen Pine, who co-led the study at the UK's University of Hertfordshire, said the findings contradicted previous research which suggested women should dress more like men to succeed in the workplace.
In the study 300 people were asked to give first impressions of images of women in either trouser suits or a skirts – and most favoured women in skirts.
They were asked to rate the women in eight images on five different criteria: confidence, success, trustworthiness, salary and flexibility.
The skirt and trouser suits were both navy and made from the same fabric, and all facial features were removed by pixelation.
Scientists found that after just three seconds, the participants made up their mind and rated the women in the skirts more positively than those in the trouser suits.
Professor Pine said: “First impressions are formed rapidly and are often highly accurate.
“After seeing a face for just one second, people make judgements about another’s personal and occupational attributes.
“Women generally have a wider choice of dress style for work than men, but still have to maintain an identity that balances professionalism with attractiveness.
“The skirt suit may achieve that balance without appearing provocative.
“What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress really is worthwhile and could even be the key to success.’
But she warned: “Be careful about the plunging neckline or micro-skirt though, you can take things too far and other research shows provocative clothing is viewed as indicative of low professional status.
“We may think that fashion is just profligate indulgence and our sunny personality will eclipse our dull attire or detract from the soup stains on our anorak. Untrue.”