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Allen

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7

What female consultants wear?

Hi everyone, I know there's quite some information out there for what guys wear at MBB but could I please get some advice as to what shoes and clothes I should buy as a female looking to start at Mckinsey?

Hi everyone, I know there's quite some information out there for what guys wear at MBB but could I please get some advice as to what shoes and clothes I should buy as a female looking to start at Mckinsey?

7 answers

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Tough and important question. Firstly, I've noticed all the answers (including mine) are from the wrong gender. So don't take our word for it!

  1. Depends on local office / region
  2. Depends on client
  3. Depends on your personal style

It's true that the trend is less and less formal, but this means different things in America vs. Europe and in Financial Services vs. Pharmaceuticals vs. Tech.

When I was at McKinsey, I typically asked my engagement director what the client "dress code" is before I started. When I was the EM, I made sure to tell each new consultant what people typically wore, and let them make their own decisions. You never want to assume. I once showed up to a manufacturing client in Montreal in jeans and work boots only to find that everybody from middle management upward was wearing formal dress clothes, some including ties, and I felt very self-concious in my scuffed work boots, which I had specifically intended would indicate that I wasn't new at this!

In the Toronto office, I noticed that people seemed to dress "nicer" on Fridays when more people were in the office.

You can always ask a female office manager, if there is one. She will undoubtedly appreciate where you are coming from and help you out!

One more point, it's ok to be yourself. One of the best and most surprising things I found at McKinsey is the culture of being yourself. Be professional, of course, but be yourself!

Hope this helps.

Allen

Tough and important question. Firstly, I've noticed all the answers (including mine) are from the wrong gender. So don't take our word for it!

  1. Depends on local office / region
  2. Depends on client
  3. Depends on your personal style

It's true that the trend is less and less formal, but this means different things in America vs. Europe and in Financial Services vs. Pharmaceuticals vs. Tech.

When I was at McKinsey, I typically asked my engagement director what the client "dress code" is before I started. When I was the EM, I made sure to tell each new consultant what people typically wore, and let them make their own decisions. You never want to assume. I once showed up to a manufacturing client in Montreal in jeans and work boots only to find that everybody from middle management upward was wearing formal dress clothes, some including ties, and I felt very self-concious in my scuffed work boots, which I had specifically intended would indicate that I wasn't new at this!

In the Toronto office, I noticed that people seemed to dress "nicer" on Fridays when more people were in the office.

You can always ask a female office manager, if there is one. She will undoubtedly appreciate where you are coming from and help you out!

One more point, it's ok to be yourself. One of the best and most surprising things I found at McKinsey is the culture of being yourself. Be professional, of course, but be yourself!

Hope this helps.

Allen

(edited)

Even the coach composition on PrepLounge shows how management consulting is a profession still heavily skewed towards men...

Even the coach composition on PrepLounge shows how management consulting is a profession still heavily skewed towards men...

Funny and true. My experience in the large firms shows that this is rapidly changing. There is no "old boys" culture anymore. — Allen on Dec 10, 2020

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Comfortable business casual or business formal that aligns with the local country culture and clients. You dont want to be sticking out in front of clients by being over/under dressed. Ask your line manager and team members as they are best placed to advise.

I think generally, consulting has become relaxed and formal suits are becoming rare. And with home working here to stay, wardrobe dramas will reduce for sure :).

Comfortable business casual or business formal that aligns with the local country culture and clients. You dont want to be sticking out in front of clients by being over/under dressed. Ask your line manager and team members as they are best placed to advise.

I think generally, consulting has become relaxed and formal suits are becoming rare. And with home working here to stay, wardrobe dramas will reduce for sure :).

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Hi there,

Could you clarify where exactly where you will be working (country)? There are some slight nuances across countries (for example, Australia is quite "relaxed").

That being said, in general you're expected to be in business professional attire. So, darker colors (i.e. black heels), non-revealing clothing, etc.

From my colleagues I found out that a business jacket goes a long way towards turning "business casual" into "business professional"

Feel free to ask about any specific combos you were thinking of and we can provide advice! (For example, there have been posts before from male interviewees regarding ties, jackets, etc.)

For more information on business professional, you can get some inspiration here:

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU880AU880&sxsrf=ALeKk01ELC8B1gW50FLhS93NCpaoEyEZEQ%3A1607608509739&ei=vSjSX4LgLMX25gLR5ZDACA&q=business+professional&oq=business+professional&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQAzIICAAQsQMQyQMyBQgAELEDMgUIABCxAzICCAAyAggAMgcIABAUEIcCMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADoHCAAQsAMQQzoLCAAQsQMQyQMQkQI6BQgAEJECOggIABCxAxCDAToICAAQsQMQkQJQzxdYoiBgsCFoAXACeACAAYUBiAGbCJIBBDExLjGYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6yAEKwAEB&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwjCsqSxyMPtAhVFu1kKHdEyBIgQ4dUDCA0&uact=5

Hi there,

Could you clarify where exactly where you will be working (country)? There are some slight nuances across countries (for example, Australia is quite "relaxed").

That being said, in general you're expected to be in business professional attire. So, darker colors (i.e. black heels), non-revealing clothing, etc.

From my colleagues I found out that a business jacket goes a long way towards turning "business casual" into "business professional"

Feel free to ask about any specific combos you were thinking of and we can provide advice! (For example, there have been posts before from male interviewees regarding ties, jackets, etc.)

For more information on business professional, you can get some inspiration here:

https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU880AU880&sxsrf=ALeKk01ELC8B1gW50FLhS93NCpaoEyEZEQ%3A1607608509739&ei=vSjSX4LgLMX25gLR5ZDACA&q=business+professional&oq=business+professional&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQAzIICAAQsQMQyQMyBQgAELEDMgUIABCxAzICCAAyAggAMgcIABAUEIcCMgIIADICCAAyAggAMgIIADoHCAAQsAMQQzoLCAAQsQMQyQMQkQI6BQgAEJECOggIABCxAxCDAToICAAQsQMQkQJQzxdYoiBgsCFoAXACeACAAYUBiAGbCJIBBDExLjGYAQCgAQGqAQdnd3Mtd2l6yAEKwAEB&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwjCsqSxyMPtAhVFu1kKHdEyBIgQ4dUDCA0&uact=5

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Hello there!

It usually depends on the client.
You could ask your future female colleagues if you are unsure about what to wear.

Hope it helps.

GB

Hello there!

It usually depends on the client.
You could ask your future female colleagues if you are unsure about what to wear.

Hope it helps.

GB

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Hello!

I am glad you asked this question, I asked the same thing to a McK consultant before starting my summer intership. I felt totally lost, guys have it much easier!

With female, since we don´t have the classical suits, many things work. Furthermore, there is no need for female suits what so ever: with a smart pant, dress or skirt it works well.

Feel free to PM me if you would like some more details about this!

Hope it helps!

Best,

Clara

Hello!

I am glad you asked this question, I asked the same thing to a McK consultant before starting my summer intership. I felt totally lost, guys have it much easier!

With female, since we don´t have the classical suits, many things work. Furthermore, there is no need for female suits what so ever: with a smart pant, dress or skirt it works well.

Feel free to PM me if you would like some more details about this!

Hope it helps!

Best,

Clara

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Hi Anonymous,

maybe it helps to have some advice from an actual woman who has been in the same situation :-)

So, here is what I (and most of my female colleagues) purchased when I started working in consulting (answers are valid for Europe, but should be not much different from what is true for other areas of the world):

  1. 3-4 ladies suits (blazer and pants / dress / skirt - whatever you prefer, black / blue / gray)
  2. 5-6 blouses (long sleeved, white / light blue / light rosé)
  3. 1 pair of elegant yet comfortable pumps (black, heel either flat or max up to 5cm) - in winter you can switch to some elegant pair of classic Chelsea Boots
  4. 1 Large leather handbag that will fit a laptop + charger (black / brown / grey / dark blue)
  5. 1 slightly more elegant (winter and summer) coat (guess what - black / blue or gray again)
  6. 2 slightly more elegant trousers or skirts for days at the office
  7. 2 slightly more elegant blazers for days at the office (most colours allowed...)

Everything else depends on your local office and clients - you'll figure out what will suit you, but the list above should provide you with a basic wardrobe that is suited for all situations.

Hope this helps!

Best

Dorothea

Hi Anonymous,

maybe it helps to have some advice from an actual woman who has been in the same situation :-)

So, here is what I (and most of my female colleagues) purchased when I started working in consulting (answers are valid for Europe, but should be not much different from what is true for other areas of the world):

  1. 3-4 ladies suits (blazer and pants / dress / skirt - whatever you prefer, black / blue / gray)
  2. 5-6 blouses (long sleeved, white / light blue / light rosé)
  3. 1 pair of elegant yet comfortable pumps (black, heel either flat or max up to 5cm) - in winter you can switch to some elegant pair of classic Chelsea Boots
  4. 1 Large leather handbag that will fit a laptop + charger (black / brown / grey / dark blue)
  5. 1 slightly more elegant (winter and summer) coat (guess what - black / blue or gray again)
  6. 2 slightly more elegant trousers or skirts for days at the office
  7. 2 slightly more elegant blazers for days at the office (most colours allowed...)

Everything else depends on your local office and clients - you'll figure out what will suit you, but the list above should provide you with a basic wardrobe that is suited for all situations.

Hope this helps!

Best

Dorothea

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