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A new study has shown that women who wear skirts instead of trousers are more likely to be successful in the work place a combined study from the University of Hertfordshire and with Mathieson and Brook Tailors in St Albans revealed.

The study has suggested that women who wear skirts give "a better" first impression and those who wear skirts at work are "more likely" to succeed at work.

"It was surprising that the skirt suit elicited more favourable attributes than the trouser suit as other studies have suggested that women who dress in a more masculine style were perceived as having greater professional status," Professor Karen Pine said.

"What we found suggests women can still dress in a feminine way yet still be perceived as confident and successful. The skirt suit seems to balance professionalism with attractiveness," she added.

Scientists also found that opinions of others are based purely on the clothes they are wearing and are formed within seconds of meeting. Professor Pine who led the research has also said that impressions are formed rapidly, adding that it is important that women balance both professionalism and attractiveness.

Researchers used 306 volunteers to conduct the study, giving each of them a series of pictures of a man and a woman wearing suits for three seconds each before asking the volunteers to rate them on a number of personality traits the Telegraph reports. The facial features of the man and woman in the pictures had been obscured so the volunteers were only making judgements about what they were wearing.

The study was performed in collaboration with Mathieson and Brook Tailors in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

"When people buy a suit I don't think they realise the impact it has on not only their own confidence but also on how people perceive them. Most of it tends to be anecdotal but we wanted to see whether it was true," David Brooke, from the firm, said.