Rate my interview outfit?

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TopHatFox
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Rate my interview outfit?

Post by TopHatFox »

I'm thinking of buying:

1. 1 set of Charcoal grey, slim-fitted, solid 100% wool or 33-66% poly blend suit jacket & pants
2. A white, slim, solid dress shirt with crew neck t-shirt underneath
3. 1" black leather belt with a simple, square belt buckle
4. Black oxford dress shoes with thin, black, and long dress socks
5. A black, non-shiny, skinny-ish tie

6. 1 black leather portfolio folder to hold resume and cover-letters with fancy paper to print these documents on
7. 1 thin and black leather wallet
8. 1 Black iPhone 4 cover once my white one dies.
9. I own a nice, black G-shock digital watch, not sure if I should get a black leather analog instead

Thoughts? I have a budget of $500 from the fin aid office that can only be used for this interview (and general professional wear) outfit, so I'm thinking of heading down to Men's Warehouse and buying the most expensive suit & accessories I can afford (it is a investment to increase income after all) that fits the qualities above.

-----------------------------

Also, one website I read said to get a pin-stripped suit. I think a solid one is better because it demands less attention. You all also mentioned to match the dress shirt color with skin-tone in another post, but I'm not quite how to do that yet, so I decided on the white shirt and black tie at the moment.
Last edited by TopHatFox on Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:01 pm, edited 6 times in total.

jacob
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by jacob »

You definitely DON'T want a pinstriped suit.

OldPro
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by OldPro »

A good as the day the first edition was written.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7031 ... or_Success

borisborisboris
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by borisborisboris »

I think you have the right idea with buying quality for your suit. Therefore, do NOT go with a poly blend; these look cheap.

1. For a recent interview, after a decent amount of research [reddit /r/frugalmalefashion is a good resource] I got the J. Crew Ludlow suit (solid grey worsted) and can confirm the thing is quite well made for the price point. I paid $500 for it which was too much (was a surprise interview and I didn't have a good suit on hand); you can do better if you have time keep an eye out for clearance sales. Also you can sign up for a credit card (which you will probably not use again, most of J. Crew is way overpriced) to knock off another ~20% or so. I also spent another $50 on alterations (this might come free with the suit if you get their card). I also tried on 3 suits at macy's beforehand that were a little cheaper, and they fit way crappier, weren't canvassed, and the wool itself had much less substance to it.

2. I would wear a v-neck undershirt under a dress shirt? Assuming you'll be wearing business casual in the future, you won't be wearing a tie, and your undershirt will be showing; get v-necks so people don't see your underclothing. Lands' end is a good source for well-made, affordable OCBDs that are 100% cotton, again keep an eye out for sales.

3. Yup, LLBean has a good one; a little expensive at ~$35 so you may be able to do better

4. A good pair of oxfords is hard to source; you want a leather upper and a stitched leather sole. You can shell out $350 at allen edmonds but there has to be a better way; I haven't solved this one yet. My current oxfords are full leather from the DSW house brand for $99 but the sole is glued, not stitched, so they aren't going to last. Buying them was a mistake. The right shoes at least will last you a very long time and can be repaired.

For socks, TJ Maxx or marshall's or similar usually have decent dress socks way cheaper than dept. stores or designer stores.

5. I don't know that I'd go black on the tie; a little too 'secret service agent' for my taste. Anyway this is the one part of your outfit that you have some room to show a little personality. Reds and purples go well with charcoal. Just a thought.

6. is important; 7 and 8 aren't important if you are just interviewing as there's no real reason to have your wallet and phone out.

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C40
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by C40 »

#1 - It depends on what you're interviewing for. If you're going to err on one side or the other, it's better to be slightly overdressed. The people I interviewed out of college generally wore either a suit or just nice pants and a dress shirt. I'd like to believe that our hiring decision was based about 99% on their interview performance and past experience, and maybe 1% on their clothes. The important part is that they just had to look sharp enough. (Just don't look slobbish). So well-fitting pants and dress shirt were much better than a suit that's too big and a tie that is tied poorly. Once you've reached an acceptable level, they don't make much difference. The main part of being acceptable is that they fit well. In most cases, the fit should be more classic (and not current fads like, for example, pants being too short and your socks showing a lot).


#2 - Don't worry about the phone or wallet. You shouldn't have either of those out during any part of the interview process. If your phone cover is crappy and there might be a reason to take your phone out, just take the cover off for the interview. For the watch, yours may be just fine. If you want a dressier one, get a basic watch at a box store for like $15 - with a black (fake) leather strap and a round, basic white face (and I guess the trim on your watch should match the belt buckle)

Dragline
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by Dragline »

Wear a solid colored suit made of light wool or something that looks like light wool. Gray or blue are fine.

Do not wear a thin tie or a black tie. Wear an ordinary solid or striped tie or with some kind of unobtrusive pattern. It should not be memorable to anyone. Light blue is usually good.

For the rest I agree with C40. The goal is that they do not remember your clothes at all other than "he wore a dark suit."

JL13
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by JL13 »

@Zalo

I have some striped ties I can mail you if you'd like. Skinny and regular.

+1 on what everyone else is saying - they shouldn't notice the clothes at all. This is because they should 1.) blend in to the organization/profession and 2.) look natural on you

to expand on #2 - make sure if you're suiting up for an interview that you feel comfortable in the environment. You'll likely be stuck there for 1-2 years. If i could go back I would have chosen a path where the job interview required khakis and a button down (IT most likely). I hate wearing suits and haven't gotten over it in 7 years.

OldPro
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by OldPro »

It might help if you said what kind of job you will be interviewing for.

A word on ties. Never believe people do not notice how you dress. If you are interviewing for a professional position where you will be expected to wear a suit and tie every day, then you better know about the TIE part of that equation. Nothing can make a good suit look bad like a poorly tied tie can.

That means you need to know how to TIE a TIE properly. It used to amaze me how many people who wore suits every day did not have this basic skill. I was fortunate to work part time in a men's wear store when I was in high school and was taught how to tie a tie. You would be amazed at how many men would come in and buy a suit and tie and ask to have the tie tied for them. They would then loosen the tie and slip it over their head to take it home. They probably never undid that knot for as long as they had the tie, just slipped it over their head to put it on and off.

The majority of men who do tie their own ties use the half-Windsor. It is an uneven knot and it reminds me of men who only wear a tie to weddings, funerals, etc. and don't know any better. It's what I expect to see a blue collar worker with at his Daughter's wedding. Your tie always looks like it is slanted to one side and is uneven. I think of it as the poor man's tie knot.
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/nmO1bepjfRA/maxresdefault.jpg

The knot you should learn to tie is a full-Windsor knot. It is what I expect to see my lawyer with, it is what you see Obama with. I think of it as the professional's knot. https://i.ytimg.com/vi/T0NPYZyI7V8/maxresdefault.jpg

There are actually a lot of different tie knots such as the four-in-hand, Pratt, Balhaus, Prince Albert but you don't need to know about any of them. A tie knot can also be tied too tightly or too loosely as well. Getting it right takes a little practice.

The worst faux pas of all however is having your tie ends be the wrong length. I'm sure you've seen men with the narrow end of their tie hanging longer than the wide end. There is a correct length for a tie. That is, the narrow (behind) end slightly shorter than the wide end and the tip of the wide end (in front) of your tie should just touch your belt buckle when you are standing up. Nowadays, most men do not use tie clips to hold their tie in place against their shirt. But you should be slipping the small end through the loop on the back of the wide end. You never want to look like any of these: https://www.swaggerandswoon.com/img/gui ... ckedin.jpg https://www.swaggerandswoon.com/img/gui ... igknot.jpg
https://www.photoshopgurus.com/forum/at ... c4edit-jpg
http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0234/8 ... _1.jpg?389

Look at the comment that accompanies this one and tell me people don't notice how you dress including how you tie your tie:
http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/961864/Bad

Having spent my working career in the Sales field, I know that everyone is selling all the time whether they realize it or not. You are selling yourself every time you meet someone for whatever reason and they do notice how you dress whether consciously as in the case of say an HR professional who is paid to notice or subconsciously for most others you meet.

jacob
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by jacob »

J_L13 wrote: to expand on #2 - make sure if you're suiting up for an interview that you feel comfortable in the environment. You'll likely be stuck there for 1-2 years. If i could go back I would have chosen a path where the job interview required khakis and a button down (IT most likely). I hate wearing suits and haven't gotten over it in 7 years.
Also make sure you feel comfortable wearing a suit. I didn't feel "comfortable"/felt like a dork in a suit until I was in my mid-thirties having prior to that only worn a suit a total of three(!) times. I've seen many interviewees or newly hires displaying the same "I feel like am I dressed up like a tent/a clown/Batman/.."-vibe that I used to show.

The fix would be to wear the suit more regularly---a suit is actually very comfortable (for a temperate climate anyway). Make it part of the wardrobe rather than a custome that's pulled out for strange occasions. Once the suit is thought of as regular clothes, the feeling and the vibe will go away.

Tyler9000
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by Tyler9000 »

J_L13 wrote: make sure if you're suiting up for an interview that you feel comfortable in the environment. You'll likely be stuck there for 1-2 years. If i could go back I would have chosen a path where the job interview required khakis and a button down (IT most likely). I hate wearing suits and haven't gotten over it in 7 years.
+1. Company dress code is a decent indicator of corporate culture. Places that put very high value on what the mail room guy is wearing tend to be kinda stuffy. Expect lots of processes and little personal latitude. I personally prefer companies that pay more attention to what you produce than what you wear doing it.

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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by jacob »

Tyler9000 wrote:I personally prefer companies that pay more attention to what you produce than what you wear doing it.
Hehe, were I still blogging, I would now proceed to construct a 2D graph where the X-axis is "How much people care about what you produce"(*) and the Y-axis is "How much people care about what you wear when you produce"(**). Then I'd plot different vocations. I bet that would be interesting.

(*) As gauged by how long it would take for a random person to change the subject when asked "what you do for a living", e.g. "physics" would score around -1; "sportsballer" would score around +1.

(**) Tier one investment banking would score +1 and blogging would be -1.

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Ego
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by Ego »

Zalo wrote:I have a budget of $500 from the fin aid office that can only be used for this interview (and general professional wear) outfit....
I would buy $499.99 in name brand (resellable) clothing on sale, remove the tags and save them, wear the outfit to the interview then sell it on ebay. Include the tags in the ebay listing and mention that you wore it for one interview only. :D Use the resulting funds to create a series of garanimmals-matching outfits from thrift-shop clothing and the rest for whatever you want.

bottlerocks
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by bottlerocks »

$500 will score you 4-5 solid business outfits at an H&M if you have one nearby (also need to be relatively slim). Dress like the business attire mannequins and adjust the color pallet a bit. The quality of these outfits may only get you as far as the trends they're built around but they don't look "cheap" IMO.

jacob
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by jacob »

Another piece of advice:

Don't BIFL a suit. The fashion is in the width of the collar---and possibly other things of which I'm ignorant. Same with the shirts. They change. (Compare a 2015 suit to a 1995 suit.)

Fashion cycles typically last 30 years (frequency is 2x that of major world conflicts), so you can also keep an outmoded suit for next time the cycle comes full circle (a 1970 suit would have worked fine in 1995), like this guy. Otherwise, make it a goal to wear it out in 5 years. This will be semi-hard considering that you'll be dry-cleaning it much less often than you'll be throwing normal clothes in the wash+dryer. (Clothes typically last 50-100 wash cycles with dryer. Substantially longer when line drying.)

Also, try not to use the pants on their own thinking you can avoid buying a pair of slacks. My father did that a lot and the result is that you wear out the pants and get stuck with a bunch of suit jackets that mostly aren't that useful on their own. A navy suit jacket can partially substitute for a navy blazer but that's almost it. A suit jacket will generally look too formal/nice to substitute as a sport coat.

Dragline
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by Dragline »

Does this mean I'm not allowed to still wear those suits I've owned since the 90s? ;)

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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by jacob »

Not at all, but you have to wait until 2025 :mrgreen:

OldPro
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by OldPro »

Tyler9000 wrote: +1. Company dress code is a decent indicator of corporate culture. Places that put very high value on what the mail room guy is wearing tend to be kinda stuffy. Expect lots of processes and little personal latitude. I personally prefer companies that pay more attention to what you produce than what you wear doing it.
The problem with statement Tyler is twofold. First, you have to get the job and that means you have to dress appropriately according to the interviewers perception, not your perception of what matters.

Second, what you wear vs. what you produce are not mutually exclusive. You can look great but if you don't produce you'll still get the boot. On the other hand, if 2 people produce, one looks professional and the other a bit sloppier, guess which one gets the promotion. As the saying goes, you don't dress for the job you have, you dress for the job you want. The reality is that YOU have to conform to the reality of the culture of the company, the company is not going to conform to your preferences.

If you try to only work for companies that look at productivity and ignore dress, you're gonna have far fewer job offers.

Re changing suits. The wise man has 6 suits. Rotating six means you do not end up wearing the same suit on the same day of every week. You buy one suit per year and discard your oldest at the same time. You can own more, you shouldn't own less if you are required to wear a suit every day.

OldPro
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by OldPro »

Some more tips for those who wear a suit and tie every day.

You need, 4 pair of shoes, 4 belts, 12 ties and 12 shirts. All for practical reasons.

You need 2 pair of brown shoes and 2 pair of black shoes. That's because shoes need to be clean and shined frequently. If you forget, you need an alternate and no, you cannot rub your shoes on the back of your pant legs and think that's good enough.

You need 12 ties with 2 of each going with each of your 6 suits. That's so you can make the suit actually look different simply by changing the tie. All your shirts should be white or a pale colour. Pale blue or yellow, never pink or lavender for example. It is a question of neutral reactions at worst vs. negative (more about that in a minute) but you need 2 sets of 6 so that you can take an entire week's worth to the dry cleaner's once a week. All white is the easiest safe answer if you aren't sure. And never, never, never a short sleeved shirt. Your shirt cuff should protrude 1 inch from the end of your suit jacket sleeve. A suit without a cuff showing looks like you buy shirts that are too short in the sleeve, that engenders a negative reaction by someone seeing it. Socks that are too short and allow your bare leg to show when sitting down are the same faux pas.

When on even an overnight business trip, you need to take 2 suits, 2 ties, 2 shirts and 1 pair of shoes. That's because you are a clutz sometimes and spill things on your clothes. You need to be able to change. You can get away with one pair of shoes if you take a gray and a navy suit which both require black shoes. And no, you cannot wear brown shoes with a gray or navy suit. The same goes for belts.

A word on sports jackets. While some company dress codes may allow sports jackets and slacks with no tie even, a sports jacket is never as professional looking as a suit. My advice is avoid sports jackets altogether unless you are not interested in promotion. Remember, you dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Not many Presidents or CEOs wear sports jackets and slacks. In IT perhaps but not in most industries.

Another general point. If you want to know how you should dress, look at the Salespeople. Not the Engineers, production, accounting etc. people. Salespeople (if they're any good) generally have a better understanding of how to dress for success than any other department.

Clothes do not make the man as the saying goes but they do affect perception and perception is everything in business relationships.

A good Salesperson (I an not talking about shoe store clerk) knows that when meeting someone whether it is a customer or an in-company person you want to make a good impression with, that there are only 2 of the 3 possibilities you want to have your appearance to engender. Either a positive impression or a neutral impression. You do NOT want to make a negative impression ever.

A brown suit or a green suit may be something you find appealing but both tend to give a strong impression. For some people it will be positive and for some it will be negative. Grey and navy on the other hand are neutral and so they offend no one. I would only wear a brown suit if I observed the CEO only wore brown suits and no other colour. I would be more likely though to have a couple of suits in a beige/light coffee colour which are neutral.

Facial hair (and tattoos) are the same. They both tend to provoke a preference for or against them. They are not neutral. So clean shaven is always your best way forward. There is a theory that a man who wears a beard is easier going. True or not, it never hurts to remember that when picking which line to get into at airport customs and immigration. Go for the line to the guy in the beard. But that same reasoning says, 'if he has a beard, he's not a go-getter.'

The study in the book Dress for Success by J T Molloy on dress raincoat colours showed just how much difference a colour can make to perception and what differences in action it can result in. Fashions have changed since then but the basic principle of how colour alone can affect perception is still true today. Even ministers were encouraged to listen to Molloy.https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archiv ... -the-cloth

Look at the results using 2 raincoat colours. The tie is probably the number one item in terms of the affect on first impressions read what some of the research showed regarding what difference the choice of shirt and tie made.

As Molloy said all those years ago, "clothing should be used as a tool". If you don't understand just how important a tool it is, it may be time to learn depending on what you want and where you want to get to in business.

Tyler9000
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by Tyler9000 »

OldPro wrote: The reality is that YOU have to conform to the reality of the culture of the company, the company is not going to conform to your preferences.
I agree. But the other option that I personally prefer is to deliberately seek out a company where the culture matches my values.

My standard interview outfit is nice dark jeans, a button-up dress shirt, black sport coat, and no tie (I think I even rocked black sneakers once) -- all completely appropriate professional attire in my particular industry. Taking that approach, I've always received offers every time I've interviewed because (other than being highly qualified) it's clear at first sight I understand their culture and am a good fit. If I rolled into a place like that in a 3-piece suit, I wouldn't get a second look. So for me, dressing for the job you want also means understanding the culture of the company you're interviewing at and clearly communicating that you're interviewing for the creative job, not the sales position.

It's also a regional thing.

That said, without knowing much about his industry I do like Zalo's original list as a neutral outfit for most any interview situation, and the general fashion advice here is pretty solid. Don't over-do it, and don't under-do it. Just be yourself and look comfortable in your own skin. I do think 7-9 are pretty extraneous, though. Don't over-think it.

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fiby41
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Re: Rate my interview outfit?

Post by fiby41 »

OldPro wrote:half-Windsor..
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