Dressing Up for Interviews or a New Job

Work Clothes.Getting Started
If you are a male who is interviewing for or starting a job that requires a suit and tie, go to Brooks Brothers. Take a good look at the suits. Take a good look at the ties. You want suits and ties that look like these, but do not buy them there. They are overpriced for someone who is starting out.

Brooks Brothers’ shirts are a different story. The quality and value are exceptional. They cost twice as much as other shirts, but they look three times as good and last four times as long. Also, when you take them out of the dryer, they look great. This feature saves a bundle of money on dry cleaning and saves a bunch of time on ironing. Most of the shirts here will be blue and white with some sort of stripe pattern. Any dress shirts that you find here will be appropriate for work.

For suits, you can go somewhere like Men’s Warehouse. A safe foundation is a dark blue suit, a black suit, and a charcoal grey pinstripe suit. Do not chase current trends. Buy suits that you think would be in fashion either ten years ago or ten years from now. The suits at Men’s Warehouse are reasonably priced, but the shirts, ties, and accessories have high markups. As a result, the sales people have become masters at cross-sell you ugly, overpriced shirts, ties and accessories. They will happily push shirts, ties, and suspenders on you in green, purple, and cream. They will sound convincing, but do not fall into their trap.

For shoes, I recommend Bostonian. They are a good balance of quality, price, comfort, and appearance. Shoes and belt should be the same color. I’ve used the rule that one should wear dark brown shoes (not tan!) with a blue suit, but since then, I’ve heard the rule is to wear black shoes with a blue suit. If you do some searching online, you will find many people who are strongly in one camp or the other. I am going to go out on a limb and say that you can wear either (but keep your eyes open to see what your colleagues are wearing).

For ties, I recommend simple ties in red, blue, or yellow that are bold in a conservative way and conservative in a bold way. Here you have more leeway to follow current trends. Andrew’s Ties and Benetton have good-looking, good-value ties. Your local department store will have a wide selection of good and bad ties. So, do not go there until you have an idea of what constitutes good and bad.

Learn to tie a nice solid knot. If the tie is thinner material or the gap in the collar is wide, use a full Windsor. If the tie is thick material or the gap in the collar is narrower, use a half Windsor.

I am not a fashion expert. These are just my personal observations and recommendations. I haven’t had to wear a suit to work in several years. (I do think Brooks Brothers shirts are great for business casual too, but I am at a loss for suggestions regarding business casual pants or shoes.)


3 comments so far

  1. Rick L on

    Yes, this post is completely off-topic for my blog. I just read an article at LifeHack.org called Hack Your Closet to Get The Right Job, and I felt like sharing my thoughts on the subject.

  2. ck on

    I’d also offer another perk on BB shirts – if they rip, you can take them back and get a new one.

  3. Rick L on

    Here is an article in the Wall Street Journal on Pulling Off the Obama Look” (I.E., wearing a suit without a tie). To summarize: Obama knows how to pull it off. Other people struggle a bit more.

    What is my favorite part of this article? Well, if you scroll to the bottom of the page (under “Blog Postings About this Topic”) you will see a link back to this blog posting right here.

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