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Building an interview/business wardrobe

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, Right now I'm a 19-year-old student going to school for my Business degree. I'll hopefully be majoring in Marketing, and graduating in two or three years. Right now my wardrobe is extensive, but consists mainly of jeans, 'casual' dressy pants, and 'casual' dress shirts. I need to update my wardrobe for the future, and think it would be a good idea to plan now. This will be a lengthy post but I'll break it down into sections, because I know how much you all love to respond to numbered questions on posts. Here it goes. I'll be needing clothing to wear to interviews and also internships. Like I said I'll be going for business/marketing. 1. When interviewing for an internship, should I wear a suit? 2. What is the usual dress code for an intern? 3. I know so many of the business positions now have a 'business casual' dress code, so what items do you recommend? If I go into marketing, what would you expect the dress code to be? 4. For an interview suit, is navy better than a darker gray? For some reason I hate navy blue suits - I just can't stand navy suits for some reason and prefer a dark gray. 5. Right now I work part-time at a retail position, so I just have a few pairs of cheap black pants I don't mind getting dirty. I have a few nicer items of clothing, I'll just list what I have that I could possibly wear and hopefully someone could tell me if it would have a place in the office. - Olive/taupe Burberry suit, SB, 2-button, pleated pants - Canali 2-button SB jacket, micro houndstooth pattern that looks dark gray from a distance - Inexpensive 3-button jacket in black from Kenneth Cole - Dress pants in brownish-olive, black, and beige from low-level makers such as Nautica, Polo, and DKNY - Dress belts in black and brown - Conservative, yet inexpensive ties in a variety of colors and patterns (DKNY, Brooks Bros, Perry Ellis) 6. I have a ton of shoes, but I am missing conservative dress shoes. Could anyone recommend a pair that will last for a few years that could be had (on sale of course) for around $150? I know most of the dress shoes that retail at $150 are junk, but I know how easy it is to find shoes 50% off. I'd like something that shows a sense of style. 7. I have about 80 'dress' shirts that I like to wear untucked with jeans, but I wouldn't be able to wear a single one with a tie. The problem is that I need a shirt with a 17" neck, yet I take a 38 or 40 in a suit, so 17" shirts are way too baggy in the waist. All the shirts are 15-15.5" so they fit properly in the chest, and I just unbutton the top few buttons. I have learned how to take in the sides of a dress shirt (up to the armpits), but I cannot change the chest size without deconstructing the whole shirt. Are there any places where I could find a really slim fitting 17" 34/35 shirt, other than Jantzen or another custom job? 8. As far as ties, what should I look for? I do a lot of thrift shopping and pick up some nice ones whenever I come across them, but at places like Sak's Outlet I find Zegna, Charvet, and Versace ties for $30-60. Are these worth picking up? I checked out the 'Interviewing' article on Andy's website and got a lot of useful information. I appreciate all of the help.
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
C'mon fellas, I know someone can help me out.
post #3 of 11
1. Yes. Just to be safe than sorry 2. Depending on the company. I will ask somebody that work there after you get the job. 3. Generally "business casual" means GAP, super boring. 4. dark gray is fine, or midnight navy. 5. All your stuffs are good. I've been to many companies (an Big Four auditors) before entering grad school. Trust me, they have no idea what you are wearing, and they all dress very badly, suits and shirts don't fit and color and pattern don't match. 6. Any simple dress shoes will work, See 5 above. 7. Don't know. But Jantzen's price is right. 8. Any cheap tie will work. See 5. I may consider a simple stripe tie for the interview, just to be safe.
post #4 of 11
Dear VersaceMan: 1. The recruiter will usually make it clear whether they have a business casual or business dress policy for interviews. 2. Depending on the company. If business casual, I would prefer to wear a dress shirt with wool slacks rather than polo-collar knit shirt with chinos. 3. See #2 4. I think navy blue or midnight blue is more flattering on most people. Certainly more dashing and youthful. I have a medium-dark grey suit which I wish was navy or midnight blue.
post #5 of 11
1. When interviewing for an internship, should I wear a suit? Yes. Wear a suit. No matter what the dress code for the establishment is for day to day, wear a suit. Navy or charcoal. White shirt, lace up shoes. 2. What is the usual dress code for an intern? This will depend a lot on where you end up geographically and what kind of work environment it is. Wear whatever the full time employees wear. 3. I know so many of the business positions now have a 'business casual' dress code, so what items do you recommend? If I go into marketing, what would you expect the dress code to be? Do not mistake "business casual" to mean jeans and t-shirts, even if some around you do. At a minimum, wear casual slacks and collared shirts. Button down shirts, khakies, sport coats, light-weight wool pants are all staples in a business casual wardrobe. In just about every business casual environment, there will still be times (client meetings, etc.) when you will need to wear a suit. 4. For an interview suit, is navy better than a darker gray? For some reason I hate navy blue suits - I just can't stand navy suits for some reason and prefer a dark gray. Either is fine. If you hate navy, then go with the gray. 5. Right now I work part-time at a retail position, so I just have a few pairs of cheap black pants I don't mind getting dirty. I have a few nicer items of clothing, I'll just list what I have that I could possibly wear and hopefully someone could tell me if it would have a place in the office. - Olive/taupe Burberry suit, SB, 2-button, pleated pants Yes. Sounds like a perfect Summer suit. - Canali 2-button SB jacket, micro houndstooth pattern that looks dark gray from a distance Yes. Perfect for dressing up with a tie, or without a tie for a more relaxed look. - Inexpensive 3-button jacket in black from Kenneth Cole Probably fine for casual looks, or for hob nobbing with the regulars after hours. - Dress pants in brownish-olive, black, and beige from low-level makers such as Nautica, Polo, and DKNY Business casual staples. - Dress belts in black and brown More staples. - Conservative, yet inexpensive ties in a variety of colors and patterns (DKNY, Brooks Bros, Perry Ellis) Good. 6. I have a ton of shoes, but I am missing conservative dress shoes. Could anyone recommend a pair that will last for a few years that could be had (on sale of course) for around $150? I know most of the dress shoes that retail at $150 are junk, but I know how easy it is to find shoes 50% off. I'd like something that shows a sense of style. Look for allen edmonds or alden on ebay. 7. I have about 80 'dress' shirts that I like to wear untucked with jeans, but I wouldn't be able to wear a single one with a tie. The problem is that I need a shirt with a 17" neck, yet I take a 38 or 40 in a suit, so 17" shirts are way too baggy in the waist. All the shirts are 15-15.5" so they fit properly in the chest, and I just unbutton the top few buttons. I have learned how to take in the sides of a dress shirt (up to the armpits), but I cannot change the chest size without deconstructing the whole shirt. Are there any places where I could find a really slim fitting 17" 34/35 shirt, other than Jantzen or another custom job? Sounds like you need to bite the bullet and buy yourself 2 or 3 custom shirts for wearing with ties. I suggest white, and two different shades of light blue. 8. As far as ties, what should I look for? I do a lot of thrift shopping and pick up some nice ones whenever I come across them, but at places like Sak's Outlet I find Zegna, Charvet, and Versace ties for $30-60. Are these worth picking up? Zegna and Charvet certainly make nice ties. Always buy them on sale. Ties are one thing I pretty much refuse to pay full price for. Check out ebay for Kiton seven folds at good prices. Carlo Franco make wonderful seven folds at good prices. www.carlofranco.com I checked out the 'Interviewing' article on Andy's website and got a lot of useful information. I appreciate all of the help.
post #6 of 11
I know that I may get flack for suggesting this, but the first fashion book I bought was John Malloy's "Dress for Success." I know it may be out of date, some find fault with his methodology, but I still page through it occasionally, particularly when thinking about what to wear for a big interview or meeting. You could probably check a copy out of the local library. (I think I bought my copy for $3 at a Goodwill.) My two half baked cents. 1. Yes, wear a suit. Charcoal if you want to be feared, navy blue if you want to be loved...Conservative tie, white shirt, black lace ups. 2. Don't know. 3. Don't know. 4. I think that dark grey is better for an interview suit. To me, it says no nonsense serious guy. On second interviews, I will often wear navy. 8. As far as ties, I think that if you are thinking "interview, I can trust this guy" ties, I would think less about brands, and more about colors. When I see a relatively inexpensive solid necktie in burgandy, navy or grey, I almost always pick it up. Stripes are usually good too. Bic
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies, and keep them coming.
post #8 of 11
E- For shoes, go to the Allen Edmonds tent sale on 4th of July weekend. I score deals every year, I've heard that some CEO's fly in to town for the sale. Spend all day going to each store as they have tents at each location in the parking lot with unique models and sizes. They will be at the Galleria in Brookfield, in Franklin by 76th and Rawson, and at the Port Washington factory store. If you can wait, the deals are awesome. You'll find $285 shoes for $150 no problem. Suggested model would be the Park Avenue in Black, it is a cap toe balmoral, very dressy. Link here:https://www.allenedmonds.com/webapp/...89&imageType=2 teo
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
E- For shoes, go to the Allen Edmonds tent sale on 4th of July weekend.  I score deals every year, I've heard that some CEO's fly in to town for the sale.   Spend all day going to each store as they have tents at each location in the parking lot with unique models and sizes.  They will be at the Galleria in Brookfield, in Franklin by 76th and Rawson, and at the Port Washington factory store.   If you can wait, the deals are awesome.  You'll find $285 shoes for $150 no problem. Suggested model would be the Park Avenue in Black, it is a cap toe balmoral, very dressy. Link here:https://www.allenedmonds.com/webapp/...89&imageType=2 teo
For some reason, I wasn't too impressed with the AE styles I had seen - until I had checked out a few pairs on eBay and on their website. I actually like a few. I haven't seen if they make a monk-strap model, but I would definitely be interested in that. The tent sale sounds awesome; the Rawson location is about 10 mins from my house, adn the Brookfield store is about 20 minutes. The Port Washington Factory/factory store is about 40 minutes North. Sounds like some good deals.
post #10 of 11
E- Concerning the shoes for an interview, remember conservative is the key word, lace ups would make more sense for an interview.  You are not making a fashion statement in an interview, better to err on the side understated good taste; although I can appreciate your interest in monk straps, you don't want to distract from your qualifications with your wardrobe.  Just my my two cents, take it as you will. T
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
E- Concerning the shoes for an interview, remember conservative is the key word, lace ups would make more sense for an interview.  You are not making a fashion statement in an interview rather showing understaded good taste; although can appreciate your interest in monk straps  don't want to distract from your qualifications with your wardrobe.  Just my my two cents, take it as you will. T
Good advice with the lace-ups - thanks. I think I should pick up 2-3 pairs of nicer shoes to start out with so I can rotate them like you're supposed to do. I was thinking a pair of black cap-toe lace-ups, a pair of brown lace ups (maybe with a Norwegian welt and split toe?), and a second pair of black shoes with perhaps a monk-strap (I like the models that Ferragamo and Bruno Magli produces).
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