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Need help with MTM suit for business school

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,


Long time listener, first time caller.  I am getting ready to order a new suit for my upcoming MBA interviews.  I think I am on the fringe for my top choices and need to stack everything in my favor.  Any help or input is deeply appreciated!


My dress goal for this interview is to dress sharp enough to leave a favorable, even "memorable", impression, but in a very subtle way.  I do NOT want to go ultra conservative as I need to stand out from the pack a little bit, but of course I don't want what I wear to overshadow my actual interview. I plan to order a navy suit and pair it with a white spread collar shirt and this tie (2.5").  I'll need to purchase a new pair of brown leather cap-toe oxfords.  I like the burnished look but I'm not sure if that is considered fashion forward or flashy.  I'm OK erring on the side of caution as far as shoes go.  My other suits are black and light grey, so this will be my go to suit for future internship/job interviews as well.





After a ton of research, I believe I will go with Black Lapel (color swatches on the way).  I am split between two sets of options



Option 1 "Euro flair": Slim Fit, two button, narrow notch lapel, double vents, hacking pockets (I'm indifferent on this one), no ticket pocket or other options

Option 2 "Traditional": Tailored Fit, two button, regular notch label, double vents, straight pockets and no ticket pocket or other options


I am leaning towards Option 1 but I have two main concerns:


Concern 1. Schools and future jobs (finance) tend to be conservative and I am afraid that the slim cut, narrow lapel (and slim tie) look will be too fashion forward.  There seems to be two schools of thought but a lot of people feel that a great looking suit is versatile enough for all occasions.  I am OK ditching the hacking pockets,  Reviews seem to suggest that the slim cut may be TOO flared, almost feminine in a sense.  I want to look sharp but not at the risk of looking too flashy.  I think it will be OK as long as the suit fits well and the rest of the outfit is conservative.  Also, I don't think these options are too "out there."  The end result may be no different than a high-end Italian suit anyway in terms of pick stiching, slanted pockets, etc.  


Concern 2. I don't know if my body shape is ideal for a slim fit suit.  I am



175 LB






I always have trouble with dress shirts because I am not skinny but not jacked either (some of those athletic cuts are just plain ridiculous!)  I am fit/athletic, play sports weekly and hit the gym about once a week to lift weights.  I am definitely not "huge" but I have decently broad shoulders/chest.  it seems to me that the people who really pull off the skinny look are people who are, well, actually skinny... and I don't consider myself one of them.  


Sorry for the long first post but I promise to contribute a review once my suit comes in.  Cheers!

post #2 of 16
I got the slim fit solid navy suit from BL, and I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. Like they say on the site, it's a slim fit, not a skinny fit. I think you'll be fine in a business/work/interview setting with the "Euro flair" option you listed above (although I'd get straight flapped pockets rather than the slanted to make it more versatile and to minimize the illusion of over-suppression of the waist (which is what slanted pockets do).

Btw, where did you get that tie? Looks nice.
post #3 of 16

I don't know if it's a great idea to go with "Euro flair" on an interview.  I always get the impression that clothes on an interview can't help your chances, but they certainly can hurt them.  You don't want to be remembered as "that guy with the weird clothes".  For an MBA interview, conservative might be a better pick.


JMO, of course.

post #4 of 16
You are putting too much emphasis on the suit for this interview.

Wearing the outfit you intend, you won't stand out...which is exactly what you want. Dazzle them with your initiative, drive, enthusiasm, and background and don't worry about the outfit.
post #5 of 16
Originally Posted by Quadcammer View Post

You are putting too much emphasis on the suit for this interview.
Wearing the outfit you intend, you won't stand out...which is exactly what you want. Dazzle them with your initiative, drive, enthusiasm, and background and don't worry about the outfit.

I have to agree. Though dressing well is important, the way you handle yourself in that room will be the key.

post #6 of 16

Congrat's on prepping for your MBA. Take it seriously, and you won't regret it ;-)


As far as the suit goes, go for the fit that you think you'll feel best in. I always wear fairly slim suits, and I never had anyone in school or at work complain. However, I've gotten tons of compliments. Whatever you order, make sure that it fits well. I'd probably go with a medium grey suit, but blue wouldn't be bad either. Good luck!

post #7 of 16
Agreed that a suit won't likely help your chances, it can certainly hurt them if done poorly.

As for the suit, I'd probably err on the side of conservatism. But, if the slim fitting suit you're buying fits well (not too tight), I think you're fine and you'd have a suit you're more likely to wear in less conservative (non-interview, non-funeral) environments.

As for the two pairs of shoes you posted, the first one is a nice, classic style. I would consider the second pair more fashion-forward and, IMO, unattractive. Also, I'm not sure brown is your best bet for interviewing. Conventional wisdom is that black or burgundy are most appropriate.

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of "What should I wear to an interview?" threads. You might do a search and see if there is some good advice already offered.
post #8 of 16
Originally Posted by southbound35 View Post

Also, I'm not sure brown is your best bet for interviewing. Conventional wisdom is that black or burgundy are most appropriate.


I didn't really want to take the proverbial piss on OP's parade, but I'd have to agree with this assessment.  Black shoes are probably preferable to brown ones.

post #9 of 16
I'm a professor in a mid-tier business school (so I can't speak for the Ivy's), but chances are you are way-over thinking this. A greater danger for you is that you'll come off as full of yourself if you go over the top. Honestly, a blazer and dress chinos would probably suit you just fine.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback everyone.  I know I am definitely over-thinking this and have never had a problem interviewing professionally before.  I simply want to control as many variables as I can.


Sponic, the tie is from Hilfiger.  I think I got it from a Nordstrom Rack in LA about a year ago.


VinnyMac, since I already have a grey suit and need to rebuild my wardrobe moving forward, I thought a navy suit will be a better investment right now.  


Southbound and sridhar, Thanks for the tip.  I will do more research and likely go with black cap-toe oxfords.  I have always thought grey-> black shoes, blue -> brown shoes but I'll dig through those posts some more.


Thanks again everyone!

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Ugh, this forum has been both a blessing and a curse.  I decided against Black Lapel because the swatch I received is a very dark navy, nearly black.  The color is nearly identical to an existing suit that I have and, frankly, I don't like how dark the suit is.  Combined with inconsistent stories from online MTM (ModernTailor, IndoChino) I decided it probably isn't worth the trouble.  Since I'm a pretty middle-of-the-road 40R anyway, I decided to scope out local options.


Yesterday I checked out my nearby Nordstrom Rack and found a great looking Boss suit.  I decided to mull it over first and wound up spending half  a day reading Nazi jokes and pinching the rest of my suits to figure out if they're fused or canvassed.  Today I tried my luck at Saks Off Fifth and came home with one of their Cloth by Zegna suits thinking I had made an infinitely wiser purchase only to find out that the suit was made by Joseph Abboud.  It fits great though and I'm leaning towards just keeping it, although it seems like I still bought at a high price point despite the 40% off sale.  


Both suits that I've considered this weekend have been lighter and have a bit of 3D weave texture to it.   What is the general consensus regarding texture and sheen with regards to professionalism?  (Most of the "texture" search results from Google are related to women's suits.)  I had thought that, intuitively, 40-44R were the most common sizes and thus least likely to be on sale but it appears that the opposite is true (IE 37S).



FWIW the Boss Suit was "Grand/Central Outlet" as per the tag and came in at $450.  I didn't pick that one up although it fit very well.  The Saks suit is their Red/trim fit line.  I compared the label and code from another post that "confirmed" it as JA.

post #12 of 16
Unless your interviewer is a member of styleforum (unlikely to happen), you are wasting effort on a not very important aspect for this interview.

See it like that: Once your interviewer starts focusing on the width of your lapels or the angle of your pockets rather then listening to what you say, then you are doomed anyway.
post #13 of 16

Good luck on the MBA interview! And I wouldn't worry too much about what I'm  wearing, unless as AlexE mentioned, the interviewer is a member of SF.


The interview will show how you present yourself through your manners and sensible replies to their prepared questions. So better brace yourself in uthat aspect more than the suit you're wearing.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the advice, guys.  I want to stress that I do NOT have any delusional misconceptions that walking into an interview with the right "magical" suit will push me over the top into a prestigious MBA program.  (In fact, interviews are typically conducted by current students or alumni so they are younger and probably more sympathetic to a someone on a budget).  I completely agree this is probably the most trivial part of the whole process.  


Having said that, if there is any small detail that I can control and tip in my favor, I am going to sweat it.  I'm not leaving a single thing up to chance  smile.gif  Also, dress good = feel good.  I think there's merit in putting in the effort here.  


Ironically, I used to be a banker so I have a decent collection of suits.  The problem is that a ton of them are boxy 3 button poly monstrocities.  This will be the my interview suit for internships and jobs and the beginning of a better wardrobe.  I've learned my lesson, that's why I'm here.  


Here's the suit I got from Saks.  I think it fits well and I have asked for advice on the tailor's thread.



Saks Fifth Red/Trim Fit line (Joseph Abboud tag) - $450







I like the fit and I'm seriously considering keeping it.  I know it's fused and I probably can wait for a better sale, but I like the fit, the hue of the blue, and weave of the cloth (it's got a bit of a graph paper 3d texture to it), and the ease of mind that comes with seeing something first hand before making a decision.


A few other options"


1. "Classico" suit from ehaberdasher.   - $525


The price difference is negligible.  It's fully canvased and customer pictures looks great in that thread.  Plus, it's a 39/40 which I think will fit me well.  My main reservation is with buying something without seeing it/trying it on first.  After all, everyone's body shape is different, I don't want to make a purchase decision based on what the suit looks like on other people.




2. BB 1818 Milano.- $1000 w/o sale.  Depends on when the next sale will be, I've got 2 months before I really need it.    


I am ruling out the the original MTM options.  There is far too much inconsistency from what I have read and I do not want to deal wit the hassle of extensive alterations right now.  Black Lapel's color swatch was too dark for my taste - I already have a good amount of black suits.  Indochino wouldn't send me a single swatch and I am uneasy about ordering through them.  Consistency seems to be an issue, and, frankly, I was put off that they wouldn't send ,e a single swatch.  I'm not interested in the tailor's kit.


Thanks again for everyone's input... now back to my regularly scheduled essays icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

post #15 of 16
Shoulders and chest fit well for an OTR.

Only suggestions are to shorten the sleeves and the break on the trousers (they're bunching too much).

And honestly, don't worry about whether your suits are canvassed until you're out of school (that's when you can get the most use out of them anyway).
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