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Seeking first suit(s?), for mix of industry and academia interviews

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So I'm finishing up a doctorate and plan to be interviewing soon for a big old mixed bag of everything from academic faculty positions  to simple post docs to industry jobs (mostly creative sectors... tech firms and marketing and research).

 

So, following criteria:

1) Everything about academia is super casual. I honestly can't remember even seeing anybody in my academic career wearing a suit on any occasion ever except the dean or higher. I would still absolutely wear a suit anyway for interview, because it just feels dumb and disrespectful not to assume that, but still, casual side of things may be appropriate?

2) Industry is probably more variable. I wouldn't be surprised if some tech firms might have everyone running around in ironic picture t-shirts while interviewing me, while other places I go might have mandatory suit uniforms every day. Who knows.

3) It would be nice if I could invest in a suit I'd be perfectly happy to wear in my personal life as well, and my purely aesthetic style heavily gravitates toward things like vintage brown tweed type styles... not exactly traditional interview wear.

4) I'm relatively poor

 

So:

* Stop overthinking it and buy a quality boring navy suit and worry about the luxury of style and nuance after I have a real income?

* Buy a couple of suits for two ends of a spectrum, but split my limited budget?

* Attempt some crazy 3 piece English professor getup, perhaps charcoal, to flexibly modularize for different things, but with a maybe (?) lower maximum achievable formality?


Edited by Crimeo - 8/7/14 at 2:27am
post #2 of 6

Depends on your budget. If it's only enough for one suit, then you should buy one. If it's enough for two decent suits, buy one suit, a great pair of shoes, some good shirts, and a few ties. Then look at another suit.

 

In terms of a suit, I don't think you want to go too casual. Something like a slightly textured gray suit (only suggesting gray because it seems you don't like navy), perhaps with one or two casual details? Something like a SuitSupply suit. You want something in a year-round weight. 

 

Basically, you want a suit that you can wear with a white shirt, black shoes, and sober tie for a corporate interview, but also with a graph check shirt, wool tie, and paisley hank for something more casual -- or maybe I'm putting words in your mouth. The perfect cloth for that would be solid gray flannel, but that's a cool-weather fabric. Hopsack, fresco, or some other open-but-textured weave could be your friend.

 

Getting a vest might be a nice idea -- I only recently bought my first three piece, and it'll be a month or two before I can wear it, but it's nice to have an absolutely sober, conservative suit which can become a little more interesting. It does, of course, add to the cost of the suit.

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimeo View Post
 

* Stop overthinking it and buy a quality boring navy suit and worry about the luxury of style and nuance after I have a real income?

 

Yes! That doesn't mean you shouldn't do your best to buy a quality staple product, but don't overthink this first step.

post #4 of 6
Just because academia has a casual vibe does not mean you should buy a casual suit. By the best suit, shoes, shirt ties you can even if you are poor. You will always have a need for a suit so get something that is appropriate and flexible for a variety of settings
post #5 of 6
maybe consider an excellent cotton suit if you live in warmer climate or flannel if in cool temperatures?
You should then be able to wear it to the interview and work the jacket and trousers as separates when you start employment.
post #6 of 6

Have you thought of thrifing a nice suit? If you have not yet taken a look at it, I would take a look at the thrift thread. You would be amazed at what people find and for your price range you could get something much nicer thatn you could usually afford.

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