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Attire for engineering internship/graduate school interview

RedSciurus

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Hello all. I've been reading this forum some time but just signed up, and this is my first post.
I know when you see the word "interview" the first instinct is to go for a conservative suit, dressy pants, etc. But what complicates things is my field -- I'm an electrical engineering student now, will be going to graduate school for medical engineering, and I need to apply for some industry internships. The dress in academia is extremely inconsistent. The dress in engineering can be way more casual that I'd expect -- so no matter what I do, I feel like there's this ambiguity. Being a student, I have a very limited amount of money, but I'm willing to make an investment anywhere from $500 to $1,000. I'm torn between a navy suit, which is a bit safer, and a navy blazer/twill pants combination, which is more versatile. At first I decided on the former, but the more I look around (professors who would be interviewing me, etc.) the more I was afraid that I would seem aloof and uncomfortable in a setting which tends to be informal. What do you think is more appropriate in these situations?
 

saiyar1

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You are interviewing. Don't take cues from people who are wearing everyday clothes as the way you should be dressing for an interview.

Get a dark navy suit that fits well, a white shirt, and a dark tie. It's standard and there's no real ambiguity.


I was a computer engineer and it was painful to see how my "smart" peers lacked so much common sense and real life knowledge. Many wore wrinkled "button up shirts" with khakis and Lugz type boots.... student best mimicked professors using what they already owned. Funny how many graduated without internships or jobs. It just looked sloppy or not quite serious enough.
 

RedSciurus

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I may agree, it's certainly better for me to seem over-dressed than under-dressed at any rate. This is similar to the blazer look I'm talking about:
Grey or brown pants.
 

RedSciurus

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This (Charles Tyrwhitt) is an okay-priced suit I've found, for comparison.



Forgive my inexperience.
I should probably make a separate thread for brand advice, etc. but this should give an idea of what I have in mind (or rather, expose my style-ineptitude).
 

Marcellionheart

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Originally Posted by RedSciurus
This (Charles Tyrwhitt) is an okay-priced suit I've found, for comparison.



Forgive my inexperience.
I should probably make a separate thread for brand advice, etc. but this should give an idea of what I have in mind (or rather, expose my style-ineptitude).


Careful about the CT suits; they're a good price, but their sleeves have working cuffs making altering their length nigh-impossible.
 

RedSciurus

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Originally Posted by Marcellionheart
Careful about the CT suits; they're a good price, but their sleeves have working cuffs making altering their length nigh-impossible.

I'm pretty short (~5'4", 34 waist), so nothing fits me well. Should I go to a CT shop (there is one near my in NYC), would they have trouble altering it to fit me for this reason?

Do you suggest anything other than CT in the NY area for a more English cut?
 

GBer

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Get a suit - no blazer combo. In your budget range you can get a BBBF. Since you are in a good location for clothes, try going to C21 or an outlet nearby. Not sure if you can still catch something good from a winter sale. With that sizing you will need to get a short version. Try TaT:

http://www.thickasthievesla.com/


Heard good things about it. Reviews all over the archive.

Engineering is conservative, so recommend black shoes (not loafers) and belt.
 

RedSciurus

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Originally Posted by GBer
Get a suit - no blazer combo. In your budget range you can get a BBBF. Since you are in a good location for clothes, try going to C21 or an outlet nearby. Not sure if you can still catch something good from a winter sale. With that sizing you will need to get a short version. Try TaT:

http://www.thickasthievesla.com/


Heard good things about it. Reviews all over the archive.

Engineering is conservative, so recommend black shoes (not loafers) and belt.


Thanks for the input. What is a BBBF?

I'm a little nervous about going to a department store or something like a Men's Warehouse because 1) I'm too ignorant to recognize what looks good at what doesn't from a rack and 2) they don't seem to size me well. Last time I bought a suit I went to Karako's, and I can't believe I wore something so poor-fitting.
I have harsh words for the Karako's, but that's for another time. I've never had any store, anywhere, treat me with such disrespect (ex. suggestions that I should work out before putting on a suit).

I haven't seen engineering as conservative in this respect, but since it varies it must be in at least some locations, so I'm leaning toward your advice in a suit. Might go for dark brown shoes with a navy suit though (I am not English
).


With that, do you suggest any particular designers/stores in NYC where I could find shoes (and suits)? CT appealed to me but the isue above leads me to worry about whether they could modify it to fit me. Perhaps I'm better off making another thread about that...
 

acecow

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I'm an electrical engineer. Wear a shirt, trousers and nice shoes. You don't need anything else. I can't think of an interview during which anybody in our company paid attention to what the interviewee was wearing. You are over-thinking this.
 

Spaghettimatt

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A serious suggestion: try Brooks Brothers, Polo, or Hickey Freeman boys sizes. At 5'4" you may be able to fit into an 18 or 20. Length should be right but the rest depends on your weight/build.

They will run you less than 500 and fabric wise are probably the same quality as the men's versions. Construction may be a bit shoddier, but it is your first suit.
 

Gibonius

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OP: are you interviewing with people at the grad school as well as the internship stuff?


If you're actually going to a university to interview with professors, I would strongly advise you to NOT wear a suit. It'll actually detract from your credibility. I wouldn't even wear a jacket at all. It's just not part of the culture and people would think you're weird and don't have a grasp of the academic culture. Not really a good first impression. It probably wouldn't kill your chances, but you're not going to get any positive points and it could certainly be a negative distraction.
 

Quadcammer

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I have some CT suits, and I'm quite pleased with them for the price. But as noted, with working buttonholes, you need a sleeve length that works out of the box. Mine fit well, but I would prefer a bit more cuff showing.

I'd look for a store like nordstrom rack, off 5th saks, or neiman last call, and take a look at hickey freemans as well.
 

acecow

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Originally Posted by chrisb0109
What does?

The tie, I think. I, too, would choose something more conservative.
 

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