Interview tie that's conservative but not corporate?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jdstany, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. jdstany

    jdstany Member

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    Hello. I'm in the last year of a PhD program and am beginning to apply for jobs. I'm working on getting a nice interview wardrobe together but am a bit stuck. Most of the advice I'm seeing for interview dress relates to the business world and doesn't really apply to me. I'll be mostly interviewing for academic jobs (assistant professorships or post-docs) and I've been advised that my dress should be "reasonably conservative but definitely not corporate."

    I have two suits: one medium gray and one charcoal—both are good (but not great) quality, well tailored, and of a modern (slim but not extremely slim) single-breasted, two-button design. I'm stuck on what sort of tie to wear as conservative ties all strike me as being at least somewhat corporate, and ties that are not corporate strike me as not being sufficiently conservative. Anyone have any thoughts? Thanks!
     


  2. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  3. NoCleverName

    NoCleverName Senior member

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    Brown may be a good bet, especially for academia. A brown grenadine, depending on the rest of your clothing, might be a great choice.
     


  4. jdstany

    jdstany Member

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    Good suggestions—thanks! This makes me think that I may just need to avoid "glossy" ties and stick with subdued colors. I just came across this
    http://www.drakes-london.com/ties/woven/woven-silk-jacquard-8cm-tie-4071

    What do you think about that tie with a medium gray suit, white shirt, white linen square-fold pocket square, and walnut brown captoes? I also think that the same outfit would work with several of the grenadine ties that you linked to.
     


  5. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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  6. Claghorn

    Claghorn Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yes. This exactly.
     


  7. jdstany

    jdstany Member

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    Thanks again for all of the great tips. I'm curious about the obsession with black shoes for interviews. I know that this is gospel for interviews in finance and law, but I didn't think that the black shoe mandate was so universal as to apply to academia—except for academic positions in schools of finance and law, of course :) . My field is epidemiology, which is essentially public health research. So the field is overwhelmingly casual, to the point that most professors wear either a polo or sweater with khakis, depending on the season. I've never seen any faculty member in a tie—literally, never. With all that said, do you really think that black shoes are an issue? I have nice black shoes, I just don't like the way black shoes look with anything but a black suit.
     


  8. apack

    apack Senior member

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    In most fields of academia, the type of tie you wear will not make any difference. The fact that you're wearing a suit will normally make you stand out as a faculty candidate, so any tasteful tie will serve just fine. That said, I'd probably get a nice Hober tie that you like, as they're excellent value and will serve you well later. Personal taste, i.e., what will make you comfortable and confident, is much more important than trying to achieve any particular look, as there isn't any truly conventional look in academia.
     


  9. apack

    apack Senior member

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    Not really an issue. Most people won't notice your shoes at all, and no one is going to be offended by their color.
     


  10. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know about epidemiology, but in economics, for newly minted PhDs, first round interviews are all done at the big annual conference. So you see all the job candidates walking around, and I can assure you, pretty much all are wearing black shoes. This is true even though for the field in general, it is not common to wear a "business" suit and tie when presenting at a conference. The interviewers are often dressed much more casually.

    It's unlikely that anyone will be offended by non-black shoes or think that it means you are not taking the interviews seriously. However I can guarantee you that no one will be offended if you do wear black shoes. If you want to be sure about it, ask your classmates or your professors what is standard.
     


  11. jdstany

    jdstany Member

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    Thanks. I asked my chair about interview dress a few days ago—he was the one who said to dress "reasonably conservative but definitely not corporate"—but I got the impression that he felt that the details were largely irrelevant so long as look professional. And it sounds like our situation is very different from the economics PhD grads. All of my interviews will be personal, based on an invitation to interview (and often give a job talk) after passing the CV review and often a phone interview as well. I had no idea that there were academic job conferences in any field. Interesting.
     


  12. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    It's not a job conference - it's the main annual conference for the entire field. So there are presentations and whatnot going on all weekend. It's just where first round interviews happen also. They're also personal, based on invitation to interview, after CV review and review of your job market paper. Then after that they may invite you out for a job talk, where you'll meet more of the department. After that they make offers.
     


  13. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Also, if you're going for "conservative but not corporate" you might consider swapping out the white shirt for a light blue one. I'd also probably leave the PS at home, but up to you.
     


  14. apack

    apack Senior member

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    The PS is the one item likely to stand out -- there are only 2-3 other people (besides me) that wear them at my school in natural sciences / engineering. At most conferences I attend, I'm the only one wearing a PS. Of course it is often valuable to stand out and be memorable in academia, especially when you have the capability to back up the extra attention. Personally I would wear a tasteful but rich colored pocket square to provide some color contrast and a secondary focal point.
     


  15. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Just be aware that at least some people will be thinking, "what is that garbage in this fop's pocket" while you're trying to explain to them why your research is important.
     


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