Interviewing in a Recession: How to Dress for a Job Interview in Hard Times

by Antonio on December 18, 2008 · 32 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

interview-dressing-tips

We are reminded daily that the economic outlook isn’t good; for those of us looking for work, it’s hard to imagine a worse scenario.Not only are there less jobs out there, the number and quality of people applying for them continues to rise.Interviews have gone from competitive to ultra-competitive.

This article deals with how to dress for a job interview.What you wear to an interview is important because it is a factor you can control, unlike other factors such as who will interview you or what questions will be asked.Not dressing appropriately is one of the most common ways job seekers shoot themselves in the foot; it immediately signals to the interviewer that you did not properly prepare and damages your chances for the position.In today’s ultracompetitive job market, why would you let something so simple get in your way?

Although focused on interviews that require a suit and tie, many of the tips and techniques translate into any situation in which you want to present yourself as a prime candidate for employment.These tips can stand alone if you are applying for an entry level position where only a button up shirt and nice slacks are required.

The Interview Suit

The good news is that the classical men’s suit style has remained the same for a hundred years. The bad news is that there are a lot of fashion suits out there that will become dated faster than you can purchase them. You need to ignore temporary fashion, and find what looks best on you. Remember three things when choosing a suit: Fit, Style, and Fabric.

Your Suit’s Fit
The majority of American men wear suits too large for them.The problem is a result of trying to fit into a garment made to fit as many men as possible.It is always a good investment to have anything bought off the rack adjusted by a competent tailor, but first you need to find one that comes close to fitting. When inspecting your suit’s fit, first ensure the chest and shoulders fit you snugly – you should have full freedom of movement with your arms and a few inches of room in the chest but not so tight as to form an “X” when buttoned.The jacket should be long enough to just cover your backside and not extend past your hand’s knuckles when your arms are held straight down.Ensure your sleeves show ½ inch of shirt cuff and that the jacket lapels lay flat on your chest. Finally there should be no bunching of fabric in the back near your neck ,and your jacket collar should show approximately ¾ of an inch of your shirt’s collar.

Your Suit’s Style
When it comes to interview suit style, go with a classic cut that is common in your country. In the United States, this is a single breasted, notched lapel, two or three button jacket with a single or double back vent and regular flap pockets. Ensure you have at least as many cuff buttons as you have front jacket buttons (four buttons on the sleeve is normal) and make sure you have a left breast pocket (on some trendy suits these are missing). Avoid patch pockets, peak lapels, and slanted side pockets (in the US) as all of these change the formality of the jacket and are best left to non-interview attire. Also pay close attention to the lapels; a trend right now is thin lapels, which if worn by a large man will make him look ridiculous. As for trousers, either flat or pleated slacks are fine, although pleated fronts are more formal and generally more comfortable. Cuffed bottoms look best on tall men while shorter men are advised to wear their trousers uncuffed; either is perfectly acceptable for an interview.

Your Suit’s Fabric
When selecting your suits fabric take into consideration its weave and color. Try to go with natural fibers, preferably worsted wool. If you choose a blend, ensure the synthetic fiber make-up is 40% or less. Although a blend may keep the price down, it will normally not last as long and may be less breathable. As to color choice, the safest selections are solids in navy blue, charcoal, and black. Although you can wear patterns such as pin stripes or colors such as brown or taupe, understand you will stand out.

The Dress Shirt

Again, focus on fit, style, and fabric. The dress shirt’s fit should be loose enough to allow a full range of movement but not so loose as to have excess fabric bunching up under the jacket.Your shirt should be long enough so that when you bend over, it does not un-tuck. You also want to be able to place two fingers in-between your neck and a buttoned collar – any more and it just looks too loose. Your cuffs should extend to the top of your hands, with approximately ½ inch of shirt cuff showing from under your jacket sleeve when your arms hang straight down. The cuff should not be too loose; you should have to unbutton it to remove it.

As for style, the collar type chosen should be based off of your facial structure. Men with long, thin faces look best in spread collars, while round faced men should look to even out their appearance with a point collar. Avoid button down collars in an interview, as they are the least formal. Normal barrel cuffs with one or two buttons are fine for interviews; avoid cufflinks unless you have the resume to back them up.

Your shirt’s fabric should be simple and non-flashy – white and blue solids are a staple and easy to find; those that desire more can transform these colors with a unique weave such as herringbone or oxford.Avoid colors such as lavender and pink and patterns such as checks, as they make an outfit less formal; stripes should only be worn if the wearer understands how to match patterns.

Your Tie

Interview ties should be conservative and made from silk. Solid or simple patterns in red, blue, or gold are all acceptable; however, a skilled dresser can often incorporate almost any non-attention grabbing color and pattern.Striped ties are a fine choice and come in a wide range of colors, but ensure the tie you choose is not sporting a regimental pattern. In the UK, memberships to military clubs and other groups are symbolized by certain ties.Wearing another man’s “Colors” can cause a confrontation and embarrassment.And unless it’s an interview over a meal, there is no reason to use a tie clip or pin (where it serves to hold a man’s tie in place). The key thing to remember is to keep it professional – avoid bright colors or designs that will draw undue attention.

Dress Shoes

Your shoes are the foundation of your outfit; do not skimp on this detail – they are as important as your suit.With that being said, anything well polished, dark, and not screaming “look at me!” will probably work in the US for an interview; in Europe they are generally more in tune to these details, so be careful.A plain or capped black oxford is always a safe choice; classic in nature, a quality pair will serve you well for years. Whichever shoes you choose, try to make sure they have round toes and closed lacing. By closed lacing, I mean that the two sides of the upper that are pulled together by the lacing are sewn under the front part of the shoe.A small detail, but it gives the foot a sleeker look and will ensure your shoe is the right choice for a suit.You should not wear slip-ons such as dress boots, loafers, or monkstraps, and avoid anything eccentric.

Hosiery

Your socks should match your slacks or shoes and be dark in color. The goal here is to not draw attention to your legs. This isn’t the time to sport the no sock/short sock look or try that new pair of flashy hosiery. If the socks are seen, they should appear to flow seamlessly between the shoes and trouser cuff. No White Socks!

Jewelry and the Interview

A wedding ring is always acceptable in an interview; anything else is fair game and left up to the interviewer’s personal views. I advise against wearing class rings or anything else on the fingers.As for watches, think less is more – keep it simple, understated, and please turn off the alarm. Although jewelry such as nose rings, eye piercings, and earrings have become more accepted in our society, these things are still considered out of the ordinary for many; you cannot wear something like this and not expect it to affect a person’s impression of you. Be yourself, but be aware of the consequences.

Grooming

Get a haircut a week before the interview and ensure they trim around your neck and ears – consider grooming these two areas again the day before. Pay attention to the details – your nails should be clean and cut, your face appropriately shaven, and your hair should have been washed within the last 24 hours. It’s not a date, so avoid cologne and be careful with the aftershave; sometimes interviews are held in small rooms and you do not want to overpower your interviewer’s olfactory system.

Preparation

You do not need to have your clothing dry cleaned, but everything you wear must be look and smell clean (no smoking around your interview clothing).Shirts should be ironed, shoes polished, and have a suit steamed to remove wrinkles.Have all of this done well in advance of the interview – saving this for the last minute is asking for trouble.

Remember This

Your interview attire will not get you a job – but failing to manage it can hurt your chances for a position.Your aim in dressing well is to present yourself in the best possible light throughout your interview.Wear clothing that fits, is made of quality material, and is appropriate for the interview.By doing these simple things you ensure the interviewer focuses on your skills and what you have to offer; not your appearance.

Written by Antonio Centeno
President, A Tailored Suit

Join our Facebook Community and Win Custom Clothing

Need more men’s fashion information? Visit our Style Guide.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rob December 18, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Oh man, I have to thank you guys here. I followed the advice of one of your earlier posts to much success. I managed to get a job at a great company and am on my way to the Trenton, NJ area in January. Thank you all so much!

P.S. If I could request, can you post something on moving out across the country for the first time?

2 e December 18, 2008 at 11:56 pm

> As for watches, think less is more – keep it simple, understated, and please turn off the alarm.

What alarm? Real watches – the mechanical ones – have seldom an alarm. A man should not carry a toy… :)

Remember to turn off your mobile, though.

3 Gordon December 19, 2008 at 5:21 am

I always have wondered if it is proper to have a pocket square during an interview. Somehow looking better than the boss/interviewer might be a bad thing. Any thoughts?

4 Tony December 19, 2008 at 5:46 am

Rob – Great to hear that…..I’m sure Brett will add your suggestion to the list!

e – I also advise a simple, classic watch that has no fancy features or electronic gizmos. A good rule of thumb on watches and formality is that the simpler it is, the more formal it is (use common sense here!). When wearing a tux, I advise no watch at all as that at a formal event a gentleman should not worry about time.

Gordon – Good point! As much as I love them, I do not recommend wearing a pocket square in an interview because of the exact danger you pointed out. In an interview, you do not want to upstage the person sitting across from you. Unfortunately in the US most men do not wear a pocket square; unless you are in a creative field or applying for a job at GQ, this might be interpreted negatively as that it is out of the ordinary.

5 R December 19, 2008 at 6:34 am

A couple of things I learned:

Dress _1_ level above company culture. If the company is a “T-Shirt office” (common in tech), you are quite possibly shooting yourself in the foot wearing a suit. They are interviewing you not just for knowledge, but to see if you fit in with company culture and will integrate well. So if everyone is in T-Shirts, wear a nicer shirt or polo shirt and a pair of slacks. If semi-casual is typical, perhaps upgrade to business casual. If it’s business casual… then wear a suit. That way you always look good, but still fit in. Research will tell you what to wear. You can also ask during the phone interview what the office is like.

I know people who have crossed off potential candidates for violating this one.

Here’s an odd thing I learned:

If your applying for a job while employed, wearing a suit can actually hurt you. If your wearing a suit, and that’s not typical for your current job… and your coming directly from work. What do your coworkers and boss think? Do they know your on the way out? Did they ask you to leave?

Yes, employers think about this. Did this candidates company ask him to leave? Why is he able to take 2hrs off during the day for an interview? Why isn’t he doing it before or after business hours?

I’ve said to interviewers before by email that I’m coming directly from work and don’t want to tip off coworkers that I’m job hunting. Every time I’ve done that they were 120% understanding, if not expecting me to say that (one said that’s typical). I like to add a “I’m willing to be judged 100% on my skills rather than my dress”.

Another good tip is to silence your cell phone. You look like you don’t care about the interview when it goes off. Even worse if you wip it out to read a text message.

That’s what I’ve learned from my interviews.

6 IA_ December 19, 2008 at 6:51 am

Does the author account for regional differences between cities in the US? I live in the fourth largest city in the US. I’m not very good with fashion but I try to notice.

It seems to me that boots are far more common and better looking than any oxford. I rarely notice suits but I don’t know if wool is often used. The fabric in suits is thin. I know cotton dress shirts are far preferred over other fabrics because of their coolness in the hot summers.

Also many people in this city (Texas A&M grads) would take it as an grievous insult if you did not wear your Aggie ring to a job interview.

Am I misreading local fashion or is there variation across the country?

7 Kevin T. Keith December 19, 2008 at 7:27 am

Excellent advice (and kudos to the commenter for the rule about “one level above”). I think this is a little too conservative in a few respects, though:

- slip-on or zip-up ankle boots are fine as semi-formal footwear, but rather old-fashioned these days; dressy cowboy boots are OK, but only in the few states in which that is common;

- dress loafers are fine, though a bit pretentious; don’t put pennies in the leather tab unless you’re a complete dick *and* interviewing for a job at a fraternity;

- peak lapels (and, maybe, slanted pockets) are very stylish, but very European – no reason to avoid them unless you’re in an especially conservative environment, but not everybody can pull them off;

- patterned socks, colored shirts, and European-styled shoes (within reason) are perfectly fine – the standards changed on these years ago.

8 Scordo.com December 19, 2008 at 8:25 am

Great, great post.

Agree with you especially on how Americans do no generally wear tailored suits (A baggy suit is a no-no in every situation not just for an interview).

Also, the shoe part is critical. I think you need to overspend on shoes to get a high quality pair (with a leather sole that can be replaced; also, shoe horns are critical).

9 Nesagwa December 19, 2008 at 8:40 am

Sigh, can’t I just wear a suit everyday without worrying if I’m “over dressing” the place.

Just because the place I’m working accepts T-shirts and jeans every day doesn’t mean I should lower my standards so they don’t feel awkward about their clothes.

10 Jonathan Thomas December 19, 2008 at 8:51 am

On the last job interview I went on, I intended to wear a tie. Problem was that I didn’t know how to tie one and neither did my wife. I planned enough time to stop at my parents on the way to the interview (I had lived 1 hour away from potential Job and they were down the street) so one of them could tie it. My dad, the only one who ever wears a tie, wasn’t there and my mom didn’t know how. Running out of time, I tried repeatedly to follow a video on the web on how to tie a tie. Despite a college education, tying a tie was simply beyond me. It got past the point of no return, so I was forced to go on to the interview in a suit with no tie.

I got the job anyway. 7 months later it’s the best job I ever had and I get to wear jeans every day. :)

So, word of advice, learn how to tie a damn tie or have it pre-tied if you have somewhere to go.

11 Len December 19, 2008 at 10:46 am

Is taupe a colour? If so, avoid it.

Also, unless you’ve got a slightly darker complexion, a black suit can make you look pale and ill – lifeless. Avoid it if possible. It might even be worthwhile investing in some professional advice about which colours suit you the most. It’ll help in the interview, but it’ll also help you look your best with simple colours at any time.

12 Dick December 19, 2008 at 2:52 pm

I agree with the idea that one should dress appropriately for the job being interviewed for. It’s important to do some research on this just as it is to learn about the company so you’re fully prepared to answer and ask intelligent questions during the interview.

>>> The jacket should be long enough to just cover your backside and not extend past your hand’s knuckles when your arms are held straight down. <<<

I notice that too many people wear jacket sleeves too long. My rule is for the sleeve to not pass the wrist. This allows the shirt sleeve to show without the shirt sleeve being ridiculously long.

13 Jay Reeder December 19, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Black is not an acceptable business suit color in the US. Dark or charcoal gray, yes. But a black business suit is reserved for undertakers.

14 Daniel December 20, 2008 at 12:12 am

I recommend wearing the suit a few times before the interview, if you are new to suits. Get used to it, move around in front of a mirror to get a feel for how it looks, and do your best to look like a man wearing a suit, not a boy in his fathers clothes.
Consider wearing a suit, or atleast smarter wear, day to day in your job as well. In these times of financial uncertainty companies want to appear the best in they possibly can, if one of the bigwigs comes in and sees halfa dozen IT support guys lounging around in short sleeve shirts and jeans, while you are elegently attired in a suit, who do you think will stick in the memory as an employee who cares?
Interestingly enough, Gieves and Hawke of Savile Row, London have noticed a big increase in suit sales since the financial crisis hit. They attribute it to people wanting to look as smart as possible to impress management and thus be less likely to be led out to the gallows.

15 The Common Man December 20, 2008 at 6:44 am

@ Jonathan,

How old are you? How can any man go through life without learning how to tie a tie??? It’s one of the manliest of rights of passage. I stand, baffled. Flummuxed even.

Brett, I think it’s time for a “How to tie a tie” post. Preferrably with diagrams.

16 David December 20, 2008 at 8:41 am

You stated that one should be clean shaven, but I am wondering, is that a hard-and-fast rule? What if you are a man that normally sports a well manicured beard? Is it one of those things that one must sacrifice? It seems that at some point (at least for one made in an area of cold climate) there is a point at which a beard is seen as acceptable and a part of the person rather than something conveying juvenile behavior and laziness. Brett, how say you on this topic?

It just seems odd that a beard is advocated for the working man yet shunned during the interview process.

17 Tom December 20, 2008 at 2:40 pm

If you really can’t afford to dress appropriately, here’s a lesson for turning it into a positive. My dad used to do assessment interviews for entry into the London Metropolitan Police and on one occasion some guy turned up with a scruffy t-shirt and jeans with holes in. Virtually as soon as he sat down the first words he said were, ‘I apologize for the way I’m dressed, but I have a young family to support and any money I have is spent on them first.’ My dad was immediately impressed with his sense of responsibility and a year later the man was a police officer.

18 Kristiyan December 21, 2008 at 6:25 am

The title of the article has nothing to do with real recession and does not apply only for going to interview in “hard-times”.

First of all, men should go to job interviews dressed well, without regards if it is recession or no.

Second, it more likely than not that during recession times a man’s budget is low and cannot include the expense of having a fitted suit with jacket and tie. Think of a young prospect or lower class man.

And at final, this article can serve as a good advice for anytime, the title is misleading, presumably for marketing reasons following the trend of current times. Much like fashion brands try to sell more cammo and khakki patterns in times of war, the same way the publisher hopes to sell a old idea in new packaging during times of recession.

However I did not see a true advise that is intended for real tip on going to interview during recession. I don’t believe that you can advise a man on how to get a job during recession, because with recession or without it, the employer is looking at the perspective employee and not at the economical time. It is only after you’ve been hired when the boss will understand if he made a good or poor employing choice.

Furthermore, the tip is irrelevant to the current economic crisis, because of job-cuts some very skilled office professionals might be forced to find a job in lower, sectors with different skills. For example a IT Project Manager might be forced to get a job as car salesman. Or a car salesman to get a job in construction. Mind you, a man has to do what a man has to do and there is no place for vanity during times of real recession. (Which hasn’t hit as of yet).

You can’t go to interview in a construction company dressed in suit. That was naive. Title’s wrong.

19 Tony December 21, 2008 at 8:57 pm

R – Great point about dressing just slightly above the average dress of the company your looking to get hired with. I know my article didn’t really cover interviewing for jobs that do not require a suit, and your tip here helps cover that gap.

IA – I take it your in Houston? I know a few dozen Aggies myself, and understand the need to wear the class ring. But what happens when your sitting across from UT (or as you all call us, TU) grad I am all for pride, but a interviewer with a chip on his shoulder may sabotage your chances……I know, petty, but it’s something I would avoid (except in Houston!) As for footwear, the article is a general guide. Boots in Texas are natural….if you move up to Boston, you might want to reconsider that choice.

Kevin – I agree, I did err on the side of conservative. But as that it’s only a safe guide, a man well versed in men’s style is free to veer from the path as he sees fit. All of your points are excellent.

Nesagwa – Continue to set the standard!

Jonathan – I’m a tieless man myself, so I wouldn’t have held it against you!

Len & Jay – I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with you both. Black is a great color for a man – it’s the most formal color, but you can make it less formal by dressing down the clothing accessories around it. From Daniel Craig to Fred Astaire to Anthony Biddle to Tom Ford (I could go on and on here)…..black can make a man look great. It’s often the accessories, cheap fabric, and/or a bad fit that mess things up.

Dick – Great points, especially the part about doing your homework. I alluded to this in the article, but this writing is the tip of the iceberg. An interview needs to be thoroughly prepared for, as that how you want to dress for an interview with McKinsey & Co is different from if you are looking for an entry level position at department store in Midland, Texas. But there are things consistent across the board – dress neatly, wear clothes that fit & are clean, and ensure you are properly groomed.

Daniel – you bring up an important point, and one of the reasons for the article. Appearances are important, especially now in the downturn when companies are scrutinizing everything about their employees and potential hires. In boom times, when even average employees have multiple other job prospects, we tend to neglect our dress because we feel it doesn’t matter. When all of the sudden even the best are worrying about their jobs, every detail suddenly becomes important.

David – good catch, if you have a well groomed beard then wear it. I remember once reading a communication study about initial impressions that people register when meeting bearded men, but for the life of me can’t remember the findings. Anybody out there have anything to add?

Tom – A very interesting story. Did any of you all see the Will Smith Movie “Pursuit of Happyness”? I like how he handled his situation.

Kristiyan – You are right in that these tips are timeless. The title was chosen as that we wanted to remind those looking for work that they need to pay attention to the little things, because the little things aren’t really that little. In uncertain times, people tend to try to reduce risk – if they are hiring they hire those that fit certain guidelines – by adhering to a standard and accepted dress code, an interviewee eliminates that factor as a cause for rejection. Also, the article clearly states it is geared towards those applying to jobs that require business clothing. And I disagree with your final point, as that you could show up to a construction company in a suit for an interview. All of my friends that work for Fluor Construction did!

20 Blake December 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm

There was a lot of great advice in the article. I disagree on a few points though.

I would avoid a black suit for interview situations. In America, the black suit is kind of a generational thing. Most men over about 35 (who you will probably be interviewing with) would not wear a black suit, unless it was a tux. I think European men even avoid black shoes most of the time and opt for brown with either grey or blue suits.

I also don’t view thin lapels as necessarily trendy. I think they are a classic kind of 1960s look that most men can pull off as long as they wear the right tie. A good rule of thumb is that the width of your lapels should be the same as the width of your tie. You may be right that thin lapels look odd on very large men, but I always thought they looked quite smart in the early Bond films and Connery is a pretty big guy.

For the guy from Houston: I think wearing boots with a suit is a gamble and probably not something I would do on an interview. I have seen men wear boots with a suit in places like Houston, OKC, and Fort Worth, but you would need a pretty good sense of who it is that is interviewing you and the customs of your particular industry. Boots with a suit sends out the message that you are a man of the people, which is probably why you see so many Texas trial lawyers wearing them. But they could also be taken as unprofessional.

I would also say no on the aggie ring, unless you know the interviewer is an aggie. I think they are tacky, but as a UT fan I may have a bit of a bias.

21 Samuel December 25, 2008 at 1:08 pm

I work in a lawyers office in the UK, and while my office is considered one of the most casual going there is still a definite ring of truth to this article in my day-to-day life.

I recently (i.e. in the last month) sat in during several interviews for new trainees (students, due to start with the firm in 2 years time). I was stunned by the frankly dreadful state of 75% of the applicants. The firm tries hard to not focus on ‘stuffy’ images etc, but there’s a line to be drawn. Most of these applicants were over 20 years old but looked like they’d never worn a suit in their lives. Some horrendous choices of shirts & ties, not-even-close attempts to match shoes to the trousers and a terrible tendency to style their hair like a spare member of Busted. Do you get Busted in the USA? No? Good, you have no idea the hell which you have been spared. Suffice to say it’s a LOT of product, entirely inappropriate for an office environment.

I actually hadn’t thought a lot about appearance until that day, and now as a direct result I spend an extra 10 minutes each morning making sure my own attire is appropriate. This article largely states what should be obvious, but judging by that recent slew of interviewees it can’t hurt to go over the basics again! In this economic climate the fine details can end up having a more disproportionate effect than the applicant might think…

22 Tony January 1, 2009 at 1:39 am

I’m sure I’ve seen studies saying that no matter how well you answer the interviewer’s questions, the interviewer makes up their mind within the first two minutes based upon their initial impression of you.

If this is true (and it may not be for professionally trained interviewers), then being well dressed could make a big difference to your chances of getting a job offer; particularly (as Samuel suggests) the competition often let themselves down!

23 TimR January 8, 2009 at 11:10 am

Interesting article. Many men who have never known a deep recession are realizing that the “clean slob” look of recent years is no longer acceptable. Clothes are more formal and more conservative, and for those who only knew a tight job market it can be very helpful to read articles like this. There are men under 35 who have never tied a necktie!

24 Thierry Vanroy January 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

Something that’s really missing, as somewhat pointed out by others, are the cultural differences. In the US, it’s normal to wear a white shirt, but if you dare doing that in France, the typical joke is “you want a job or you want to take my order?”. In France, and most of Europe actually, you’re always safest with blue (striped, plain… doesn’t matter). Oh, and Canada is more like Europe than the US.

Or for example in the UK, cufflinks are accepted if you’re the stylish type, just like a noticeable ring, a personal pen or an expensive watch. Same goes for France. You are allowed to be stylish in those countries, it can even boost your popularity.

But on the other hand, countries like Germany or the Netherlands are a world of difference. They’ll wonder what you’re up to if you wear any kind of accessory other than a wedding ring.

If your career is to be international, please take note of the various cultural differences, they can be huge.

25 david February 10, 2009 at 9:25 am

I’d suggest a powerful but upbeat tie that shows you have a sense of style. Check out what each color says about you and your emotions on the Sparxoo Blog at http://sparxoo.com/?p=98

26 interview questions July 23, 2009 at 6:14 am

It is a great article with a nice presentation and I would like to say do continue your appreciating work.
Elenora

27 Jackson April 2, 2010 at 6:40 am

1): is wearing a grey blazer with black slacks acceptable?

2): is it considered “overdressed” to show up to an interview for an essentially glorified coffee shop in a suit and tie?

3): Which knot for a tie is accpetable for an interview, four-in-hand, windsor, pratt, or square?
and
4): As far as dancing (swing, lindy, three-step, etc.) attire goes, what would be an acceptable outfit for a semiformal dance that gives free range of motion, but does not sacrifice taste and class in the process?

Feedback would be much appreciated.
Thank you

28 Thierry Vanroy May 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm

1. What for? A decent job interview? Or something more artsy? If it’s the latter, then yes, try wearing a sweater and not a shirt in that case. Otherwise, wouldn’t try it.

2. Yes :-p But if you’re a waiter with training, at least show in black trousers and a perfectly ironed white shirt.

3. Doesn’t matter, as long as you CAN knot it that way. I pretty much always use a pratt-knot, but that’s a personal thing.

4.With those dances, just overdress, everybody does. If you want free range of motion, wear a gilet under your vest so you can take it off without losing style.

29 Gerald October 7, 2012 at 8:55 am

About the Suits Fabric.

I think up to 50% Polyestre can be accetable today. Actually Synthetics are alway more durable then natural fibre. They are also less susceptible to wrinkling.

Course they still tend to be a little stiff, but there are nowadays better synthetic-mixed fabrics without the cheapass Polyestre look from 20 years ago. There are even a lot of very price suits with up to 50% Synthetics. Made especially for exhibitions or travellers that have to maintain a proper look after a few hours in the car/plane/train etc.

Its time to rethink some older prejudices. But always avoid the “extremly” cheap 100% synthetics etc. some are still on the market.

30 Mat May 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Looking back at my interview for my current job, I was the only one hired, and one of the few men in a suit. Did it get me the job? Maybe, maybe not. But I can say that I looked better and more professional than all of the guys who had a colored button up shirt and walmart slacks.

31 Nataraj January 20, 2014 at 10:01 am

Interesting article, and like many on this site I found it to be pretty good with serious tendencies towards fuddy-duddy. Some of this has already been mentioned, but I’ll make a couple of points anyway. Black suit for interviewing? Never. At least not here in the non-Chicago Midwest. Charcoal or navy are probably best, but a lot of us are blond/blue/pale and dark makes us look undead. My best suit is chocolate brown and looks (and fits) great. I feel like I OWN the room when I wear it, and so I do. Side note: I have been offered every job for which I have had an in-person interview. The conservative shirt/tie/sock/shoes advice here is exactly the same as John Malloy’s “Dress For Success” book written in 1975. Most businesses are not suit and tie now. I wear a sport coat in a business casual environment and everyone refers to me as dressed up or fancy. I freely mix patterns and textures in a bold statement of personal style (but not in an interview unless I’m trying to show them that I know the rules and how to creatively break them — depends on the job). You will notice my socks. My shoes might have laces that match my tie/pocket square. My hair is not corporate-short (mostly it’s a long braid). Outside of work I am a flamboyant performer and I bring a TINY amount of that with me to work. Guess what? I’m generally popular and fun to work with. I can make work enjoyable. One last thing which I know was mentioned: For interviews, do your homework (call the receptionist) and find out what people really wear. I knew an office was shorts and sandals, yet the contract agency insisted I wear a suit and tie to the interview. I stuck out like a sore thumb, and shed the tie the moment I walked in the door. Pity about the suit and pressed shirt. The manager in the room had jeans and a polo while everyone else was in shorts and a t-shirt. RULES are dumb. Broad, nuanced advice is more appropriate. Someone else in the comments maybe said it best: Dress _1_ level above the office culture.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter