Basic Style Guide
Do you actually want to take the time to read in-depth articles on what to wear and what not to wear? Probably not. You just need a quick glance at the basics. The below summarizes what you might want to know for young professional fashion, the focus is on 'the job interview'. Each summary links to a more detailed section on the website where you can learn more about fit, style, what brands are recommended and their price points.
Since the suit is one of the more expensive investments of your wardrobe, it is critical to understand fit and style. If you have a one suit closet, a dark gray or deep blue is highly recommended. They are the most versatile colors that can be worn for any occasion from job interviews to weddings.
The shoulders of the suit have to fit perfectly. The edge of the padding should be just off the end of your shoulder when your arm is resting at your side. The sleeves should hit just at the top of your hand, at the end of your arm. The waist can be tight, but a very defined X should not form when you button the top button. Sleeves and waist can be altered easily, focus on the fit of the shoulders. 100% wool is certainly mandatory, avoid polyester blends.
My recommendation is Saks Off Fifth 'Red Avenue' suit. They go on sale for about $200 and are probably worth paying $300.
Ah the dress shirt...for an interview you should go with a very light blue or a white shirt shirt. It should be 100% cotton and freshly ironed or dry cleaned. No excuses for showing up with a wrinkled shirt.
They make dress shirts in all different sizes now, so go with a trim fit dress shirt if possible. The neck size should be snug when you are standing straight. The collar should show most of the tie knot. Go with a semi-spread (shown above) vs. the old school straight collar (the tips pointing straight down).
Sleeves should come to the top of your hand when you are standing straight.
Charles Tyrwhitt is my recommendation (pictured above) for a crisp, non-iron dress shirt if you have time to purchase online and potentially exchange once for the right size.
Dress pants with suits are going to generally come in one width and length that you will have to get tailored. Dress pants are more straight cut today than they were a decade ago. There should be no pleats at the waist and no cuffs on the button.
The length of the dress pant (the break) should hit right at your shoe or a little lower, slightly covering the shoe.
Dress pants are not your skinny jeans, but they should fit properly. The material should be 100% wool on these as well.
Pictured above is the J. Crew Thompson suit from their factory store. You can generally find this on sale for around $200.00.
Shoes are right up there with the suits in regards to one of the most important items in your closet. Black is the one color that you should own for traditional interviews. The only disclaimer is that a dark brown shoe is going to be a lot more versatile to achieve different styles.
For the purpose of an interview I would stick with black dress shoes with leather soles. The shoes should not be clunky or square toe shoes. Rounded toes are the way to go.
My Allen Edmond shoes I photographed above are my go-to shoes for a lot of different styles. They were absolutely a more expensive upfront cost, but I know they'll last me a very long time.
A quality pair of dress shoes can be resoled by a local shoe repair for around $50.00.
A Goodyear welt construction is recommended since it prevents water from entering through the sole.
For an interview, I would recommend investing in a nice tie. It makes a difference for the quality of the knot and the overall appearance. Brooks Brothers outlet store has great options.
Learn how to tie the half windsor knot for an interview. This is a very symmetrical knot that looks great and is easy to tie.
Basic patterns, colors and a 100% silk tie is recommended for an interview. Today, a conservative width is about 3 inches at the ties widest point. A trendy, skinny tie or a really wide tie from your dad's closet are not good options.
Pictured above is a Hugo Boss tie that I purchased from Marshalls for $50.00.
Wear a watch to an interview. Definitely own a watch when you're working. A stainless steal strap will give you the most versatility. A black leather watch should be worn with a black belt and black dress shoes. A brown leather watch should be worn with a brown belt and brown dress shoes.
I prefer automatic watches, but a quartz dress watch can look just as nice.
The watch I photographed above, I purchased over a decade ago for $100.00. The brand doesn't even make this watch anymore, but it still runs great!