the suit

My brother found out about a job interview with just two days notice, and texted me in a mild panic requesting suit advice for the big day. Beyond knowing that he should wear a suit, he was a little lost. It occurred to me that because much of the male population isn't exactly sartorially inclined (no offense), this might be a problem a lot of guys face. So here's the advice I gave my brother. 

My first rule is that a man should always wear a suit to a job interview. I don’t care if you’re trying to be a janitor or a CEO; wear a suit unless you're told otherwise. Second, make sure your suit fits. You might as well wear your PJ's if it doesn’t.

These non-black neutrals leave a lot of room for a variety of shirt/tie combinations and can be worn all year round.

But just getting a suit on your body doesn’t mean you’re done. Men don’t have much flexibility when it comes to interview attire, so attention to details can be the best way to set yourself apart from other candidates. Try to stay away from plain black. The fact that you’re wearing a suit is formal enough, and unless you’re applying for a job on Wall Street, you don’t have to be quite that conservative. Grays, navys and subtle patterns will look just as professional, but will also give you an opportunity to differentiate yourself.

If you're really confident in your ability to pull off a suit, these less conventional neutrals can be an interesting alternative if done right.
The only place I’d recommend playing it safe is when it comes to buttons. Double-breasted suits can look really swanky, but they can also look pretty ridiculous. The safest bet is a single-breasted suit with either two or three buttons. Just make sure your lapels are proportional, and that the correct button stays buttoned (for a two-button, the top button; for a three-button, the middle one!).

Despite what I said about black, if it's all you have and it's this close to perfect, no one is going to turn their nose up at it. 

Ultimately, the most important thing is that your suit fits you. You'll probably want to go with a slim-fit if you opt for a less expensive suit. But whether you spend $100 or $1,100, get it tailored. A sloppy suit sends your interviewer the same message as a pair of sweatpants: namely, that you don't care. 

up next: the shirt

Suits: (left to right from top down) Paul SmithBelvestIsaiaBelvestBOSS BlackPaul SmithPaul Smith*
*I used Park and Bond as a template to easily display these suits, and also because they have great clothes, but it is obviously not the only place to find the best suit(s) for you.


Judi Roth
05/22/2012 12:38pm

What exactly did you advise Andrew to wear? I DO love your writing style. Money well spent!

05/22/2012 5:30pm

you have to wait for the last post in the series to find out!

05/23/2012 4:44pm

for what it's worth. I know a young man who interened for a week at a major dailty newpaper editorial department.After he finished his one week stint he asked the editor" "how did I do, do you hav e any advice?." There was a long pause. Then the boss, the chief editorial writer and Yale man) said. Yes he said with a straight face. "If you want toget anywhere in this world,never again wear brown shoes with a blue suit."

05/23/2012 6:36pm

Good fashion input!

Bud weidenthal
05/24/2012 1:37pm

Checkout today's NY Times Thursday Style section. Major story on men's suits.


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