Dressing for (Interview) Success

Though Henry Thoreau once warned us to “distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes,” he never had business school interviews. Here’s how to make that critical first impression count.

Your rumpled manly fashion statement
Men are relying on the basics – with a twist. “Black is huge,” says Andi Cohen, a fashion executive, who also mentions charcoal gray and navy as popular colors this season. Cohen says three-button suits and sports coats are in, but two-buttons are making a comeback. When shopping for the perfect suit, Cohen points out a few style trends to look out for: higher buttons, a narrow lapel, and plain front pants. While men still can’t go wrong with a basic white button-down shirt, French blue shirts continue to be almost unduly popular.

Women – keep fashion out of the interview
While pantsuits are increasingly acceptable even in the most conservative institutions for work wear, the interview is not the time to be fashion forward. Wear a skirt suit in black, brown, navy or black-and-white houndstooth. The confident may choose to wear a red suit. Choose a button down shirt that fits smoothly underneath, or a shell. Remember that the interviewer may invite you to remove your jacket.

On the other hand, if you intend on wearing a pantsuit everyday, you may wish to wear a pantsuit as a screening mechanism. A company that dings you for not wearing a skirt is probably not somewhere you want to work. At least you won’t have to worry about having your skirt ride up.

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