Bitter Style: Fashion Tips for Interviews


Bitter Style: Fashion Tips for Interviews

Most important thing to remember is: Let your resume and interpersonal skills make the impression, not your wardrobe.

Women

DO…

- Wear a solid or conservative pinstripe suit (either skirt or pant) in dark gray, navy or black.

- Dress clean and sharp.  No clutter, no frills.

- Make sure your suit choice fits properly.  Not too baggy or too tight.

- Wear a simple shoe–preferably a 2 to 3 ½ inches high.

DON’T…

- Wear a noticeable perfume.  So many people are allergic!

- Show off your cleavage or butt.  It’s an interview, not a date.

- Wear fashion-statement jewelry.  Stick to simple stud earrings.  No dangles.

- Get too fashion-forward or tragically hip. Could be distracting.

- Wear shoes with too high a heel or an open toe.

- Go with bare legs.

Men

DO…

- Wear a solid or conservative pinstripe suit in dark gray or navy.

- Wear a white or light blue shirt.  Simple blue pinstripe is okay, too.

- Wear a semi-spread collar shirt.  With collar stays!

- Wear a two-button suit.  Three-button is okay if you’re tall and slender.

- Match your belt to your shoes.

- Make sure your socks are the same basic shade as your trouser.

- Wear a simple black or brown dress shoe.  Lace-up is preferable to loafer.

- Get a shoeshine prior to your interview.

DON’T…

- Wear a black suit.  No matter what your super-cool agent friend from LA tells you.

- Wear theme or college ties—even it’s close to the holidays and you went to Oxford.

- Wear noticeable cologne.  It’s just lame.

- Wear penny or tasseled loafers.

- Wear a vest underneath your suit.  Looks good on the guy in GQ, but not on you.

- Wear a bow tie.  In fact, don’t even think about it.

SUGGESTED LOOKS:

Women

Banana Republic

Ruched pinstripe blazer & matching high-waisted pencil skirt in grey

Classic blazer & matching trouser in black

Liz Claiborne

Pinstripe blazer & matching trousers in grotto blue

Ann Taylor

Isadora pinstripe mid-length jacket & matching trousers in canvas

Macy’s

Pinstriped double-layer style skirt suit in navy

Men

Banana Republic

Wool modern two button blazer & matching suit pants in charcoal

Brooks Brothers

All the suiting essentials options in navy, grey stripe and charcoal

J. Crew

Italian slim suit jacket & matching pants in dark graphite

Macy’s

Stripe suit in navy

Bitter Staff is a collection of current and former editors, contributors, and various other lawyers who have written for Bitter Lawyer over the years. Posts include interviews, contests, and other general lawyerly and bitter content.

10 Comments

  1. Brett

    September 7, 2008 at 7:19 am

    If any guy ever came into my firm wearing anything from Banana Republic or J. Crew, he would immediately be asked to leave.  Seriously…J. Crew? 
    Remember, not everyone is 5’8” and 150 lbs.  A pretty, slim fit, grey pinstripe does not work well on all body types.  I have a 52” chest and 36” waist.  You know what color most of my suits are?  Black.  Because that’s the only decent thing I can find at “Big and Tall” places (and I am not spending the $4K to go bespoke).

  2. Anon

    September 7, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Actually, kind of like the J Crew suit.  Good price too.  But don’t kid yourself, Brett, black suits are lame.  Honest.  I know fashion, baby.  Trust me!!

  3. Anonymous

    September 7, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Bitter Lawyer, what’s going on?  Is this for real?

  4. 2L In Debt

    September 7, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Not everyone can afford fancy suits, Brett.  Btw—do you check the inside of people’s jackets to see what brand they’re wearing?

  5. Brett

    September 7, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    2L in Debt…
    My point was not to comment on buying an expensive suit.  If you read my post, you would have seen that I stated I had to buy big and tall suits because they fit and I don’t want to spend the money on a bespoke suit.  There was nothing in there that could be taken as mocking someone who buys an inexpensive suit (so I have no idea where your comment comes from).
    My comment was geared more towards teasing the guy who could actually fit into a J. Crew suit (42 R, max???).  Call it an ex-jock bias, but I have some concerns when I see a preppy kid in a slim cut Banana Republic suit walk into my office.  And you don’t need to look at the label to tell a J.Crew/Banana Republic “type” of suit. 
    Each partner in my firm has their own biases.  Mine is toward skinny, preppy kids in Banana Republic suits.  One of my other partners doesn’t hire guys who look like jocks.  Each “division” in our firm has our own thing.  Mine (criminal defense/trial), happens to be men and women who look like they’ve played a sport in their lifetime. 
    Just my opinion.  I’m sure there are many people who disagree.

  6. Brett

    September 7, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Oh, and Anon…have you ever seen a guy in a 52L trying to wear a blue pinstripe or charcoal grey suit?  It’s not a pretty sight…at least on me.  And anyway, I’m a partner…it doesn’t matter what I wear!  You know you’re gettig old when black isn’t in style anymore.  Isn’t black always in style???

  7. Anonymous

    September 8, 2008 at 3:22 am

    Men, be clean and neat and shaven; women (the same) plus keep your boobs covered.  Beyond that, this is fluff.  When I interview, I don’t want to be distracted or distract my interviewer.  The biggest problem I see is men who arent wearing clean shirts.  Yellow collars will be a deal breaker (after all–can they meet with clients looking like they haven’t been home for a night?) It’s bad enough when we’re guilty of that; we dont want our new hires to be like that.  With women, showing boobs is a no-no.  My philosophy is cover them or be prepared to take off your tops entirely–obviously something these women won’t do.  So cover those boobs, girls.

  8. MagnoliaT

    September 12, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Where has the sass and punch gone.  Bitterly disappointed with this piece

  9. Fashion on a Budget

    September 19, 2008 at 7:38 am

    I have found (unless you have 4k for custom) that your best friend is your tailor. A cheaper suit altered by a good tailor (asian’s have excellent taste imo – even better than italians) and then re-altered when you lose/gain weight look very nice. I get alot of compliments on suits from clients and friends on suits that are under $500 but have been very well tailored for my body. I’m 6’2”, so the pants always have to be cut to downsize from a 48L chest. I have been going to the same tailor for years and he is excellent. It seems like American’s will spend alot of $$$ on a suit only to have it look bad because they didn’t spend the money to fit it right.

  10. southernlawlady

    September 29, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Actually, down here in the South, it is perfectly acceptable for ladies to wear suits with bare legs- to court, in the office, at interviews, to meet clients- at least during the summertime.  When its scorching hot no one wears hose here.  If we see you in hose, we know you are a northerner…

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