Tailor Your Chance of Success
As college students looking to bridge the gap between adolescence and adulthood, an often pivotal milestone is landing a competitive job or internship. Today, I’ll let you in on a couple of secrets I have learned along the way on how to dress to impress and stand out from the crowd - which could be the final push you might need to get hired. Obviously, dressing the part alone is not enough to get the position you might want; the most important thing is still your qualifications! That being said, polishing up your outfit for an interview will only aid you in making a lasting impression even after you walk out the door and the next interviewee walks in.
The most important part when it comes to wearing a suit is the structure of the pieces themselves. When you think of suits, you may think of the stereotypical black and white tuxedo. Now more than ever, fewer men have suiting knowledge as fashion has taken a shift towards a more casual aesthetic (which is not necessarily a bad thing!). And even if suits may take a bit more planning to pull off, a well-fitted suit can promote inner confidence as you enter the professional world; this is crucial as the interviewers don’t have much time to get a proper semblance of who you are.
There are many different types of structures to suits, similar to jeans, so make sure you try on a suit before you buy it. These categories of suits can help narrow down your choices, so decide your ideal fit and look at the suits that fit that category. Common categories for suits include Classic (universal/timeless), Modern (tailoring focused on more even proportions), Skinny (tighter silhouette/shorter pant length), or Slim (more relaxed structure to classic) fits. Often times, even if a suit is in your size, proportions may be off, so be sure to check if the suits you are looking at have additional sizing categories (i.e. regular, cropped, tall fits). If you have the budget for it, I highly recommend you get your suit tailored to fit your body like a glove. Small adjustments can change the way you feel in a suit and extra confidence is to your benefit.
When choosing what color or pattern to get for your new suit, try to stick to the basics. Most people have a black suit, but variants of blue and grey are also commonly represented in fashion. For patterned suits, try to stray away from any bold prints; the pattern should not draw all the attention as adding accessories may distract from your interview (unless you want to make that big of a statement). In most cases, keeping your suit choice tame will optimize versatility. Think of your suit as the canvas to a painting. You can get creative when you style dress shirts, ties, socks, and jewelry with your suit! Also, invest in a good pair of dress shoes that will go with your final suit choices (standard black or brown leather usually does the trick).
Now that I have covered the basics, here are a few looks I have curated to inspire you to experiment with how to style a suit and say good riddance to the standard black and white suit:
This look explores the use of unconventional materials to create a bold and tasteful look. Playing around with fabrics can add an extra dimension to your suit style. Obviously, this is not ideal for every type of interview but can make a strong impression if utilized in the correct environment. The juxtaposition between casual and formal wear is a bold front, pronouncing that you are fearless and sure of yourself.
Rhapsody In Blue
You cannot go wrong with the timeless “suit and tie.” That being said, the devil is in the details; attention to your tie structure and color choices will make you appear more polished. A blue palette will read as harmonious and calming. Pair this with warm brown accents to further make this ensemble easy on the eyes. Finally, show a level of expertise in the art of wearing a suit by wearing a more advanced tie knot like the Eldridge Knot.
Back to Black
If you are going to wear a black suit, nothing looks more sleek and sophisticated than a monochromatic black ensemble. With a high neck shirt and matching black accessories, this look is a very polished way to represent yourself without going the traditional route. Adding a bit of character with a lapel pin won’t steal the show, but it can still be a way to further express yourself to an interviewer.
Regal & Refined
Taking a note from the delicate details of royal fashion, dainty jewelry can be a great substitute for a tie. Collar tips are an easy way to add dimension to your button-up shirt, so it doesn’t get lost in the rest of your suit. This look also showcases that you can mix-and-match pieces from suits if you have more than one set to multiply your outfit opportunities.
Hopefully, these tips will inspire you to take some creative liberties when it comes to what you wear to an interview. At the end of the day, your style should reflect who you are, so wear what makes you feel comfortable, and the confidence will follow. Good luck during interview season and here’s to new opportunities!
Words by Michael Alvarez
Photography by Cindy Huang