Guess what: You’re probably not the only candidate for that job. So if you want to distinguish yourself from the typical army of blue and charcoal and pinstripe suits marching by Human Resources, you’re going to need a subtle yet distinctly fashionable edge. We recommend a windowpane pattern—the perfect amount of understated style to catch your interviewer’s eye without being a distraction. Here’s how to pull it off.
Your jacket should hug your shoulders— not extend beyond them—and be fitted through the waist. Keep visible shirt cuff to a half-inch, max. No break on the pants.
Go light, with a subtle pattern. The safest options are white or light blue, with a wide- spread collar—which, because it meets the lapels, appears more powerful than slimmer collar styles.
Your tie should be bold—not bold as in, “That was a bold move, wearing that Margaritaville tie,” but a bold that projects assertiveness and traditional tastes. With a diagonal stripe, you’ll accentuate your suit’s V-shape.
Facial hair is fine, just as long as it’s neatly lined up or clipped. Everything should look newly cut and professional.
Let’s face it: Briefcases are dinosaurs, nylon is too casual, and backpacks are for children. Show up toting a leather bag with buckles. It’s handsome and traditional without appearing too rigid.
To appear truly thoughtful, opt for a monk strap wingtip. It’s more refined and memorable than your typical oxford or flimsy loafer. And yes, shine them.
We’re calling in HR…
Karen Danziger, managing partner at headhunting firm Howard-Sloan-Koller Group in NYC, tells us what interviewers are really looking for.
– There’s a general two-second rule. They’re looking at your overall style and appearance—if you’re well put together, if you’re haphazard or sloppy.
– If you won’t be dressed properly, say something. People will give us a warning, saying, “Hey, I’m not going to be wearing a suit, is that OK? It shows that you’re at least conscious of it.
– Weave in fitness. Everyone wants some- body who takes care of their health. If you have a regimen you’re dedicated to, an employer of ten thinks you’re going to be dedicated to your work, too.
– Appearance is 70% of it. Many people get jobs because they look the part, and many don’t get jobs because they just don’t have the right presence. It’s not just being pretty or hand- some or thin or heavy; it’s about having a really put-together, polished presence.
– I recommend wearing something memorable, that shows personality and makes you stand out. An employer might see 10–20 people and say, “Oh, that was the one who wore that really nice tie.”