Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dressing for the Interview or One Suit Four Ways: Part Four

The final week of the M&S challenge is about a career culture change - suitable attire to clinch a career-changing role which will wave goodbye to wearing a suit everyday.

Wearing a suit not as a suit is an intriguing problem. The most important step is to separate the jacket and trousers and consider them as equals. In this example, I wanted to show that the suit trousers are just as adaptable to separate use as the jacket. And, in this scenario, they are probably more appropriate. 

Appearing 'smart' without actually wearing a suit is certainly easier in this day and age. Many careers no longer require the uniform of the past. Suits are not required in my office, though I choose to wear one, and many who have been required to wear one as part of their professional life will leap at the chance of a position that offers a more relaxed dress code.

However, this is still an interview, and you still need to get that job. A suit jacket might be a bit too much for this type of position, particularly if you start adding pocket squares and ties, but a pair of suit trousers can drag what is a rather relaxed and homely ensemble up to a respectable level. With a pair of jeans, a shirt and cardigan would appear to be too much of a departure from the expected attire; with a pair of suit trousers, an overcoat, scarf and matching loafers, the overall result is a hybrid of casual cool and respectful formality. 

Colour is important here. Adding browns instead of blacks removes the connection to formal suits and makes our interviewee look less like someone who has ditched his jacket and tie on his way to the meeting. The scarf adds playful colour and pattern. 

Wearing a cardigan enables the no-tie look to be natural and unforced. A dandy might wish to add a bow tie to this look, which would certainly be eye-catching, but the bow can come across as being as formal as a jacket. This is not an interview at which one should appear, sartorially, to be trying too hard.

Suit trousers - Marks & Spencer

Cardigan - GAP

Shirt - TM Lewin

Overcoat - TopMan

Scarf - Zara

Socks - Uniqlo

Shoes - Herring


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Federico said...

I never see you wear your monksstrap shoes from Nunes Correa now. I really like the design of them.

Anonymous said...

Winston, what is the etiquette/rule regarding cardigan buttons? I see you wear your bottom one undone (like a waistcoat) but is this necessary? Can all buttons be done up?