In business interactions, first impressions are crucial. Individuals are likely to form their first impressions of a person within the first seven seconds of meeting. This leaves judgments to be formed based on many non-verbal interactions, such as the clothing choices.
This makes dressing appropriately during a job interview or internship crucial, as it can send a very powerful message to a future employer. A great professional outfit can enable any person to exude confidence, an essential characteristic in the high-stakes world of employment. Just because many work environments require men to wear more conservative dress apparel, it does not mean that you have to sacrifice style in the process.
For those men looking for workwear inspiration, here are some style essentials and tips that will make you appear to be a smart and chic dresser.
Key men’s business-casual pieces
Button-up and blazer: J.Crew is a gold mine when it comes to looking for men’s business-casual pieces. The store has a variety of shirt options including plaid, gingham and solid prints. There are many other designs available if you are willing to diversify your wardrobe.
On the same note, the retailer and others such as H&M; have many nicely fitted blazers for men to accompany in their choice of a button-up. However, keep the blazers in neutral colors if you are going to be experimenting with brighter colors or patterns on your shirts.
Chinos: Versatile pants are a must-have in any man’s closet. Beige is a great starter color and can be paired very easily with different shirt variations. Same goes for dark grey or black. If you are looking to step up your wardrobe game even more by investing a small sum of money, try out the herringbone cotton or wool-styled pants for a more dapper look.
Footwear: The saying “shoes can make or break an outfit” is as true for men as it is for women. Shoes can often reveal if a person takes pride in the little details of life. Throwing on a pair of tennis shoes with a nice outfit is just not going to cut it in the professional world.
Men have a wide variety of great shoe options that should be taken advantage of. Unlike females, men can actually pull off wearing Sperry’s in a more business-casual setting if they are clean and paired with a correct set of Chinos. However, if you want other options, look into buying a classic pair of Desert Boots or suede Oxfords.
Key men’s business-professional pieces
Two-piece suits: Justin Timberlake had it right when he sang, “As long as I got my suit and tie.” What all men should take away from the likes of Justin Timberlake and Tom Ford is that suits are not just supposed to be stiff and uncomfortable. You need to feel good in a suit – don’t let it wear you.
There are three trademarks to a great suit. First, make sure it’s fitted at your shoulders. Second, the jacket and sleeve length need to fall in the right places and contoured to your body. Third, the pants must be fitted and long enough to cover your socks.
Accessories: Jay Gatsby would be enviable at the accessories available for mens suits today. Aim for a pocket square with a rich color that contrasts well with your suit and tie. Colors like gray, white and blue all work well. Ties shoulder either be skinny, fat or bow. Opt for classic prints like stripes or paisley.
Dress shoes: Men’s shoes are certainly not cheap, but ditch the Sperry’s for a uber dressy professional look. This might include investing in a pair of shoes that are well-worth the investment. Go for a classic look and color. Invest in a cap-toed shoe or brogue with closed laces and leather soles in black or brown.
Socks: Socks may seem obvious to most, but if your socks do not match your shoes not only is it incredible embarrassing but it is also extremely distasteful. Black socks are a must, but if you want to step outside the box, subtle patterns are also good ways to stay business professional.
Facial hair: To look presentable and well groomed at an interview, it is almost always preferred to be well shaven. Get rid of the scruffy beard and trade it in for a more clean look. If you aren’t fond of shaving, don’t worry – facial hair grows back pretty quickly.
Haircut: Future employers want you look your absolute best. Therefore, condense the shaggy locks and get a haircut that leans more towards the conservative side. Remember, your appearance is a key factor in first impressions and your hair will definitely not go unnoticed.
Accessories: Be prepared to ditch the backpack and buy a briefcase to have on hand. With all the fashion tips we have just listed, it would be a shame to ruin a head-to-toe perfect outfit by carrying around your worn-out campus backpack.
Places to shop for men
H&M;: A great place to start looking for basics such as collared shirts and trousers.
Express: Express has tons of colors and prints for those men whom are interested in spicing up their business clothing. Tons of stylish, versatile ties and pocket squares can be found here as well.
J.Crew: J.Crew is hands-down a man’s holy grail to business wear. Anything you could envision for business-wear is possible with the help of J.Crew. Did you know you get a student discount as well?
As with anything in the world of fashion, it is important to tailor the essential wardrobe pieces listed above to your own overall fashion taste. Give your new business-savvy style a twist with your own unique take on business professional apparel. Just remember to keep it chic, classy and up to your business industries standards.