How many of you scribbled “new job” on some bar napkin during the holidays? With the New Year rolling out, it’s (very) likely you’ve been contemplating a new job. The job market hasn’t gotten less competitive and, while we wouldn’t dare suggest that a better-looking wardrobe is the answer to that scribble, we do believe in the power of looking the part.
luckily for you, we also believe that style doesn’t cost all that much.
Case in point: We’ve seen countless men fall victim to the heuristic that designer label = style. Wrong. If you’ve coughed up the bank for a designer suit but it fits like it’s off-the-rack, you’ve failed. People’s impression of your style has more to do with how your wardrobe fits and flatters your body, how you combine things in unique, eye-pleasing ways and your overall taste level – that has little to do with the label sewn in on your blazer.
Step one involves identifying what industry you’re targeting. You may be stressed out by how much a new suit will run you, but if you’re looking at creative-type jobs, say, graphic design, a full-on suit isn’t required. Your better off crafting a “look” depending on the industry you’re in.
Step two for dressing for an interview on a budget is to work with what you have. Pull out that navy two-button suit that’s a tad questionable, bring it to the tailor and beat the question mark out of it. Seriously, I bet you that a lot of what’s sitting in your closet doesn’t work because of fit – or lack thereof. You can transform a so-so suit with about $35 taking it in on the waist and about another $35 to nip those sleeves; suddenly, it’s been given a new life. (If you don’t have that suit in your closet to begin with, apply the same principle: Buy a mid-priced off-the-rack suit and send it to the tailor. You’ll look like a million bucks.)
Step three involves shopping for missing pieces. A white button-down, for example, is a job-interview-friendly option, regardless of industry. If your existing ones all have wine and mustard stains on them, don’t worry. Stores like Uniqlo and Gap offer options ranging from $20 to $40. Take advantage of sales because stores are trying to clear out space for their new merchandise.
Finally, when dressing for a job interview, stand out from the crowd by being more creative with your look – especially if you’re looking for creative work. Maybe it’s something subtle like a vintage briefcase; maybe it’s you wearing some bold-colored socks with a formal suit, like a rich purple. And these accessories, at least, will never break the bank.