Help me not look like Gordon Gekko
April 30, 2009 1:54 PM   Subscribe

What tie should I pair with this shirt?

I'm going in for a job interview tommorow, and I own literally no ties. I'll be wearing the linked shirt, navy blue slacks, and a brown belt and shoes (right? Don't wear black with navy?). The tie combos suggested on the Ralph Lauren site seem pretty horrid to me, like something an investment banker from an 80s movie would wear. I'm willing to spend a little extra cash if I have to, but I'd prefer something modestly priced.

(Side question: the interview is for an ad sales position at an alternative weekly newspaper in a big, liberal city. Am I overdoing it?)
posted by martens to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is that the only dress shirt you own? I would not wear a striped shirt with a suit at all. You are right that it looks 1980s country club. If you must wear that shirt, you must wear a solid tie, because stripes + any other pattern will not be a good thing. Given that the job is at an alternative weekly, I'm debating if you should wear a tie, period, but I'll let someone in the industry answer that.
posted by desjardins at 1:58 PM on April 30, 2009

I'm not going with a jacket, actually. Just shirt and tie.
posted by martens at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2009

This is obnoxiously expensive but this is the type of look I would go for, except with a navy tie instead of the black one.
posted by desjardins at 2:01 PM on April 30, 2009

I don't know the industry at all, though I don't think it hurts to go with a tie.

Look for solids, something with a broad field and small details. Lots of colors will work; I'd generally go with something that pops more, though that's more my personality.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:07 PM on April 30, 2009

Thanks everyone, and don't be afraid to insult my fashion sensibilities. I have none. Would a solid white shirt be better? (That's my only other option, sadly.)
posted by martens at 2:09 PM on April 30, 2009

I like the shirt, esp if your eyes are blue. Blue makes men look clean. Sorry if I'm old-fashioned, but I like it. Without a jacket, a plain white shirt looks a little lost to me. And, yes, you can wear black with navy. It's more formal than brown with navy, less preppy.
posted by x46 at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2009

It's hard to go wrong with a solid white shirt. If you go that route, basically any tie is an option, go nuts.

Re: black and navy, you can almost always get away with it if your black is in your belt and shoes, though brown usually goes better. If the black and navy rub elbows anywhere else besides in accessories, you should know what you're doing before you venture down that road.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think the stripes are fine (not crazy about those collar buttons, though). Red tie is a good suggestion (I would go darkish?); I would consider black or navy as well.
posted by grobstein at 2:13 PM on April 30, 2009

I would wear a solid-colored tie. But honestly, for a job interview in a big liberal city I would just skip the tie altogether. Nice shirt, nice pants, clean shave.
posted by gnutron at 2:14 PM on April 30, 2009

I am from the South, but down here one does not wear a tie without a jacket. It bespeaks a lack of refinement. Of course I am also eagerly awaiting the day when one of the older men in my office wears his seersucker suit for the first time this year so that I can feel comfortable breaking mine out, so I may not be the best person to take fashion advice from.
posted by ND¢ at 2:16 PM on April 30, 2009

Dude, just wear a solid navy blue tie. Close to the same color as the stripes on the shirt and your pants. You can get solid ties cheaply, and for that outfit it's perfect.
posted by thebergfather at 2:34 PM on April 30, 2009

I think that thick striped red/blue repp tie shown on the linked page is the traditional preppy style that goes with that kind of striped shirt. Like so. But a solid color will be fine as well. Or even a polka dot tie like this.

And brown shoes with navy = yes. Fuck black shoes. Blech.

I would normally agree with ND¢ about wearing a jacket with a tie, but it sounds like that's either not an option or not going to be noticed. And don't worry about looking like Gordon Gekko in a Ralph Lauren oxford button-collar shirt. You're not even close.
posted by mullacc at 2:43 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Great stuff, this has all been super helpful. Thanks again.
posted by martens at 2:46 PM on April 30, 2009

the interview is for an ad sales position at an alternative weekly newspaper in a big, liberal city. Am I overdoing it?

To the contrary, you'll be a under dressed. The expectation is for sales guys to be slick, well dressed, with an eye towards business etiquette. As a sales person you're representing the entire publication to an outside collection of advertisers who wouldn't touch the hipster-tee-shirt and flip-flop staff with a 10' pole.

You need a suit.

Trust me, I worked for an alt-weekly. The sales people were the best dressed people in the organization and regarded mostly with disdain by the creative arm of the rag.
posted by wfrgms at 2:50 PM on April 30, 2009

You can wear a repp stripe with that shirt. You should wear a suit to an interview. That's a nice shirt and it's well-made. It will last you years and save you money in the long run.
So don't skimp on the tie. A wel-made repp will last for years and years and it will always look fresh.

I have Ralph Lauren shirts from the early 90's that still look better than anything you can buy in an H&M or Kohl's. Not a button has popped. Not a collar has frayed.

I know this is a nerd site and everyone here can't wait until we all look like Captain Kirk, but you have to live in the now. Wear a suit and tie to a job interview.
posted by Zambrano at 3:22 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by Zambrano at 3:23 PM on April 30, 2009

If you're dead-set against wearing a complete suit, I'd rather see someone wearing a jacket without a tie than someone in a tie but no jacket.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

I think navy slacks looks super sharp with black shoes/belt. It's a little more modern, pulled together and business-like. Brown leather is sportier, more golf at the country club or drinks at the literary salon. It can be a good look but for a job in sales I'd go with black.

I would lean towards wearing a shirt without an embroidered logo, especially if you're wearing it without a jacket. And, as many others have cautioned, I would wear a suit to an interview if possible.

That said, blue stripes look good with lots of ties. They look great with very simple blue ties. A repp tie is traditional, and polka dots (ahem, Churchill dots) can look sharp as hell. Red ties work but look a little Republican. Yellow is a little 80's stockbroker on holiday, but with a pair of Alain Mikli's you can rock the Patrick Bateman look. Dark colors in subtle patterns or textures are classic.
posted by ladypants at 3:55 PM on April 30, 2009

A navy & white tie with similar-sized diagonal stripes would look AWESOME. Try to match the same shade of white, and go a little darker with the blue. A white tie with similarly thin stripes in red or orange would work, too. This kind of look.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:13 PM on April 30, 2009

With that, I'd probably wear this.

The blue to match the shirt and pants, the yellow because you need some color, and because it will compliment the brown.

(Note- never wear a collar with buttons with a suit. Casual sport coat, sure. There is nothing wrong with wearing a tie without a jacket. Vest without a jacket is another story...)
posted by gjc at 4:28 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

A solid red tie would be best, followed by a boldly (thick) striped tie with non-vertical stripes. I personally only wear brown shoes/belt with blue pants, but I've seen black shoes/belt and it looks okay. Brown can look very professional if done right. You can't over-dress for an interview, so if you're not sure, go for a jacket and tie.

Note that with that shirt (buttoned collar), the only acceptable tie knot is the four-in-hand. And don't forget to button the collar.
posted by Simon Barclay at 4:42 PM on April 30, 2009

I agree that there is no way to wear anything other than a solid tie with a shirt that is quite so, well, striped.

But a solid white shirt is much better. Much, much, much. Also, the logo? No. Dear god no.

I also agree with the suggestion to go all the way to a suit. It's hard to be overdressed for a job interview, and the shirt with no jacket look screams dilbert, i.e., poorly dressed.
posted by paultopia at 4:51 PM on April 30, 2009

I just want to chime in and say that I wouldn't wear brown shoes with navy unless you are sure that it is acceptable to be more casual.
posted by Carillon at 7:08 PM on April 30, 2009

A yellow tie that's slightly darker than pale yellow but still short of full yellow, with a small and evenly distributed pattern would work in a preppy way. Any department store, cheap.

I favor brown with blue in general.

Buttonless collar beats buttons when ties are involved.

Never hurts to wear a suit even when they say there's no need. For your future interviews, be aware that Jos A Bank always seems to be having a sale. And if not, just wait 2 weeks and they will be. $200 suits before tailoring isn't unusual. If you only wear it once a year, might as well get a relatively inexpensive one.
posted by Askr at 7:16 PM on April 30, 2009

"tailoring" is not the same as "alterations", by the way
posted by megatherium at 8:29 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

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