Business casual for an interview
April 20, 2015 1:48 PM   Subscribe

I have an interview for a legal counsel position at a Silicon Valley tech company on Wednesday, and I've been advised by the recruiter that the dress code is "business casual, sport coat appropriate." This seems fairly specific, but dress codes are often a foreign language to me. Can you explain what I should wear - and ideally, do so as if you're explaining to an alien with no knowledge of men's fashion? (I exaggerate, but only a little.) Like, it's crossed my mind that I can simply wear a suit without a tie, but maybe that's horribly wrong? Thanks.
posted by naju to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Wear something like this.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:51 PM on April 20, 2015 [12 favorites]

Yes, that would rock the look.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:52 PM on April 20, 2015

Nope, not a suit without a tie. You want khakis/slacks, a nice button-down shirt, and a blazer. A suit without a tie would look too formal and too not-put-together for this type of thing.
posted by xingcat at 1:53 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wear something like this.

That looks great. I'm guessing I can find a nice sport coat and slacks like that at Nordstrom, Macy's or Banana Republic..? What materials should I be looking for?
posted by naju at 2:00 PM on April 20, 2015

Best answer: Do not match or near-match the colors. It will look like a piecemeal suit.

I like wool slacks but I'm weird.

I would honestly just get a sales clerk to help you. "I need a sports coat and slacks combo and am bad at judging combinations." Personal coloring matters more for this outfit than a suit, so I'd be wary of generalizations, though navy/brown does tend to go far. Also ask them what shirt colors you should wear.
posted by PMdixon at 2:10 PM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I buy my sportcoats, trousers, dress shirts, etc. from Brooks Brothers and Nordstrom. My experience is that both have sales people who are good at helping put together complete outfits.
posted by primethyme at 2:16 PM on April 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yeah, head into Macy's or Nordstrom or Brooks Brothers and let the sales associate know what you're looking for (sports coat, slacks, maybe shirt and shoes too?) and that it's for an interview. Let them know what you're looking to spend. And if possible, stick to slimmer cuts if you can wear them ("trim" or "tailored" are common buzzwords). Then, even if the jacket fits you out of the box, get a tailor to take a look at you and make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Don't have a tailor (and if you're a near-alien with no knowledge of fashion, you probably don't)? Then find one, either at the store or nearby. A $200 jacket that has been tailored to your body for another $30-$50 will almost always look better than a $1,000 jacket with no tailoring. Every model in every catalog or fashion magazine has had their clothing tailored, including the guy I linked to in my first answer.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:17 PM on April 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks! I'll do exactly that. Though the interview's in two days, so I'm guessing having anything tailored is out of the question.
posted by naju at 2:25 PM on April 20, 2015

Best answer: Look around your area; lots of tailors can do 24-hour turnaround times.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:29 PM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I've had both Nordstrom and Brooks Brothers get stuff back to me the next day. Just make it really clear when you walk in the door how quickly you need it so you don't waste your time if they can't do it (or you can focus on looking for stuff that doesn't need tailoring, but there's a huge element of luck involved in that).
posted by primethyme at 2:56 PM on April 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you walk into the Nordstrom on the Mag Mile right now and ask someone to help put clothes on you, they'll take care of you. I've had 24 hour tailoring turnaround at that Nordstrom before, and their staff seems to be very responsive to polite folks who are desperate and helpless.
posted by phunniemee at 4:06 PM on April 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't know if there is some reason people are not mentioning The Men's Warehouse, But I needed lots of Biz Casual during my hospitality days, and they were reasonable, knowledgeable, and had tailors on the scene. I could usually walk out with something the same day.
posted by lobstah at 4:36 PM on April 20, 2015

Response by poster: I ended up going to Nordstrom, where a sales clerk helped me pick out a nice sport coat / slacks combo similar to craven_morhead's link. Their in-store tailor will have it ready tomorrow. Pretty swell, thanks everyone for helping this confused alien.
posted by naju at 5:27 PM on April 20, 2015 [21 favorites]

Good luck at the interview :)
posted by primethyme at 8:56 PM on April 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

Just today I learned that there is an Italian word for this style: spezzato. Good luck with the interview.
posted by bobobox at 5:56 PM on April 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

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