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Manager
Joined: 22 Jan 2010
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25 Jan 2010, 22:07
Banana Republic, Zara, H&M are my favorites for business attire.
Director
Affiliations: Consortium (CGSM.org), NSHMBA
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26 Jan 2010, 13:09
1
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PBateman wrote:
retailgirl wrote:
(Hugo Boss I agree is fabulous but a bit out of my price range. And I would love to be that girl that can pull off the five-inchers, but I'm just not that coordinated!!)

My girlfriend and I went to a Hugo Boss outlet store a few weekends ago thinking it'd be reasonable.

Yeah...

Quickly sidestepped out and over to Polo.

to clarify, you meant that the prices were unreasonably high, right?
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Manager
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26 Jan 2010, 15:44
PBateman wrote:
retailgirl wrote:
(Hugo Boss I agree is fabulous but a bit out of my price range. And I would love to be that girl that can pull off the five-inchers, but I'm just not that coordinated!!)

My girlfriend and I went to a Hugo Boss outlet store a few weekends ago thinking it'd be reasonable.

Yeah...

Quickly sidestepped out and over to Polo.

to clarify, you meant that the prices were unreasonably high, right?

Yes, I didn't mean to quote that portion about wearing heels.

The stuff was just crazy expensive, men's and women's.
SVP
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27 Jan 2010, 17:39
Hello, my busty sisters. I have completely given up on wearing button-downs, but my work isn't especially conservative and all my interviews in b-school were GM roles. I do wear lots of nice, fine-knit pull-over type shirts under suits. But if you definitely want button-downs....

http://rebeccaanddrew.com/

Warning - these are not cheap, but I saw them on What Not to Wear once and now have a friend who raves about them.
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29 Jan 2010, 18:34
1
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muffeebrown wrote:
retailgirl, you rock, thank you. I was looking at Theory suits on the Bloomingdales website but my impression was that the style "skews" a little younger/edgier and I was worried about the issues cited above about looking too young and unprofessional (exacerbated for me due to my height). I plan to get my wardrobe this summer, in any case, as the last year was very hard on me, healthwise, and I gained 20 lbs doing the whole b-school thing (yuck). I am in the process of getting back to "myself"-however my normal weight is approximately a size 4.

Brooks Brothers looks like it has the requisite conservatism but it looks like I'l spend additional money tailoring it down to my frame.

On a seperate note, you wouldn't by any chance have any good recommendations for tailor made button down shirts in petites?

Hi muffee--- Sorry I took so long to reply; hopefully you got your question answered for button down shirts! I think someone on this thread had some great recommendations. For me... I don't wear button down shirts because I feel they look a bit casual (do you pop the collar out of the jacket or not???). I wear a shell instead. SoCa by St. John actually makes great ones in rich fabrics that usually end up on sale. I wasn't sure what was more formal - shells or collars... but after a quick search on Google for images of prominent women in politics I found more shells than collars. That goes for both republicans and democrats!
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04 Feb 2010, 12:17
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So, in response to the question about button downs, since that's pretty much all I wear under suits aside from the occasional sweater or shell (I never learned how to dress myself nicely in a way that is at all fashion forward).

Thomas Pink makes THE BEST women's dress shirts. Period. They can be pretty $($100+), but they have sales twice a year which is when I stock up. They are fitted nicely through the bust and waist and look like they were actually made for women, as opposed to a lot of other brands that seem to be boxy and smaller versions of men's shirts. The collars do need to be a little more starched than Brooks Brothers shirts because the cotton is finer and don't have that "stand up" quality of the BB non-iron shirts. I keep hoping BB will make more tailored shirts b/c that store is about my speed even though as a size 2 I never get very far...
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10 Feb 2010, 11:47
anything formal attire...it depends on you as long as you can manage to have that attire.
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12 Feb 2010, 07:45
I'm pretty tiny as well (size 00 is usually too big for me) and usually have to look quite professional at work. Most places like Banana don't fit me at all.

However, I just discovered that Brooks Brothers does free tailoring, and I am absolutely in love with their shirts!! I got a size 00P and they tailored it for me so it fits perfectly. I am never going to buy shirts from any other place

Zara sometimes works for me, so does Theory and Hugo Boss.

Question: For bschool interviews, is it better to wear a collared shirt underneath your suit or not? Does it look TOO formal?
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12 Feb 2010, 09:51
Well, after 8 years work in a laboratory I finally need to refresh my wardrobe.! The closest I get to business attire at my current work is a cashmere with a button-down shirt. I have two interviews coming up and I've had to buy a new suit, a couple of shirts, and a handbag that fits a laptop. I don't have the guts to take my usual L.L. Bean tote to the interview.

While I still need a leather handbag, right now I opted for the suit and got a more affordable Longchamp canvas tote:

Before school begins, I would really like to have this one:

And if I had some more cash lying around (one can always dream!), the Mulberry Bayswater...

Regarding business wear, on a previous page somebody had posted wonderful knitted dresses with long sleeves. What a wonderful idea - and they must be so comfortable! Thanks for the tip!
Manager
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14 Apr 2010, 16:00
Slightly off-topic, but can anyone help me understand the distinction between a "cocktail dress" and a "party dress"?
My friends think all the dresses I own cannot be classified as "cocktail", especially if I wear them with knee-high boots

So what attire is appropriate for the fancier events at admit weekends where cocktail dresses are required?
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19 Apr 2010, 07:00
gmatbschool wrote:
Slightly off-topic, but can anyone help me understand the distinction between a "cocktail dress" and a "party dress"?
My friends think all the dresses I own cannot be classified as "cocktail", especially if I wear them with knee-high boots

So what attire is appropriate for the fancier events at admit weekends where cocktail dresses are required?

A cocktail dress IMO is a little more sophisticated than a party dress. Cocktail dresses can be worn when the dress code says dark suit / black tie, so think of some Hollywood glamour parties and what people wear there. Most often a cocktail dress is not a full-long gown, but rather a little shorter, everything from calf-long to above-knee short. Even a mini could go for a cocktail dress, as long as it is sophisticated, and is worn with sophistication (think accessories). Cocktail dresses are when women get to play: wear bare backs or a slit up the leg, flaunt a little, but always remember to hide more than you show. Match with a little fancier jewelry, and for a true cocktail occasion, a large cocktail ring on your right hand -> the hand that holds up the glass. Cocktail rings are also good to clink on the glass with when asking for silence for a speech.

Boots are in my opinion not cocktail attire. However, if the party is otherwise very casual (suits or black tie not required), I could imagine wearing boots to a bar or another similar party venue in the winter.
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03 Aug 2010, 08:13
I started a new thread because the old one was too long:

I ran across an acquaintance recently (investment banking consultant) and upon discussing the appropriate attire for professional women, she said "it should demonstrate the promise (but not the delivery) of sex."

LOL.

What do you think?
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06 Sep 2010, 12:10
Kaye wrote:
I started a new thread because the old one was too long:

I ran across an acquaintance recently (investment banking consultant) and upon discussing the appropriate attire for professional women, she said "it should demonstrate the promise (but not the delivery) of sex."

LOL.

What do you think?

I'm sure this conversation happened. Go troll somewhere else please!
Current Student
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15 Sep 2010, 23:37
Kaye wrote:
I started a new thread because the old one was too long:

I ran across an acquaintance recently (investment banking consultant) and upon discussing the appropriate attire for professional women, she said "it should demonstrate the promise (but not the delivery) of sex."

LOL.

What do you think?

Personally, I don't think one's sexuality should be on display in the workplace.

I had a professor at undergrad who did away with writing assignment length requirements, providing only the guidance that "A good essay should be like a woman's skirt- long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep them interesting."

I just assume he was thinking more of weekend skirts, not workday skirts
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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

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28 Oct 2010, 15:09
Pants for girls is absolutely okay. Closed toe shoes in any case. And yes, light stockings if you're wearing a skirt -- though to be honest not everyone wears them. The skirt, goes without saying, should not be too short.

Girls can get away with cheaper options for buying suits, but sometimes they look less polished than the men. Banana and Ann Taylor are good intermediate options that still look professional. I don't like to say it, but you can spot a shoddy H&M suit. Consider that your male colleagues have to spend several \$100s on tailored suits, and step it up a notch. A suit that looks professional and fits nicely really does make a difference.

Final piece of advice -- Find shirts that are longer than usual. They'll stay tucked in your pants or skirt better and save you so much stress and discomfort. Nothing like being at an admissions event and worrying that your shirt is riding up, making you look unkempt or worse, exposing inappropriate amounts of skin.
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02 Feb 2011, 19:18
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27 May 2011, 16:02

Suits look absolutely ridiculous on me. Always. I think the biggest problem is that I have a really young face, which creates a weird contrast (even though I'm an adult in my 20s, whenever I try on a suit, I look like a kid playing dress up). Suits just look too old for my face. The darker colors in particular, like navy and black, make me look like a 14 year old in her mom's clothes. Perhaps another part of the problem is that I'm fairly short and have a ruler shape, which makes suits look boxy and masculine on me. So whenever I try on a suit, I essentially have the problems of poor fit and looking too maturely dressed.

I do fine with business casual, but as you can imagine, I have a REALLY hard time with business formal.

So I was wondering - could I pull off a dress for business formal (assuming, of course, that it's dressy enough, made of an appropriate material, and conservatively cut)? I have a much easier time finding dresses that fit well and look appropriate. But would it be completely taboo?

I was thinking something like this: http://www.austinreed.co.uk/pws/images/catalogue/products/0370739506/large/0370739506_1.jpg (but perhaps paired with some kind of blazer).

EDIT: I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, but I live on the west coast - which I've always perceived to be less strict than east coast cities.
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31 May 2011, 05:45
obsessively wrote:

Suits look absolutely ridiculous on me. Always. I think the biggest problem is that I have a really young face, which creates a weird contrast (even though I'm an adult in my 20s, whenever I try on a suit, I look like a kid playing dress up). Suits just look too old for my face. The darker colors in particular, like navy and black, make me look like a 14 year old in her mom's clothes. Perhaps another part of the problem is that I'm fairly short and have a ruler shape, which makes suits look boxy and masculine on me. So whenever I try on a suit, I essentially have the problems of poor fit and looking too maturely dressed.

I do fine with business casual, but as you can imagine, I have a REALLY hard time with business formal.

So I was wondering - could I pull off a dress for business formal (assuming, of course, that it's dressy enough, made of an appropriate material, and conservatively cut)? I have a much easier time finding dresses that fit well and look appropriate. But would it be completely taboo?

I was thinking something like this: http://www.austinreed.co.uk/pws/images/catalogue/products/0370739506/large/0370739506_1.jpg (but perhaps paired with some kind of blazer).

EDIT: I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, but I live on the west coast - which I've always perceived to be less strict than east coast cities.

You're going to need at least one suit, imho, for applying to and attending bschool. Depending on what you recruit for, you may need two or three suits. I don't think you will be able to get away with a dress for formal interviews.
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31 May 2011, 07:06
I agree with runnergirl, and will also add that I'd guess 90% of the problem is fit, rather than just looking too young. Finding a good tailor who can alter a suit to fit your body will make a huge difference. Alterations are generally expensive, but if you get a good quality suit, it can last years. It's definitely worth it.
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31 May 2011, 10:47
Thanks girls. I'll be sure to give a second look to some of the stores listed on here.

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