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I have had a couple pairs of Allen Edmonds over the years and they are sooo uncomfortable. Maybe it's just my feet though.
On the suit front: You can and should have two nice suits. I'm by no means a fashion snob (really.. not at all), but i'm always irked when i see people walking down the street in suits made of cheap fabric or don't fit right... not as a judgment of their financial worth.. but it just gives a bad impression and is REALLY noticeable. Invest in good quality and good tailoring. And it really is an investment because you can get a few years of good use out of a conservatively styled and versatile suit.
Personally, I think Ferragamos are probably the most comfortable and versatile shoes out there. If you want to buy an expensive pair - these are the ones to get. They are probably the lightest pair of shoes I have ever had and they feel like you have nothing on. However, they would be way too flashy for a business school interview setting unless they are a conservative model. You definitely don't want to show up to recruiting events w/ the signature Ferragamo buckle.
I plan to buy a pair of Allen-Edmonds Park Avenues before school (whenever that ends up being).
Consider Canali, they are very nice and generally reasonably priced ($1000 ish) Absolutely get it tailored. Pro-tip, when buying a suit get one they need to take in a bit rather one they need to let out -- that way if you gain a few pounds you won't be SOL. Please don't go funeral black. Stick with dark navy or charcoal. Please don't try to pull off brown or white or anything else. For the love of god make sure it's tailored right. There is nothing worse than an untailored suit.
Shoes, Ferragamo is my personal choice, but largely out of necessity - I'm a 13 and a narrow foot. There's basically two shoes that fit me: Ferragamo and Reebok.
Shirt, please skip the Gordon gecko shirts.
Ironically, I can dress myself in a suit but can't dress business casual to save my life.
Fit is all relative, for both suits and shoes. To say a certain brand fits you like a glove and thus everyone else should get one too, that doesn't really make sense.
*Traditionally*, a black suit is not really appropriate for business or even social events. Black suits are for funerals and waiting tables.
Now, we live in 2009, a male in America who is between 25 and 35 years old has probably seen more black suits at weddings, night clubs, at work, at business conferences, than any other color. In short, a black suit was "wrong" for business at one time, but now it has become acceptable, mainly because a million others have made the mistake for you already. Its probably the Calvin Klein effect from the 80s evolved into Armani and Hugo Boss in the 90s.
I've got two suits: gray and navy blue, both solid. One is two-button, the other is three-button, and they are both from Men's Wearhouse, not some fancy brand. The nice thing is that the tailor was good, and the suits fit me like a glove. I will probably not buy new suits for b-school...I think these two will be enough to get me through recruiting.
On another note, I would not buy a black suit unless you are planning to attend many funerals in the near future.
I would recommend 2. One charcoal and one navy. If you like Hugo Boss suits, go to Dillard's. They have them 50% off as a Christmas sale. Don't buy them online, the stores are trying everything to make you a deal if you'll just let them.
I've got two suits: gray and navy blue, both solid. One is two-button, the other is three-button, and they are both from Men's Wearhouse, not some fancy brand. The nice thing is that the tailor was good, and the suits fit me like a glove.
That's a great point. So long as the suits are made well (good quality wool, not glued to the backing, etc.) the skill of the tailor has more impact on how the suit looks than the name on the tag.
The black suits you wear to formal occassions are called tuxedos. Recruiting is not that formal. Most business people wear dark gray and navy (with or without pinstripes).
You probably can't get a well-made suit for $200. Generally the Hickey, Canali, Zegna etc. suits look better because they are very well made with good materials. But will most people be able to tell the difference between a $700 Brooks Brothers and a $2,500 Zegna? Probably not, and a well tailored Brooks Brothers will look a lot better than a poorly tailored Zegna.
If you have a Nordstrom Rack nearby, definitely go check out their stock. They have Abboud, Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, Boss, etc. for about half of what they cost at retail. Their salespeople don't really seem to know their stuff (at least at the one here), so it might be wise to know what you want before going in, or they will try to sell you anything.
This definitely has been discussed a lot (go to the B-School Life forum), but in short:
1. You need one solid dark navy and one solid charcoal suit (well, if you're not going to a school on the West Coast ) 2. I chose 1 two-button and 1 three-button for variety 3. I had mine made and tailored in Taiwan, saving lots of money 4. I also have a black suit and a brown mini-striped suit (from Banana Republic) that I wear for non recruiting events. Actually, I wore the brown suit to my Super Saturday interview, so take that for whatever it's worth.
Here are some threads that may help (check the Knowledge Vault area for more)
I think striped black suits are ok. (Not white stripes....) u dont wanna look like a zebra
I interviewed in a black pin-striped suit at booth, I think it was OK. Not white stripes.
Interviewing for B-school and interviewing for Morgan Stanley ain't the same. B-school is many times less judgemental.
Also, don't waste your money on a Hickey Freeman or any other suit over $700. You nor anyone else can tell the difference between a well-tailored Brooks Brothers suit and a well-tailored Hickey Freeman suit. Spend $400 on a good suit. Make sure it includes tailoring, and that the tailor is good at his craft. Otherwise find a great tailor and spend the money to have the suit fitted perfectly.