What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. Dressing right for an interview can be tricky. You want to look your best, but you don’t want to go over the top. That’s why we’re going to cover the three basic dress-codes for interviews. Dressed up, Smart Casual (this one), and Casual. A good rule of thumb is to dress better than you’d have to if you landed the gig, but you also want to avoid looking like you’re showing off. Sharp, but appropriate. Neither too sloppy, nor too cavalier. Below is one option for a Smart Casual workplace.
The Sportcoat/Blazer: Bonobos Unconstructed Italian Wool Blazer in Navy – $400. The splurge of this outfit, and for good reason. It is expensive, and it is worth the cost of entry. Despite being renowned for their pants, Bonobos’ blazers might be (nay, ARE), the best item in their catalogue. Phenomenal woolen fabrics (this one is a lightweight hopsack), minimal lining for breathable four-season wear, and an unconstructed build to not only perfectly transition between scenarios, but also highlight your natural physique if you’ve been making strides in the gym.
The Pants: Banana Republic Athletic Heathered Traveler Pant in Grey – $58.90 (when 40% off). I continue to sing the praises of this pant. It has usurped the Bonobos chino as my go-to pant. These walk the line between casual and business perfectly, and have durable construction and added stretch for comfort. Grey offers great contrast with the Navy blazer from Bonobos.
The Shoes: Aston Grey Leu Oxford in Black – $90. Black shoes can work great with a navy-blue blazer. Especially when they’re a bit less formal like these, due to the brown sole. Aston Grey is a DSW exclusive brand, and they’ve been delivering solid quality shoes for the price for quite a long time. Often available for $10-$20 off, these black oxfords walk the line between formal and casual with their plain toe and contrasting stitch on the glued welt. They won’t be as durable as a re-craftable shoe, but my pair looks and wears better than when they were purchased in 2018. Wearing your shoes gives them character.
The Shirt: Charles Tyrwhitt Buttoned Down Collar Shirt in White With Blue Check – 4 for $199. Time for the buttoned-down collar! I love these collars for their ability to stay in shape without needing collar stays. Think of this as a perfect midpoint between the formal dress shirt and a polo shirt. We go back to the well with Charles Tyrwhitt, so you can add this shirt to your multi-buy discount along with the formal dress shirt from our Dressed-Up Interview Style Scenario. White is always a safe selection for your base color, and lends a hand in adding more polish to a dressed-down interview outfit, while the small blue check pattern adds depth. Much like that section for volunteering on your resume.
The Watch: Orient Sun And Moon V2 in Black – $230. In a business casual interview, your outfit is all about balance. You want to look polished without being stuffy; casual without being overly relaxed. The watch you wear will help strike that balance, with the right selection. This is the right selection. A unique timepiece, with a classy AM/PM indicator as one of the complications.
The Belt: Banana Republic Italian Leather Belt in Black – $44. Think of this as the more polished version of the reliable GAP basic leather belt. Also included in the Dressed-Up Interview Style Scenario, but this time in black to match the shoes.
The Socks: Nordstrom Merino Wool Blend Dress Sock in Charcoal – 3 pairs for $40. This is still an interview. Keep your “fun” socks for after you start cashing those paychecks.
The Briefcase: Filson Twill Briefcase in Grey Cinder – $325. Something to carry printed copies of your resume, portfolio, recommendations, or any other proof points to help you land the job. Because this isn’t a dressed-up interview, the bag doesn’t need to be leather or overly structured, but it shouldn’t be an overly casual messenger bag, either. Filson’s Original, while another investment, is made in the USA and built to last.
About the Author: Jason P. is a Dappered devotee, having curated the majority of his wardrobe through the site. He is an enthusiast of wool sweaters, chino pants, and affordable automatic watches. In his free time, you can find him at his boxing gym or antiquing with his wife.