Dressed for success: Brooks Brothers gives some tips

Michael O'Reilly, Brooks Brothers, speaks to a group of Fordham students during a presentation on professional attire. (Photo by Bailey Link)

Michael O’Reilly of Brooks Brothers speaks at a presentation on professional attire. (Photo by Bailey Link)

By Bailey Link, BS ’16

Dressing professionally doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just make sure you have the right look for the right occasion, a team from the clothing company Brooks Brothers told Fordham students recently.

The Brooks Brothers employees, speaking to students about professional attire, advised that an interviewee should look new, fresh and crisp. For men, this means a solid blue or gray suit, white dress shirt and a black shoe that matches the belt. For women, this means a navy or gray suit, a light blue or white dress shirt and a modest shoe. These are the staples that should be in every professional’s closet, they said.

The presentation, aimed mainly at Gabelli School of Business graduate students and held in the Law School building at Lincoln Center, was arranged by the Personal and Professional Development Center. Most of the information focused on dressing for an interview, which they said included networking and any session that is pre-job offer.

A tight budget should not preclude a good appearance, presenters said, urging students to make good use of tailors to help fine-tune a wardrobe.

“It doesn’t matter if it is a $20 suit or a $20,000 suit,” said store manager Alicia Pritikin. “If it doesn’t fit you properly, then it does you no good

Men and women share some dress rules, but there are differences, presenters said. For example, men should never wear black except to a wedding or a funeral, but women can. Men also must wear neckties, which should be modest for an interview. Regarding socks, employees and interviewees should never let their ankles show, and socks should be about calf length, in case people cross their legs.

Both genders should wear solid-colored suits to their interviews because, “you don’t want to look better than anyone who’s interviewing you,” said Michael O’Reilly, a district manager.

A potential employee typically will interview about three to five times before receiving a job offer. Each time, the dress code stays the same: The outfit must remain understated, professional and clean.

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