How to buy the perfect suit for OCIs

By: August 24, 2017

“A suit that matches your sharp intellect will charm the pants off recruiters.”

man picks suit

The 2L recruitment season will soon be upon us. But as you prep for the upcoming on-campus interviews, don’t forget one crucial step: purchasing a well-fitting suit.

A suit that matches your sharp intellect will charm the pants off recruiters. As a solo entertainment lawyer — and a wardrobe stylist for young professionals — I want to help you look your best. Here are my four easy steps to help you pick out the perfect suit.

Step 1: Make the investment

If you want a great suit, you will have to spend some money. I recommend budgeting $300 to $600, plus a bit more (around $200) for shoes and accessories.

Look for suits with breathable fabrics, such as Italian wool or linen. And if this is your first suit, it should be versatile. So this is the only time I’ll tell you to avoid cuts that are too trendy.

Step 2: Choose the right colour

The easiest way to choose a colour is to find one that complements your skin tone. Bolder colours — say, a sharp blue or red — are excellent for darker skin tones. Cooler tones, such as grey or camel, are ideal for fair skin. I also suggest selecting a solid color: you’ll be able to pair it with a variety of colorful shirts, ties or blouses.

Step 3: Find your perfect fit

When trying on a suit, pay attention to how the jacket feels on your shoulders and across your chest. The shoulder pads should feel snug and hug your shoulders a bit. You should also be able to fasten all of the buttons on your suit. If you spot wrinkles around the mid-section when buttoned, the jacket is too tight. When you relax your arms at your sides, the end of the jacket should sit on your wrist, slightly above the knuckle on your thumb.

For trousers, the fabric should cover your ankle fully. For women, if you choose to wear a skirt, your hemline should rest just above your knees while seated.

Once you’ve found the perfect suit, you may need to have a tailor make alterations: it will be hard to find an off-the-rack suit that fits you perfectly.

Step 4: Put it all together

I know that’s a lot to think about, so here are some ready-made outfits that would be perfect for an upcoming job interview. For women, lightweight classic skirt suit with a blouse is elegant and projects confidence. Check out J. Crew for their selection of stretch-cotton suits. (Most have both a skirt and trouser option.) Here’s a tip: buy all three pieces — the trouser, skirt and blazer. This way, you can have two suits for a great value.

To complete your look, try adding a Babaton’s Piero blouse from Aritiza, Vince Camuto’s Tanela pumps, and head over to Zara or TOPSHOP for their selection of totes and purses for less than $100. You can use your blouse and tote selection to add complementary pops of colour.

As for men, I suggest a tailored two-button suit from RW & Co. in deep blue to achieve a classic dapper look. To round out your suit, you can purchase a tailored premium cotton shirt from H&M Men’s, a J. Crew polka-dot pocket square, and Aldo’s Craosa oxfords. Don’t forget your Kenneth Cole messenger bag to complete this smart look and keep you organized.

Finally, to get the best price, shop around and compare. You can also look for sales and use these student discounts to get the most bang for your buck.

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