Clothes Make the Lawyer: "Dress Like a Partner"

 
Published: March 9, 2012 share

Can you wear a patterned tie with a patterned shirt? Should you wear brown socks if you wear brown shoes? Should you wear a sport coat to an interview?

 

Those questions all were answered at a TJSL special event “Success Suits Him,” presented by Phi Alpha Delta and the Black Law Students Association on March 8.

 

The “what to wear and what not to wear” presentation was made by four representatives from Brooks Brothers, a name that is nearly synonymous with the button-down-striped-tie-dark-suit-oxford-shoes-look among male professionals.

 

“Appearance is very important,” Brooks Brothers store manager Vincent Vernhes told the students. “If it fits well and looks right, it inspires confidence and professionalism.”

 

It’s all about suits, shoes, slacks, sport coats and when to wear which in what combinations with which colors.

 

The Brooks Brothers team came with plenty of examples and plenty of advice, especially for all-important job interviews.

 

“To make a good, professional first impression,” said Vernhes.  “A dark solid or lightly patterned suit is best.   But don’t wear black. Charcoal gray is preferred, but Navy blue is great as well.”

 

Sport coats and slacks are out for job interviews, he said.  So are French cuffs and overly fancy or fashion-forward suits and accessories.

 

“Stay conservative for the interview,” Vernhes said. “Dress for the position above the one you’re applying for. Then after you get the job, you can wear whatever you want,” he joked.

 

What about shirts? Ironically, Brooks Brothers recommends spread collars over button-down shirts for interviews (too casual). “You can’t go wrong with a crisp white shirt,” Vernhes said.

 

As for socks – “they should complement the slacks,” said Brooks Brothers men’s fashion consultant Landon Holder. “They should be darker than the pants, or at least the same darkness.”

 

They recommend black-lace-up shoes for a dressier look, but it’s okay to wear brown shoes with a dark suit as long as the belt matches.  “Buy the shoes and then buy the belt,” is their advice.

 

The Brooks Brothers team says that it’s important to care for your clothes to make sure they continue to look good and last as long as they should. That means wearing a suit only once a week and dry-cleaning suits only 3-4 times a year. And no discount dry-cleaners, which will harm the suit.

 

Finally, when it comes to buying suits, you get what you pay for.  “Quality benefits you in the long run,” according to Vernhes.  And he added, “Stay classy.”

 

“I enjoyed the event – it was very informative,” said 2L Lawrence Kleinman.”

 

“I wanted to validate that what I’m doing is right,” said 3L Ryan Ciriaco.

 

“You can mix patterned suits and ties,” said 3L David Gibbs. But the most important thing he learned was: “Dress like a partner.”