Category Archives: Men’s Fashion

How To Design the Perfect Interview Outfit

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Dressing for an interview is a crucial element in winning the job. Although it has been said that it’s the man (or women) not the suit that matters, the reality is that first impressions are everything.

So the question is, is it possible to over dress for an interview?

I’ve had the privilege of sitting on both ends of the table and in my opinion, I don’t think it’s possible to over dress.  Although some companies are more casual than others, I think it’s generally understood that interviewees will typically dress with the idea of creating an excellent first impression.

A friend of mine interviewed at a local tech company for a sales position. For the interview, he wore a suit and tie. When he walked into the interview, he found that he was the most dressed up person on the floor. He said that this made the interview a little awkward. My friend later asked me whether he should have dressed more casually for the interview. There are many schools of thought on this.

If you are interviewing for a position at a company that has a relaxed culture, I think most people can get away with simply wearing a suit with a well paired shirt. Although some people may disagree with this logic, interviewers are looking for both aptitude and  cultural fit. The means that in the interview,  the hiring manager is typically are looking at you through the lens of whether or not they can imagine you working at the company.

On the other hand, it can be argued that you can never really overdress for an interview. A mentor of mine insists that it’s always better to be overdressed than to be too casually dressed. I tend to agree with the more conservative approach because dressing too casually can often backfire

Here are a few tips for designing your interview outfit:

  • Focus on fit! Well fitting suits exude confidence and attention to detail.
  • The tie can make or break an outfit so choose wisely. Slimmer ties are back in vogue.
  • Shine your shoes. Unpolished shoes look incredibly unprofessional.
  • Use classic accessories such as tie clips, cuff links and pocket squares. But don’t go over board. Stick to simple designs.
  • Make sure your suit and shirt doesn’t have wrinkles
  • Dress to your comfort level. If you’ve never worn a tie, then consider leaving it out as it may make you feel awkward in the interview.
  • Wear bold color combinations and pair it with greys and blacks.
  • Do a bit of research on the company to see what kind of culture they have. You would most likely plan your outfit differently for a law firm versus a tech company.
  • Wear your favorite professional work outfit to your interview. A well put together outfit that you’ve stylized exudes confidence.

One last point, is that while looking sharp is really important, it doesn’t replace preparation. Make sure you’re on your A game both in your outfit and in your head.

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Finding the Perfect Weekend Duffel Bag

I travel quite a bit on short weekend trips.I was finding that the bag that I was using wasn’t working so I decided to shop around for a new overnight bag.

Here are my three picks:

Herschel Novel Duffel

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The Herschel Novel Duffel is a very stylish bag that gives you a retro look with some cool features.

Pros

– Shoe compartment

– Size (Large enough bag to pack a lot of stuff in)

– Light weight

– Nice leather accents

– Stylish and cool

Cons

– The canvas material seemed a little flimsy

– The plastic buckles seemed poorly constructed

– Some of the inner linings are unusual designs

– The shoe compartment was nice but a little small for large shoes

Lululemon Training Duffel

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The Lululemon Duffel is a durable urban bag that can be used for the gym or a weekend away.

Pros

– Lot’s of features including a strap for a yoga mat

– Large shoe/wet stuff compartment

– High quality material

– The bag keeps its shape once its zipped up

Cons

– Expensive at $108

– Not as stylish as other bags

– Not as much space available once you have a pair of shoes in the shoe compartment

MEC Duffel Bag

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The MEC Duffel is a well constructed bag that is highly durable and basic in its look and feel.

Pros

– Inexpensive

– Lot’s of size options

– Lot’s of colors to choose from

– Waterproof

– Durable

Cons

– It’s a pretty basic bag so you won’t get any points for style

– No special compartments for small items

– The shoulder strap can be uncomfortable with heavy weight

I decided in the end to go with the Lululemon Training Duffel because of the durability and quality of the fabric. I’ve been using it regularly for the past few months and i’ve been extremely happy with it.

Wearing a Backpack with a Suit (and 8 Other Common Fashion Failures)

I’m going to take a bit of detour off the beaten track for my post today.

The idea for this post was born out of a casual conversation I was having with a friend of mine Kim (@iamkimu).  We were standing in a line up at Tim Hortons and at we both noticed a guy destroying his beautiful suit with an outdoor backpack from Mountain Equipment Co-op. We decided to come up with a list of 9 fashion failures that guys with suits frequently do.

This list is purely an opinion piece and if you want real fashion tips, check out GQ.

1) Wearing a suit and a backpack

This one is simple. You pay $300+ for a nice suit, get it tailored and it looks awesome. Then you ruin the frame of the suit by tossing a heavy backpack on it. Spend $60 and buy yourself a computer bag or nice leather attaché case.

2) White socks and black dress shoes

White socks should never be worn with black dress shoes. Unless your in grade 6 and also have braces and bad acne. That being said, your socks don’t always have to be black. A really good look is to have a sock with an interesting design that complements the shirt or tie.

3) Wearing a Livestrong (or other charity) bracelet with a suit

Okay, so Kim and I debated back and forth on this one but we decided that this one should be added to the list purely because while these bracelets are usually for an awesome cause, they sort of send out mixed messages. It’s like 99% of you is sending out the message that you’re ready to do business. But your wrist wants to party.  We recommend shelving the bracelet for more casual attire. Instead, wear a nice watch to go with your suit.

4) Wearing a suit that doesn’t fit properly (too big or too small)

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in regards to suits. If you’re going to spend the money on a suit, make sure it fits! A suit that’s too big looks like you’re drowning in fabric. A suit that’s too small….well probably sends the message that you haven’t bought a new suit in awhile. Plenty of tailors can alter your suit at a really affordable price. Also, when buying a suit, make sure the shoulders fit. Everything else can be altered.

5) Wearing two different patterns (suit jacket and pants)

Unless you want to look like your grandfather, then I wouldn’t recommend wearing two different patterns of suit jacket and pants. It can look mismatched or just old. The exception to this rule is if you are wearing a solid color pair of pants and a jacket with a pattern.

6) Wearing a sporty rain coat with a suit

Yes, formal looking raincoats can be expensive. But you can pick up a nice black or beige trench coat on the cheap these days. And it looks way, way better! A nice rain coat paired with a suit, really completes the look.

7) Wearing shoes without shining them (suede being the exception)

Kim wanted me to add this one as he keeps a private stash of shoe polish in his office. Scruffy looking shoes send off the amateur message to a potential employer or client. Give your shoes a good shine before heading out the door and you’ll complete the “power” look.

8) Wearing your cell phone on your belt

Okay, unless you work for the CIA and you need your phone at the ready all the time, then ditch the cell phone holster. It looks ridiculous, especially with a suit. Enough said.

9) Wearing a casual belt with a suit

I’m always amazed at how many people do this. They have an awesome suit (maybe a pinstripe) and then they ruin it with their weekend warrior Hollister belt. Make sure to get a good black or brown belt to go with your suit. And then it won’t look like your heading out for your first job interview.

I’ve love to hear your feedback on any men’s fashion tips (business/formal attire) you have. And the best tip will be posted as number 10 on this list with your name.

The winning tip to add as number 10 on the list was posted by “twocentsplus” who says “Short sleeve shirts should never be worn with a suit”.