3/16/10

What is considered an interview appropriate bag in terms of size/ shape/ brand? I usually have my resume in a black leather folder but need something else for my phone, foundation, etc.

Unfortunately, most of my bags have some feature that would make the brand recognizable to a more observant banker, and I feel that anything instantly recognizable is inappropriate for interviews. I also fear that a bag which is 'too nice' might be associated with being high maintenance.

Also, are exotic leathers such as ostrich or lizard out of the question?

Comments (34)

3/16/10

what is wrong with high maintenance? you are not interviewing for PETA i would say just stay away for anything that has logos all over it and you should be fine. I also suppose a man will interview you? so he probably wont know the difference anyway

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3/16/10
3/16/10

I like that fake Coach with the loud Cow print and the hot pink trim.

3/16/10

BigFatPanda, that bag is a skating equipment bag.

3/16/10

just be yourself, take what you think looks smart

In reply to froufrou
3/16/10

froufrou:
what is wrong with high maintenance? you are not interviewing for PETA i would say just stay away for anything that has logos all over it and you should be fine. I also suppose a man will interview you? so he probably wont know the difference anyway

High maintenance implies inability to deal with working long hours, IMO.

I once brought an Hermes Mini Kelly, thinking it was 'fine' since it was a classy looking bag with no overt logos. Instead, my interviewer, a man, glared at my bag for a good 10 seconds. Hence, why I'm now concerned.

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In reply to street monkey
3/16/10

street monkey:
longchamp

That's a good idea actually. I always thought it was a bit of a textbook-lugging bag circa high school, but maybe that's not a bad thing.

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In reply to gorilla4sandracing
3/16/10

I see your point , also for longchamp i would not recommend le pliage but some other style

In reply to froufrou
3/16/10

Also some other brands like Lanvin/ miumiu could also pass the high maintenance test imho

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3/16/10

Actually men in banking know more about fashion than any other males out there so be ready. Once you have the job you can rock any brand you want. Before then, you should not have on any accessory that announces it's name. Brokos Brothers, Banana Republic, surprisingly Jessica Simpson and Nine West all have nice black/brown totes with an ounce of fashionable.

In reply to moneyneversleeps2
3/16/10

The bag options I have in my closet right now: Louis Vuitton, Hermes, YSL, Henri Bendel, Chanel. I'm basically afraid they would be thought of as over-the-top, but I am not quite desperate enough to enter a Nine West in order to assuage these fears.

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3/16/10

Unless someone thinks an Hermes might be okay for an IB interview? The aforementioned 'incident' was not in banking but a different (and lower-paying) industry altogether.

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In reply to gorilla4sandracing
3/16/10

gorilla4sandracing:
The bag options I have in my closet right now: Louis Vuitton, Hermes, YSL, Henri Bendel, Chanel. I'm basically afraid they would be thought of as over-the-top, but I am not quite desperate enough to enter a Nine West in order to assuage these fears.

Out of those I would go for either YSL (provided no gigantic logo covers the front) LV (only if it Epi), Henri Bendel (depends on the style)

3/16/10

Standard Coach medium sized bag.

3/18/10

I went with Henri Bendel. No complaints.

Sorry, I would never even consider owning a Coach product, much less carrying one to an interview. Leaves a rather B&T aftertaste in one's mouth.

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In reply to gorilla4sandracing
3/18/10

gorilla4sandracing:
I went with Henri Bendel. No complaints.

Sorry, I would never even consider owning a Coach product, much less carrying one to an interview. Leaves a rather B&T aftertaste in one's mouth.

But you would own LV? -.o;;

In reply to singularity
3/18/10

I don't know what you're implying here. The only time LV=B&T is when it's fake.

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In reply to gorilla4sandracing
3/19/10

gorilla4sandracing:
I don't know what you're implying here. The only time LV=B&T is when it's fake.

Unfortunately, there are so many fake LV items (as there are with Gucci, Coach, etc.) that it almost makes owning real LV pointless. And says something about where the appeal of such brands lies, ie the B&T crowd.

3/24/10

The problem with anything flashy / expensive -- this even includes jewelery -- is that some bankers want you to seem like you are hungry and want to / need to work to get those handbags, and therefore willing to work 100+ hour weeks for that bonus. But let's say that's not the case. The other issue is that you want to be remembered for what you say, not what you're wearing / carrying. You dont want your interviewer to say "oh yeah, that was the girl with the $3,000 handbag, I'm sure she'd be fun to work with" as it could imply that you are high maintenance aka spoiled and not willing to skip a manicure when you have a model / book due. No lizard...

I really don't recommend anything too flashy through your first few years as an analyst, no reason to call attention to yourself. I mean youre already a girl in banking so youre going to stand out... personally I dont think anything with a printed logo is professional.

If you need your designer fix, prada has very understated bags. YSL shapes are instantly recognizable and basically act as a logo. I would stay with a tote / shoulder bag in terms of shape. Someone also mentioned Banana which has great bags for reasonable prices that you can also travel with -- fit lots of documents.

In reply to gorilla4sandracing
3/24/10

get over yourself.

the brand doesn't matter as much as how it looks and how you rock it. besides, what's the point of carrying ysl if it just doesn't look that great?

3/24/10

Check out Kate Spade...they have great looking, professional bags. Even macys has great sale for Tote that looks profesional and fits lots of crap. Hopefully that helps.

In reply to banker123456
3/24/10

banker123456:
The problem with anything flashy / expensive -- this even includes jewelery -- is that some bankers want you to seem like you are hungry and want to / need to work to get those handbags, and therefore willing to work 100+ hour weeks for that bonus. But let's say that's not the case. The other issue is that you want to be remembered for what you say, not what you're wearing / carrying. You dont want your interviewer to say "oh yeah, that was the girl with the $3,000 handbag, I'm sure she'd be fun to work with" as it could imply that you are high maintenance aka spoiled and not willing to skip a manicure when you have a model / book due.

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head--that was exactly my concern. I want to avoid looking high maintenance but don't want to look like I have no taste.

Wallstreetdrone: "Get over yourself" is a pretty dick thing to say. I used to work in luxury goods and quality/ style/ appearance is important to me.

I think I'll end up getting some bags from non-recognizable/more obscure designers like Dries Van Noten.

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In reply to gorilla4sandracing
3/24/10

Good call, I just don't think you want to ever give anyone a reason not to hire you -- same reason guys shouldn't wear flashy ties or big cuff links, etc when they interview. You can get dinged from a first round interview for the stupidest stuff...

In reply to banker123456
3/24/10

Actually ended up with two offers (both times carrying H Bendel). But yeah, I think this goes for working FT as well, not just interviewing. Perception is important and I don't want a negative stigma.

I saw a female SMD walking into one of the places I interviewed at... she was carrying a designer bag the size of a laundry basket and wearing enormous sunglasses. I almost burst out laughing. She looked ridiculous.

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3/24/10

yeah, I mean there are no "rules" and you could be interviewed by someone who has no interest at all in your appearance, but you just never know...

Funny! I really enjoy watching one senior woman in my office in particular -- sunglasses, fur, giant fendi bags, louboutins in every color. She's over the top, but hey, they earned it so might as well spend it haha

3/25/10

How is a black Burberry or Ferragamo bag viewed? They don't have logos stamped all over them, so I'd assume they'd be alright?

3/25/10

Are you serious? I am a girl who works in banking and have been on many interviews at both top i-banks and boutiques... why concern yourself with a bag? Concern yourself with preparing for the interview not what bag you're going to bring. It's women like you who give us all a bad rep.
Men don't care about handbags. And if they say something about your bag then just stay confident in your abilities not what you're carrying. If you're a good banker they can care less about your handbag unless it's falling apart at the seems. Even then they may just offer to buy you a new one lol

3/25/10

Those are fine, IMO. Dressing for finance interviews should be simple: minimum make-up, simple hair, navy / other dark suit, solid color button down, minimal jewelery (no bangles/ hoop earrings), no colored nail polish. You don't have to wear pearls or look like a grandma, but you need to be conservative. That being said, there are women who dress really well/trendy in banking, but that's something you can adapt to once you understand your group's / firm's policy.

In reply to smorris2099
3/25/10

OK this is a fair post -- you should obviously prepare first...but you can't deny that appearance is important: you want to look well groomed and presentable because chances are you will be meeting with clients, going to dinners, recruiting events, etc. Even at the most junior position this is important.

In reply to smorris2099
3/25/10

smorris2099:
Are you serious? I am a girl who works in banking and have been on many interviews at both top i-banks and boutiques... why concern yourself with a bag? Concern yourself with preparing for the interview not what bag you're going to bring. It's women like you who give us all a bad rep.
Men don't care about handbags. And if they say something about your bag then just stay confident in your abilities not what you're carrying. If you're a good banker they can care less about your handbag unless it's falling apart at the seems. Even then they may just offer to buy you a new one lol

Dude, are you kidding? Of course it matters. They might not say anything about it, but what you wear or carry is a direct statement of who you are. All else being equal, a girl who brings a $15,000 Hermes Birkin is probably not going to get the job compared to a chick with a Ferragamo. The insinuation is that Miss Birkin is spoiled, high-maintenance, and won't work hard. Along the same lines, a girl carrying a pink vinyl leopard print bag with huge metal studs is probably going to be viewed as a poor culture fit or not serious enough for finance. When everyone is wearing the same suit and shoes, the handbag is probably the only indicator of personality and preferences.

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3/26/10

In my experience, guys definitely notice. I'd also argue that guys in finance are just as materialistic/concerned with appearance as girls are perceived to be. Many of them know designers, the red sole of Louboutins, etc, even if it's just from having their girlfriends/wives/mothers having that stuff. At the very least, they'll know the general cost of XYZ bag.

As many other posters have mentioned, appearance matters a lot. Being well groomed and put together goes a long way. I know that even from the buyside perspective, there is definitely judgment passed on sloppy bankers/consultants/etc. It just doesn't inspire much confidence that they'll be able to run an effective and organized process when they look all disheveled.

5/9/10

I like totes from Michael Kors - they're chic and look expensive but tasteful. If you're interviewing for SA/Analyst positions stay away from anything too flashy and bling, but if you're senior enough anything goes....

8/31/10

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9/22/10

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