The Definitive Finance Interview Outfit Guide

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This post is written by Indochino's Chief Stylist. Indochino is the world's leading Custom Clothing company specializing in Men's Custom Suits & Dress Shirts.

You've already won half the battle, you've submitted your resume, gone to the meet and greets and it was appealing enough to land you the interview - now what about your visual resume?

Interviewers make up their minds about someone within the first 5 minutes of meeting them, therefore it's imperative that you look your very best and impress them right out the gate. In positions where the competition is stiff, interviewers are likely looking for a reason not to hire you and you definitely don't want that reason to be your outfit. Follow these tips to ensure your ensemble is as impressive as your resume.

Choosing your suit for a finance interview

What's the Best Suit Fabric?

Fabric: Wool
Wool makes the best impression as it appears more expensive and hangs better on the body than any other fabric. If your interview is in the middle of summer not to worry - wool works as a temperature regulator and will keep you cool despite the heat. Look for Super 100s or 150s as they are the ideal quality and will last stand the test of time, the investment is well worth it.

Choosing a Suit Color

Color: Solid Navy or Charcoal
Leave the pinstripes at home until you've landed the job - you don't want to appear too showy. Your goal should be to be better dressed than the other applicants but not better than your interviewer.

Making it Yours: The Bespoke Suit

Details: 2-button Jacket, Flat Front Pants, Great tailored fit
A 2-button jacket is a classic staple that will last you years upon end. Pair with flat front pants without a pleat and you have a suit that will take you through any season and any occasion. Always remember fit is most key! A $600 suit that fits poorly is worse than a $300 suit that fits well. Opt for a suit which is made to your exact measurements and it will appear like one of a high-end designer label, while a high-end suit which is made to fit everyone can easily appear as baggy as a hand-me-down from your father if it's not the perfect fit.

The Shirt

Choosing The Shirt Material

Fabric: Cotton
100% cotton shirts have the best appearance and will not look cheap. Cotton blends will not give off the same level of authority and maturity as a shirt made from 100% cotton.

What Color Dress Shirt do I Need?

Color: Solid White or 'cool' tone
A classic white will exude an air of authority while a colored shirt will make you appear more friendly and approachable - choose which you feel is more appropriate dependent on the company. If you do opt for a color choose cooler shades such as grays or blues. Avoid funky patterns and colors as they will speak louder than you think.

Shirt Details

Details: Appropriate collar, Great tailored fit
The fit of your dress shirt is equally as important as that of your suit and should not be overlooked. The biggest faux pas you could make is to wear a collar that is too big. Opt for a Classic or Spread collar and make sure that you cannot fit more than one finger between your collar and your neck. Best tie-knots for both collars is a full or half Windsor (preferably full)

Finishing touches

Final details are key in pulling your look together and will show that you put added thought into your outfit beyond just matching your shirt to your suit. The finishing touches may not appear that big to you, but could be the difference between you and another well-dressed candidate.

Tie: 100% Silk
Stick to solids or a classic print but nothing too loud.

Shoes: Leather with leather soles
Square toed, chunky or rubber-soled shoes will dismantle the appearance you have worked so hard to achieve. Opt for black or brown brogue or wing-tip lace up shoes and treat yourself to a shoeshine beforehand.

Belt: Subtle and leather
Your belt should be the same color leather as your shoes and compliment your suit, shirt and tie. Opt for a skinny belt with a classic buckle, nothing too loud or distracting.

Socks: Solid, Calf-length
Ensure your socks are long enough to not show any calf while you are sitting. Go for a solid color and always match your socks to your pants, not your shoes. (If they match your shoes, your legs will appear short.)

Bag: Classic, Leather
A leather briefcase or bag is a great way to make an impression. Slightly worn in exudes character and beat up exudes inappropriate. Include a notepad, extra resume and a good pen (no plastic) and don't forget some gum... which you will spit out before your interview.

Watch: Simple
Keep it unpretentious and classic. If you can match the wristband to your shoes and belt, even better.

Extra Tips

  • Keep an extra shirt and tie in your car in case you spill something and have to change.
  • Drop your suit at the cleaners beforehand so everything is freshly pressed
  • No pocket square, keep your look clean and minimal
  • Wear little or no jewelry (watch and wedding ring are enough)
  • Get a haircut beforehand in a neat, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Be nice to the receptionist!

Comments (18)

Jul 3, 2012

What's the rule of thumb on cuff links? I have a few tailored shirts with cuff link holes rather than buttons at the wrist. Are they too flashy for an interview?

Jul 3, 2012
TroutSlayer:

What's the rule of thumb on cuff links? I have a few tailored shirts with cuff link holes rather than buttons at the wrist. Are they too flashy for an interview?

If you're interviewing for an analyst/entry-level position, I'd just generally shy away from cufflinks. Some people perceive them as a display of power or seniority or whatever so I'd just play it safe with regular cuffs.

And big thumbs up to Indochino - they don't pay me but as a broke college student, their charcoal suit got me through both summer internship and full time recruiting seasons with some good offers. Good suits and always great customer service when I've had any issues.

Jul 3, 2012
Ampharos:
TroutSlayer:

What's the rule of thumb on cuff links? I have a few tailored shirts with cuff link holes rather than buttons at the wrist. Are they too flashy for an interview?

If you're interviewing for an analyst/entry-level position, I'd just generally shy away from cufflinks. Some people perceive them as a display of power or seniority or whatever so I'd just play it safe with regular cuffs.

True but if you really want to wear french cuffs, and you're interviewing for a junior-level position, use silk knots.

Jul 4, 2012
TroutSlayer:

What's the rule of thumb on cuff links? I have a few tailored shirts with cuff link holes rather than buttons at the wrist. Are they too flashy for an interview?

Probably only fine in London (not NYC, can't speak for HK though). Everyone including interns wear cuff links in Ldn, and it's fine - to be expected.

Jul 3, 2012

I'm a college student and I'm shopping for a pair of good shoes that will last. I personally really like wing tips but I feel like they're relatively flashy when compared to cap toes. Do you think wing tips are ok when dealing with conservative interviewers? I don't want them to think that I'm showing off or anything...any thoughts?

Jul 3, 2012
DMVbro:

I'm a college student and I'm shopping for a pair of good shoes that will last. I personally really like wing tips but I feel like they're relatively flashy when compared to cap toes. Do you think wing tips are ok when dealing with conservative interviewers? I don't want them to think that I'm showing off or anything...any thoughts?

Stick with cap toe. Always, always err on the side of as conservative as possible.

For the ladies... your aim should be to be as covered up as a man...black tights or nude hose, skirt suit that hits the knee and is fitted but not tight (charcoal or navy, like with the boys...though black is acceptable for women although it's not for men), 2.5-3.5 inch black heels (save the Loub's for once you get the job), a very tasteful blouse (meaning cool-tones, absolutely no cleavage, not too tight) or button up shirt, short strand of pearls, and pearl studs. Make-up, in my opinion, is a must, but should be very natural and enhance features (think Bobbi Brown, not Urban Decay).

The trick of being a woman in finance is to always give the appearance that you are all business, so that you can always maintain innocence in being perceived in a sexual light...if you're unattractive or have a dumpy body, then obviously just try to look as put together as you can.

Edit: For hair, if it's above shoulder length, then wear it down, but make it very sleek; if below, then put up into a french twist, or otherwise conservative hairdo. A ponytail is acceptable if it is styled in a manner similar to this (a low, very smooth ponytail with a hairband that matches your hair color, for those who hate clicking links): http://www.harpersbazaar.com/cm/harpersbazaar/imag...

Jul 4, 2012
DMVbro:

I'm a college student and I'm shopping for a pair of good shoes that will last. I personally really like wing tips but I feel like they're relatively flashy when compared to cap toes. Do you think wing tips are ok when dealing with conservative interviewers? I don't want them to think that I'm showing off or anything...any thoughts?

Wingtips are a less formal shoe than cap toes. I echo anaismalcolm's recomendation to stick with cap toes as this appears to be your first pair of nice shoes. I am extremely fond of the Allen Edmond's Park Avenue see: http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF27... . Until you can afford a variety of shoes for all occasions, it's best to stick with something like these. They will class up anything you wear and not look out of place, but too casual a shoe will turn a great suit into an unpolished look.

Jul 4, 2012

The Allen Edmond's Park Avenues are very nice but if you are looking for an extremely similar model at a much cheaper price then go for the Johnston & Murphy Melton. I found them at a Johnston & Murphy Outlet for $100. So look around.

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain

Jul 4, 2012

Just a quick comment about the haircut. Don't get it the day before or the day of. Try for 4-5 days out if possible.

I also have a question. What are people's view on black shoes/belt with a blue suit?

Jul 4, 2012
KhakiPete:

I also have a question. What are people's view on black shoes/belt with a blue suit?

As opposed to what? That's what most people wear

Jul 4, 2012
AstonMartin:
KhakiPete:

I also have a question. What are people's view on black shoes/belt with a blue suit?

As opposed to what? That's what most people wear

As opposed to brown shoes/belt with a blue suit. I heard/read some places that black is never acceptable for a blue suit.

Jul 23, 2012

An excellent post. Great job OP.

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

Jul 23, 2012

gray shirts? ninja please!

Jul 23, 2012

Made the mistake of buying French Cuff shirts from TM Lewin without reading all the fine print. So it's okay to wear them with silk knots in US/East Coast?

My name is Nicky, but you can call me Dre.

Aug 1, 2012

I'm a short guy with a small rounded neck and head, traditional spread and pointed collars look way too big and disproportionate on me. I found an alternative, the rounded collar (image on link below). If dressed up properly, would this be professional? Sorry if im nitpicking and thanks.

http://images.asos.com/inv/media/4/3/7/4/2124734/w...

May 15, 2018

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