Any Recommendations on Attire for a Jr. Consultant?

Each time that I asked this question during my recruiting cycle (didn't matter if boutique, big 4, or MBB) the response was "it depends on what you're doing."

As you can imagine, that answer isn't particularly helpful since there is such a wide range of outfits associated with consulting that each require completely different budgetary allocations (e.g., casual vs business casual vs business professional).

Of course, I don't expect to wear a t-shirt, but the price difference between a decent polo vs a quarter zip vs a button-up vs a sport coat vs a suit jacket can be hundreds or thousands of dollars-especially if I need to rebuild my work wardrobe with a 2-4 week supply.

For context into my future role: Joining ACN Strategy next summer in DC after I graduate.

I already sort of dress somewhere between casual and business casual because I prefer muted tones, small/no logo, and solid colors anyway, so adding to my work attire for that wouldn't be too crazy. I just also don't want to be underprepared, so would appreciate some insight into how I should dress in my day-to-day + when on client sites (I've heard standards can be higher when on site). Especially when it comes to shoes/boots/dress shoes.

Ideally, I'd want to be able to buy 2-4 weeks' worth of clothing (hence my citing potentially thousands in pricing differences), and I'd want it to be as interchangeable as possible so that things can be mixed and matched.

I know this post all may sound silly, but I was a wildland firefighter before making this career jump and finishing up my schooling, so the extent of my "dress code" before entering this world was basically anything that I didn't mind wearing under my nomex uniform and especially didn't mind being ruined by sweat, dirt, convective heat, or blood; most of which is typically thrown away at the end of a fire season, lol. Please forgive my smooth brain on this topic.

Thanks in advance.

Comments (7)

  • Associate 2 in Consulting

You're overthinking this significantly.

It is going to depend on what you're doing. It depends on your team's culture, the office location you're based, and if you're with a client.

That being said, a shirt and trousers (non-suit) is standard in the industry these days. You'll be fine with these. Also, ask your team what people typically wear before you join - they're not going to bite your nose off for doing so.

yjackets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I appreciate the insight here. Intuitively, I assumed that was the case, but I didn't want to lean too much on a reasonable assumption, so I intentionally over-analyzed to cover all my bases.

Regarding the team, I only haven't reached out yet because I was supposed to be starting at a different office until about two weeks ago when my wife received an opportunity to work in DC. I explained the situation to my recruiter, and instead of rescinding the offer, it was amended to move me to the DC office. Haven't formally met/corresponded with anyone (including the recruiter I was handed off to) out there yet though since I only signed the new offer last week.

I'm relieved that things appear to be as simple as I hoped though. Thanks again for your input.

Most Helpful
  • Associate 3 in IB-M&A

Show up day 1 in a suit (no tie IMO, but you can wear one if you want to look extra sharp). Take notes of what everyone else is wearing, but you can lose the tie and jacket on day 2. Dress pants and a dress shirt are the norm, a lot of people like the Lululemon ABCs but I would hold off for a few weeks with those as they are a bit more casual.

Understandable to be unsure given your previous career. You should focus on buying a couple of pairs of dress pants and dress shirts, maybe buy enough to get you through a few weeks and you can add to that as you understand the office fashion a bit more. Also grab a quarter zip sweater or two and be looking for a nice professional looking winter jacket if you don't already have (the sales after winter are always a good time). I don't wear polos to the office as I am never in on Fridays and they are quite casual for the other days.

No need to have sport coat. Always good to have at least 1 nice suit and tie, doesn't need to cost thousands. Have it tailored for you is the much more important part.

yjackets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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