On friday at a mock interview thing for Public Interest summer jobs, I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed a suit for interviewing. Even though it's just a summer internship for the first year, and even though these are public interest groups.

This means I will have to go out and buy a suit. I need a suit that meets all of the following criteria:

1. Fits my budget (I'm shooting for $300, but I can go somewhat higher or lower).

2. Is suited for wearing in winter and summer. That is, I'm buying this suit for interviews in the winter, but can't really afford another one for summer or next fall's interview season. Because I am heat-averse and cold-loving, and because I will be wearing the suit less in the winter than I will in warmer times, I am willing to sacrifice insulation now for comfort later.

3. Doesn't look embarassing (This is really all I can hope for shopping for myself, I've decided. I have no sense of fashion and can't tell you how many articles of clothing I've bought that looked fine at the stores and I now refuse to wear except on laundry day).

I have absolutely no idea what to look for in a suit. I was told by both parents not to buy a trendy suit; go for something conservative that'll stay acceptable for a while. This is fine advice, except I have no clue what trendy is in suits. It's snowing today, so I think I'll go downtown tomorrow and do this. Does anyone have any general advice about suit buying? What should I look for? What should I avoid? How do I test the suit in the shop so that I know it'll look good on me? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Do they have a Men's Wearhouse in Manhattan? I know they have them around the area. That's probably your best bet. Any suit shop thats worth its salt will point you in the right direction when you tell them you want a conservative or "classic" style and that you want to stay away from trends. Also, tell them about what you want hot and cold wise, and you will try on the suit and they will alter it for you so that it does look right. In fact, most suit pants don't even come finished at the bottom. In fact, tell them exactly that you need a first suit for conservative law interviews, all season. You'll be fine.

Here's an example of what I'd do if I were you. A single breasted, two button, dark suit. Gray, Black, or Navy Blue. Subtle pinstripes are ok, but nothing outrageous. White button down collared shirt, and a brick red tie would go with all three suits. Get the pants hemmed with a cuff. And get a nice pair of black cap-toe lace up shoes.

Email me if you want more help.

I used "in fact" way too often in that reply.

My apologies.

Thanks for the help, Ted!

I was leaning toward buying a suit at Macys, only because I have about $200 in gift cards there. I imagine they'll have a good selection at their big store on 34th Street, but I'm a little concerned about how helpful and knowledgeable the staff will be. Have you had any experience buying at department stores?

Yeah, I bought a suit at JC Penneys when I graduated HS. They know what they're doing too. Macy's will be fine, especially if you have gift cards.

If it seems like they're not listening or not getting what you want, either re-explain yourself or try somewhere else. But you should be ok.

Be sure, if you're buying from a department store, to get them to do the alterations. Preferably for free.

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