Sunday, August 03, 2008

OGI Post #3: Fashion Observations (Contributor)

NB: Anonymous contributor(s) to this post - we don't know anything about fashion and prefer our under-armor and new balances, thanks.

We briefly covered some good fashion choices for OGI a few months ago, but limited discussion of the matter to footwear.  Today, we delve into the subject in some more detail with some do's and do not do's of the male sartorial for OGI week.  We (collective, editorial) don't know anything about female fashion, but if someone wants to pick up that ball and run with it (difficult given the shoes you have to wear) let us know, and we'll make it happen.

Now, without further ado, in a rough order of importance.

1) DO wear a decent belt.

I can't stress how awful it looks when I sa
w someone walking around grounds last year in a nice suit, tie, shoes, etc. and NO belt. The belt, somewhat literally, is holding your entire outfit together.  Obvious you're going to look just awful without one.  But for the 99.7% of people who already know that, here's something else to consider: chances are your belt is going to be as dark or darker than the rest of outfit (shoes, shirt), so it's going to "stand out" in the sense that no matter with whom you speak - especially during that handshake moment - your belt is going to get a glance.  

Two more points here.  First, you don't have to break the bank and get something super-flashy - just a nice belt that is the same size as your pants, and doesn't show any visible signs of tear will be fine.

Second, please, please, make sure your belt matches your shoes.  This may be the number one fashion-faux-pas; if you wear a black belt with brown shoes this again just lo
oks awful and is quite frankly on the same level of not wearing a belt in the first place!  It's not hard; brown shoes go with a brown belt, black shoes go with a black belt. We're also told that it's never a bad idea to make your watch strap match your belt/shoes. 

2) DO NOT DO use as OGIs as an opportunity to be avant-garde. 

You want to stand out, but you need to stand out by dressing conservatively and intelligently.  There is only one way do this: wearing a nice suit.  Anything else is incorrect. 

That said, we think a little variation is OK.  A light grey suit instead of the usual charcoal is on the boundary, but for people who can pull it off . . .  props. Similarly, while the white shirt is the default, other colors - conservative and matching (see below) can work just as well. 

On that note, let's jump back to shoes and belt again.  If you have black or near-black suit, it is *very* risky to wear anything but a black belt and black shoes with said suit.  While it might be possible to "pull-off" certain shades (insert variations of red-brown-etc here), it's a bit iffy (see right) and if you blow it you'll leave the nice man from Calwalader's Real Estate division wondering why, if you figured out how to get an A on your Torts exam, can you not figure out how to dress yourself? 

Finally we saw someone wear gym-socks with a suit once.  Please do not do this as it embarrasses us all. 

3) DO get a suit that actually fits you.

There's a myth that you need to spend a lot of 
money on a suit to make it look nice.  The veracity of this rumor, of course, depends on what you mean as a "lot".  (Hey, what's another $3-large between friends?)  You want to look professional, and you can do that quite nicely with an off-the-rack affair from Men's Warehouse for well under $400 and save the Brooks Brothers for . . . whenever you feel like spending that much money on clothes, we guess.

The key here is to get it adjusted so that it actually fits you.  This is really critical, especially if you've put on some weight since law school started (We know we have - USA! USA! USA!).  Take it back to get adjusted again.  Aside from the belt/shoes issues mentioned above, there's not much more awkward than watching someone walk around in a suit doesn't quite fit them.

While we're on the subject of suits, remember not to over-dry-clean; if you followed the advice above and got the Men's Warehouse-price-line type, then over-dry-cleaning will KILL your suit.  Better just get it pressed when necessary.  

4) DO Match

We're talking tie/suit/shirt combos here people.   Solid white shirts are a no-brainer, as most ties can go with white.  If you wear a different color shirt (permissible and even desirable if done right in our opinion), be SURE that your tie matches.  As mentioned above this is not a time to be - errm - ironical.  If you're not sure if something matches, it probably don't.  Or, in the alternative, make friends with a girl and ask her.  They usually have a good grip on thse things. 

5) DO NOT DO Wear Dirty Clothes

If you pick up a stain on someone's shirt, chances are other people will to - including your interviewer.  What to do hear: get a (white, for matching ease above) shirt washed and pressed and a nice tie to boot and keep it on a hanger in your locker.  That way, when the gunner with the huge back-pack knocks into at the line at Greenberries, you'll be prepared. 

Make sure all your shirts that you wear are pressed.  Don't over-starch --- telling the people at Millmont cleaners that you want *light* starch is usually the best bet. 

6) DO NOT DO Wear Your Backpack to the Interview

As a general rule, backpacks and suits do
not go together, especially the bulky Swiss / Northface / Targus apparatuses that everyone uses in law school these days.  If you bring it to school, ditch it in your locker or somewhere else.  Ideally, you should just show up with a portfolio (which should contain everything you need for the interview: writing sample, references, transcript, extra resumes, as well as a pad of paper and pen for taking notes).  Should you need more, get a brief case.  Even the dealies that Westlaw gives out are far better than a backpack. 

There's other obvious stuff (haircut, shaving, teeth-brushing), but we're not going to insult anyone's intelligence by getting into it.  Let us know if there's anything super important that needs to be added.

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