Suit Shopping for the Entry-Level Individual

Hey Cats!

I hope everyone is enjoying the new year! This is my last week at home before I go back to school, and I have so much to do- doctor appointments, visiting my hair lady, hang out with my bestie before we’re flung across Texas again, and squeeze in a practice LSAT. I got anxiety just typing all of that! But my parents are back at work, so I won’t have anything to do during the day! I’m really excited for this semester, and I’m ready to be back with my roommates and in a routine.

Last week, my family and I went to Dallas to do some shopping. We went on January 1st since everything was on sale, and it was a madhouse. It’s all kind of a blur, but I vaguely remember everyone violating my personal space and saying “I hate people” a number of times. However, it was all worth it because we accomplished our goal of purchasing a suit for me, the soon-to-be adult.

This also gives me anxiety. (It seems we’re all learning a lot about my anxiety issues today…you’re welcome.) It’s really weird and unsettling to think that in a little less than a year, I’m going to have to find something productive to do with my life. I have no clue what I want to do with my life…can I just stay in college forever? Some days I want to be an attorney, some days I want to move to New York and work in PR, and some days I just want to lay down and take a nap. However, I know that I just have to deal with it, and I need to get an internship this summer, even if it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I convinced myself that I can’t go to the career fair at the business school if I’m not wearing a suit, because everyone that’s there has their life together and I super do not, so I should at least look like I do. And I’ll (hopefully) have job interviews next year, so I might as well get one.

This was kind of a stressful situation for me- I wanted to get something that said, “Hire me”, but I also wanted it to be flattering, but not too trendy, but not too stuffy, not too severe, but not too soft….you see the dilemma. Luckily, my sister and mom helped me A LOT, and I learned a lot through this process that I’m going to share to hopefully make your experience less painful.

1. A suit is an investment- be prepared to pay a pretty penny. 

I’m not saying run out and buy something Chanel, but if you want something that looks nice, it’s not going to be cheap. The saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is a saying I like to live by, and in this case, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you’re interviewing for”. (unless, of course, you’re interviewing for your dream job, then disregard my advice.) The way you present yourself is very important. Even if you’re still in college and interviewing for an internship, you want to look like someone who is professional and takes life seriously (even if you’re not). That being said, you should definitely make an effort to find a good deal- I got my suit at the Banana Republic Factory, and it was $140 total, each piece at least 40% off. Also, keep in mind alteration costs- those can add up!

2. Shop in the right department for your body type

This sounds very obvious, but somehow it wasn’t for me. At exactly five foot, I belong in the petites section, but I never shop there (I just buy cropped jeans and wear them as regular length-not a joke). Because of this, it really didn’t dawn on me to look in the petites section for suits. After a few stores, I tried on a suit from the petites section, and it was magical. I wasn’t drowning in pant puddles, and my hands actually stuck out of the arm holes. Since suits are supposed to have a tailored fit, it’s important to find one that is made for people like you. So if you’re a bit smaller, try the petites section, or if you’re a bit bigger, try the plus section. This will also cut down on alteration costs!

3. Be picky & don’t settle 

This kind of goes along with #2. Make sure you really like what you’re getting, and it’s the best possible option. I had 3 suits on hold at different stores before I ended up buying one. Since you are spending a lot, make sure you leave with something you will wear, knowing it’s the best thing you’ve found that day.

4. Try things on even if you’re not sure how it will look

I refused to try anything other than black, until I got desperate. I reluctantly tried on a navy pin-striped suit, thinking I would rather die than wear pin-stripes, but I ended up loving it (and buying it). Don’t count something out until you try it on!

5. Don’t forget, alterations are always an option

Unless you are incredibly blessed, no suit will fit you exactly. You will probably have to get the pants hemmed or the sleeves shortened, or the jacket taken in. If something fits almost perfectly, I would suggest buying it and getting it altered.

Hopefully this will help keep you sane on your suit-shopping adventure!

That’s all for meow!

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