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How to dress like a consultant... on the cheap

Posted by Khaled Kteily on in Networking & Reputation
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Every man should have a 'go-to' outfit (sorry, women... not exactly my area of specialty). And while Harvey Specter (above) looks like a million bucks, you actually want to go the other way. What every student needs - especially when you're recruiting - is a clean, simple, and professional combination of clothing 
that you can throw on at a moment's notice, without having to think about it. This is your go-to. 

And it doesn't have to break the bank, either. Below I outline how you can get this together on the cheap. Starting from the top...

1. Shirt (White, light blue) - $60-$100


Brooks Brothers non-iron shirts (get 'em in white or light blue). A consultant staple - these shirts will run you less than 100 bucks if you get them in-store, and I've found them on Amazon for under 60. Make sure you know your neck size and sleeve length - these will determine whether these fit you appropriately. You're almost definitely going to want the slim fit. 

The beauty of these shirts is in the non-iron. Running late? Throw them in the shower and turn the heat on full blast for a few minutes or just put them on - your body heat will unwrinkle them. 

You can also buy Banana Republic non-iron shirts. These run a bit cheaper in-store - register for Banana Republic's online coupons, and you will (seriously) get a couple of 30-50% coupons every week. 

2. Tie (Light blue, dark red, navy blue) - $50-$100

b2ap3_thumbnail_brooks-brothers-red-striped-tie_20130723-201604_1.jpgHere's where you can afford to show a little more personality. If you're wearing a white shirt, pretty much anything goes. Red, Yellow, Blue, you name it. This is also the best shirt with which to pair a tie that has a 'louder' design on it. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_brooks-brothers-blue-striped-tie.jpgWith a light blue shirt, stick to a navy blue tie. Look how nice and simple this striped navy blue tie is. And for just $45, too. Browse the tie selection (currently filtered to 'Blue') on the Brooks Brothers site if you're willing to spend closer to $80. 

You can get a bit more splashy with a tie - but remember, you want to be noticed for being clean and professional, not loud and noticeable. Your clients don't want you for your stunning sense of fashion; they want you because you're good at your job. 

3. Watch (black, brown, simple) - $100-$200


A man's only real accessory...not many people will notice a good watch. But those who do will appreciate it. If you're shopping on a budget, there a few decent brands that will look good without being loud: Skagen, Boss, and Nixon (among others). 

Skagen is a bit less formal, and is known for having more lightweight, durable watches. Check out the 'Steel Sandblasted Black Watch' for under $100, or the 'Titanium Black Dial Watch' for $85. 


Boss is a good go-to if you want a classic, professional look. They have a fairly wide variety of watches, some of which are pretty out there, so you'll want to focus on the simpler ones.

You can often pick them up for reasonable prices at an airport duty-free. If you like rectangular watches, the 'Hugo Boss Men's Rectangular Black Watch' is a good pick at $135. 


Nixon has a clean overall look and a good choice of straps and colours.

Check out the brown 'Sentry Leather Black Saddle' for $125. It has a few different options for watch face colours and straps, so take a look around. 

They've also got the 'Corporal SS', which has a black face with a black metal strap. It's a little different 

4. Belt (Black, brown) - $50-$75

b2ap3_thumbnail_banana-republic-reversible-belt.jpgI stick to the Banana Republic Black/Brown 'Reversible-Harness Belt', which you can get for $65 online. It's nice because it's good quality and will go with pretty much any suit. Flip it over to brown if you're wearing a navy blue or grey suit, otherwise stick to black.

Maybe I'm lazy but I actually have two of these (which I picked up during one of Banana Republic's frequent 50%-off sales) because it's good to know I have a backup in case anything happens to my original. 

5. Shoes (Black) - $150


Boss Chesterfield shoes - sleek, simple, and slip-on. 3 S's that are key to any good pair of shoes. They won't last you very long but hey, recruitment's only a few months.

They'll look good without standing out - and as a student, that's exactly what you should want. The under-$150 price tag doesn't hurt, either. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_TBNY-Parke-Penny-Loafers_20130723-204757_1.jpgIf you're willing to pay a little bit more ($375), then you can invest in a pair of To Boot New Yorks. I personally like the Parke Penny Loafers, which look nice in brown, and are slip-ons. 

I've actually found trouble finding shoes that are decent quality and below the $300 range, so if you do know of any, drop a note in the comments. 

So how much will all of this cost you? Approximately $400-$650



  • Ali Jul 30, 2013

    No pants?

  • Tani Aug 17, 2013

    No need. Your legs won't be within view during an interview. No need wasting money on something that the interviewer won't see.

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Guest Jun 16, 2019