Suit for [medical] residency interviews

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jpa
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Suit for [medical] residency interviews

Post by jpa » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:56 pm

I've heard to wear navy or charcoal. All of the different brands/options are more overwhelming than studying for boards. It's the biggest interview of my life, where do you guys recommend I get a suit? I'm thinking Dillards/Nordstrom/J Crew/etc....preferring in the $500 range.

123
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by 123 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:05 pm

Nordstrom. Check out a couple and go with the one that has the largest selection. The size of their suit department has dramatically decreased in the last 10 - 15 years. They used to have tailors in most local stores, don't know if there is still enough suit business to support that.

I have always been amused that most suit places have standby pairs of dress shoes for use by customers while getting a suit fitted. Everyone wears athletic shoes almost everywhere these days.
Last edited by 123 on Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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AdmiralSnackbar
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by AdmiralSnackbar » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:15 pm

I imagine residency interviews are relatively conservative affairs, which your two color choices fit into nicely. I think a high-quality navy suit is a good way to start your interviewing wardrobe. It is extremely versatile in terms of colors of shirts, ties, and shoes.

As for buying a suit, $500 should get you a decent off-the-rack suit. The bigger department stores also run sales, too. I would suggest going to Nordstroms or Dillards over J.Crew or Banana Republic. You will have more variety in brands, and every brand fits differently. What's more important than brand is the fit of the suit. Here is a good article that explains things pretty well:

http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/09/2 ... it-visual/

My preference is for classic styling, 100% wool, 2-button jacket, plain front pants. If you get something too trendy, i.e., skinny legs, skinny lapels, etc., you may find it out of fashion in a few years. Simple is best. Just get that fit right.

When you go to the store, bring a dress shirt, dress shoes, and even the belt you will wear with the pants. This will give you a more realistic idea of how the suit fits. Be ready to try on a bunch of different brands, and bring someone whose opinion you trust.

I suppose this wouldn't be a true boglehead post without some money saving tips, so here are ones that I've used. Once I find a brand and fit that I like, I take a picture of the tag and google it to see if I can find a better online deal. The downside is that you have to take it to a tailor on your own, as opposed to the store doing it for you. Second tip I've used is to go to Nordstrom's Rack or Saks Off Fifth, which have high quality suits for big discounts. If you go this route, you should know that you won't get much advice from the sales staff.

Good luck!

rikki
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by rikki » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:27 pm

I have been an interviewer for incoming residents dozens of times in the past at an academic institution. I can tell you that if your suit fits you well (get it tailored properly) and is one of the two conservative colors you mention, it is MUCH less important than you might think. Interviewers write their evaluations based on how articulate you are, your enthusiasm, and your possible future in research. I hope I was not the only faculty member to not pay attention to the suit!

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by staythecourse » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:27 pm

Doctor here.

Doesn't really matter. Just don't stand out, i.e. attract attention. You will soon learn doctors and healthcare folks in hospitals are NOT the most fashion forward. Private practice may or may not be different, but hospital folks are not.

You will be judged based on your qualifications and personality. Your suit has nothing to do with it.

Good luck.

p.s. I wore some old suit laying around and ended up training at Harvard (BWH).
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by mouses » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:32 pm

rikki wrote:I have been an interviewer for incoming residents dozens of times in the past at an academic institution. I can tell you that if your suit fits you well (get it tailored properly) and is one of the two conservative colors you mention, it is MUCH less important than you might think. Interviewers write their evaluations based on how articulate you are, your enthusiasm, and your possible future in research. I hope I was not the only faculty member to not pay attention to the suit!
And here I thought he was applying for U.S. residency status.

mega317
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by mega317 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:33 pm

I interview residency candidates and was typing the same thing while the last two posts went up. No one cares. What specialty? Maybe neuroradiologists care or something.
You didn't ask for other advice so I won't give it, but there are dozens of more important factors.

DrDrXanderLi
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by DrDrXanderLi » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:42 pm

AdmiralSnackbar wrote: My preference is for classic styling, 100% wool, 2-button jacket, plain front pants. If you get something too trendy, i.e., skinny legs, skinny lapels, etc., you may find it out of fashion in a few years. Simple is best. Just get that fit right.

When you go to the store, bring a dress shirt, dress shoes, and even the belt you will wear with the pants. This will give you a more realistic idea of how the suit fits. Be ready to try on a bunch of different brands, and bring someone whose opinion you trust.
+1

Charcoal or navy, flat front pants, two-button, notch lapel. You want to appear mature, so this is not the time for pieces of flair/character. Solid color shirt + pattern tie, or vice versa.

For brands,
if you have time: Indochino or Suitsupply gives you the best bang for the buck (300-400/suit) otherwise, department stores, Men's WH or Jos A Banks are all fine... J.Crew/Banana Republic will work, but go with the standard fit, not the skinny/slim cut (unless you are pretty slim yourself)...

Fit >>>>> Brands.

What needs to fit right off the back: shoulders width lines up naturally, length of the jacket, enough room in the seat and knees.

What will usually need to be fixed unless you're lucky or it's made-to-measure: length of sleeves, bring in the waist of jacket, length of pants, +/- adjust the waist of the pants in or out. (This can cost 50-100, but it's worth it.)

Whatever else, you want to feel comfortable and confident. If you don't, say something to the salesperson/tailor.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by neurosphere » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:44 pm

jpa wrote:I've heard to wear navy or charcoal. All of the different brands/options are more overwhelming than studying for boards. It's the biggest interview of my life, where do you guys recommend I get a suit? I'm thinking Dillards/Nordstrom/J Crew/etc....preferring in the $500 range.
Wow, it seems there are lots of people on BH who interview residents! I was an associate residency program director for 3 years. Personally, I never gave a second thought to what people wore. That said, anything generic/basic/conservative is preferred. Don't stress out about this.

If you don't already have an appropriate suit already, going with navy/charcoal is a good idea simply because it's a suit you could wear again just about anywhere.

At one of my interviews I had a traditional suit, but wore a somewhat unusual overcoat (it was cold). Those who interviewed with me and also attended my program remembered me because of the overcoat. That was either a GOOD thing, or a BAD thing. I don't know. I just know I stood out.

NS

P.S. When I interviewed for a particular MD/PHD program, my clothes didn't make a connecting flight, and I interviewed the entire next day in jeans, white tennis shoes, and a rubgy top. No one cared, I got in, and accepted that program. The 25 other kids interviewing that day felt SO bad for me. I think they were simply projecting their stress and uncertainty onto me. :)
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camden
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by camden » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:53 pm

Yet another long time residency interviewer here, echoing the previous comments. Don't obsess about it, because no one really cares or will remember what you wore, unless it is off-the-wall strange.

123
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by 123 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:07 pm

camden wrote:Don't obsess about it, because no one really cares or will remember what you wore, unless it is off-the-wall strange.
This is the standard you want to achieve. Well-fitting and classic clothing that no one will remember and which doesn't stand out. Such clothing leaves behind an impression that the wearer was well dressed and nothing more. Sometimes hard to achieve.
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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:16 pm

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the medical siblinghood.

That said, I've had high-stakes interviews, and I've conducted them. My opinion is a good suit won't get you an offer, but a bad enough one will prevent it.

Your color choices are fine. If you're interviewing in the Washington-New York-Boston corridor charcoal gray will be better, and in much of the rest of the US blue is probably preferable, but there must be local standards I don't know about. In any case, either will be a good color.

At around $500 you can get a pretty good one. You want all-wool, unless you're allergic, and you want it professionally fitted.

One time, just before a high-stakes interview when I clearly didn't have a good enough suit that still fit me, I went to the store (don't worry about which one it was), and told the suit salesperson I had an interview coming up, who it was with, what it was for, where the job was (located far away), the impression I wanted to make, and how much I was prepared to spend, and asked for suggestions. He presented two or three options, and I chose the one I liked the best.

Then, a few days later when I went to pick up the altered suit, I went to the shirt and tie counter, explained all the same things, showed what the suit looked like, and again asked for suggestions. I have my areas of expertise, and I'm sort of OK in terms of clothing but why not ask somebody who lives and breathes it?

I landed the job, not because of the suit, but I made sure the suit and shirt and tie didn't get in my way.

PJW

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by HopHunter » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:17 pm

+1 for well fitting, classic colors that don't stand out. I would endorse that getting well fitting dress shirt is equally important.

Would also say somewhat specialty specific. I am an EM chief resident and do a lot of interviews, most of the academic faculty and myself are often in scrubs or casual wear ourselves.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by climber2020 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:52 pm

I'm in agreement with all the above. I did some residency interviews back in the day. From a fashion standpoint, just don't stand out and you'll be fine. You don't need to wear a super expensive suit. No one cares.

GUMD
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by GUMD » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:09 pm

ctshirts.com

London based shirtmaker that has amazing suits for about $300 (google a coupon and usually you can find a 20% off with free shipping). 6-month return policy, no questions asked. I have a charcoal and navy suit from them

You have to know your size though and you need time as it will take about 5 days to make it across the atlantic.

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seersucker
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by seersucker » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:10 pm

Life is too short to look like a schlub. Get yourself a big boy suit at Brooks Brothers.

obgraham
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by obgraham » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:56 pm

This is a real "sign of the times".

Half our working folks think it's just fine to show up for office work in a t-shirt, cargos, and reasonably clean sneakers. So when they look at a bit more staid workplace they don't know what to do.

I'm with the rest. Nobody at a residency interview will care. They all know you're pretty much broke anyway. Coat--tie--nice shirt--clean pants and call it done. And try to cover the most obvious tats.

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obafgkm
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by obafgkm » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:05 pm

It seems the assumption is that the original poster (OP) is a man. Would the answers be different if the OP was a woman?

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dphmd
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by dphmd » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:20 pm

Make sure you pay for good-quality material.You will probably have to travel for some of your interviews, and high quality wool will hang out a lot better without having to be ironed or steamed in your hotel room. Lower quality material will crumple and crease.

That said, you do not have to buy Armani. There are solid brands in the $500 range, but follow the above advice for Nordstrom.

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climber2020
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by climber2020 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:21 pm

obafgkm wrote:It seems the assumption is that the original poster (OP) is a man. Would the answers be different if the OP was a woman?
No.

DrDrXanderLi
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by DrDrXanderLi » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:56 pm

obafgkm wrote:It seems the assumption is that the original poster (OP) is a man. Would the answers be different if the OP was a woman?
Two physician household: Conservative suits for women are tough to find reliably. Your best bets are likely:

Ann Taylor
Banana Republic
J. Crew
Brooks Brothers
Nordstrom

PFInterest
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by PFInterest » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:59 pm

Don't over think it. Macy's, good luck.

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badbreath
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by badbreath » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:04 pm

+1

Charcoal or navy, flat front pants, two-button, notch lapel. You want to appear mature, so this is not the time for pieces of flair/character. Solid color shirt + pattern tie, or vice versa.
I would add black you then can use it for funerals and weddings.
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lernd
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by lernd » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:05 pm

jpa wrote:I've heard to wear navy or charcoal. All of the different brands/options are more overwhelming than studying for boards. It's the biggest interview of my life, where do you guys recommend I get a suit? I'm thinking Dillards/Nordstrom/J Crew/etc....preferring in the $500 range.
Make sure the suit (and shirts) are wrinkle resistant, the interview trail can be lengthy...

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by Carter3 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:13 pm

badbreath wrote:
+1

Charcoal or navy, flat front pants, two-button, notch lapel. You want to appear mature, so this is not the time for pieces of flair/character. Solid color shirt + pattern tie, or vice versa.
I would add black you then can use it for funerals and weddings.
Don't do black. Navy or charcoal is the way to go. I personally think $500 is too much but it's been a while since I've bought a suit. When I interview residents and fellows I don't notice the suit unless they wear something wacky... believe me some do. Go to Men's Wearhouse. If you are a woman I don't know where you should go but colors remain the same and don't stand out with your appearance. Skirt below the knee, blouse not cut too short. Remain conservative.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:11 pm

Wear a suit. One without holes. That's good enough. Seriously. Don't spend a bundle, you're going to need that money for something else.
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by cantos » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:15 pm

jpa wrote:I've heard to wear navy or charcoal. All of the different brands/options are more overwhelming than studying for boards. It's the biggest interview of my life, where do you guys recommend I get a suit? I'm thinking Dillards/Nordstrom/J Crew/etc....preferring in the $500 range.
You don't need a "quality" suit - you need a suit that fits you. Any suit in the $500 range will fit minimum quality standards - fit is a different story. I'd start at J Crew for an average person's updated professional's standard suit (I love their suits).

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by PhysicianOnFIRE » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:17 pm

I got a suit for medical school interviews at Men's Wearhouse in 1997.

Four years later, the same charcoal / black suit made the rounds in residency interviews.

Four years after that, I wore it a few times for job interviews. It's been a few years since I've busted it out, but after 20 years, it still gets the job done.

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sid hartha
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by sid hartha » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:36 am

badbreath wrote:
+1

Charcoal or navy, flat front pants, two-button, notch lapel. You want to appear mature, so this is not the time for pieces of flair/character. Solid color shirt + pattern tie, or vice versa.
I would add black you then can use it for funerals and weddings.
I would say no one other than limo drivers, bouncers and undertakers need to own a black suit. Navy or Charcoal is the way to go for most people.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by lightheir » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:27 am

Good advice from the above.

I would again, reinforce the following important guidelines:

1. Doctors are conservative. Even if they personally aren't, they understand how important it is for the public it is to perceive them as such. So do Not choose nonstandard suit colors or design (like a white canvas suit, even if it's an outstanding one.)

2. Don't go cheap on the suit. Contrary to what everyone will SAY ("the outfit doesn't matter, it's the person that does"), wearing a cheap suit instantly puts you at a signficant disadvantage. Don't trust your self judgment to eyeball your $150 suit and conclude "it's just as good" - it's not, and it's the tiny details that count. Your interviewers WILL notice, especially subconsciously, and like it or not it will be reflected in your eval. I would say $500-$1000 is a good target price, and honestly I wouldn't blame you if you took it even to double that.

3. Don't forget to spend the money as well on excellent shoes and tie. The shoes are just as important as the suit. Get shoes in the same class/price as your suit, not too ostentatious. A $100+ tie is worth it in this situation.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by GUMD » Wed Jun 07, 2017 9:30 am

$500-$1000 is a good target price, and honestly I wouldn't blame you if you took it even to double that.
I would say that you can get a suit that looks every bit as good as a $1000 suit for $320 at ctshirts.com. seriously.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by deanbrew » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:06 am

lightheir wrote:A $100+ tie is worth it in this situation.
There is such a thing? A $100 tie? Are the silk worms fed champagne and caviar?

I have no experience in the medical field, so I probably shouldn't comment, but a thousand dollar suit and hundred dollar tie seem like overkill for someone who is just getting out of school, presumably with lots of debt, and looking for a residency.
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by blueman457 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:37 am

Good dark colored- fitted suit and relatively conservative tie (I'm assuming you're a male), and that's about it. I've gone to Men's Wearhouse, Macy's, and higher end as I've gone up the pay scale. Just make sure it gets fitted/tailored because you'll probably wear the suit to other occasions so you might as well get it done now.

Side note: absolutely pack your suit in your carry-on luggage! Non-negotiable!

Good Luck.

Blue Man

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by Rupert » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:44 am

climber2020 wrote:
obafgkm wrote:It seems the assumption is that the original poster (OP) is a man. Would the answers be different if the OP was a woman?
No.
No with respect to the advice to buy a conservative blue or charcoal suit. Yes with respect to getting the suit tailored. Most department stores don't offer tailoring for women. So a private tailor will be needed.

Note that women's suits do come in many more shapes than men's suits do, and finding a conservative suit, i.e., one without flounces, oddly-shaped buttons, or weird cuts of some sort, is much much harder for women. Women also must decide whether to wear a skirt or pants. I don't think it matters anymore which you choose. You should wear whichever option makes you feel most comfortable. J.Crew is a solid, safe choice. Many women find Brooks Brothers suits to be too boxy.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by lightheir » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:10 pm

deanbrew wrote:
lightheir wrote:A $100+ tie is worth it in this situation.
There is such a thing? A $100 tie? Are the silk worms fed champagne and caviar?

I have no experience in the medical field, so I probably shouldn't comment, but a thousand dollar suit and hundred dollar tie seem like overkill for someone who is just getting out of school, presumably with lots of debt, and looking for a residency.
Trust me - it is NOT overkill.

Is it possible to get a competitive residency without it? Sure, it is. People have been getting residency slots forever with cheap suits.

But if there's a time or place to put your absolute, 100+% best foot forward in appearance, THIS is the time for it. Particularly if you're applying to a competitive residency slot where you are at significant risk of not getting a slot altogether.

Lots of Brooks brothers ties are $100 range. Expensive, but not outlandish for high-end apparel.

Again, I'm quite aware that the difference between a $300 suit and $1000 is very small. But I'd argue that in this high-stakes series of interviews, you are better off investing the extra money - often times that very subtle improvement in fabric, cut, and design that is very hard to articulate, gives you a subtle plus as the interviewers realize you're very professionally dressed but can't put their finger on it on why they like your look more than the other standard suits in the room.

Also consider that the OP will likely use this suit for at least 3, if not 10 interviews. I used my pricey interview suit for 20 separate hospitals, and that was not unsual for competitive residency applicants. Spending $500-$1000 for a top-end suit that will be used this many times is pretty reasonable - even for the highly cash-strapped resident.

I'm as cheap as the next BHer and it took my wife some serious arm twisting for me to spend the cash - I was going to use my 4 yr old med school suit which still fit perfectly. However in retrospect, after going through the interview gauntlet, and seeing the range of suits and the immediate impression it makes as someone with a ok but inferior suit is standing next to someone with an excellent suit, it was clear that the investment was clearly worth it.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by Nowizard » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:34 pm

If you want the cachet of Nordstrom's, that is fine, of course, but you can often find brand name suits at T.J. Maxx, Marshall's or Burlington, not to mention Steinmart, that are the same quality and brand. If you are neatly dressed in a well-fitted, appropriately colored suit with a nice tie, any residency that would eliminate candidates based on a suit would be making a statement that would suggest not getting that residency was of benefit.

Tim

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by lightheir » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:59 pm

Nowizard wrote:If you want the cachet of Nordstrom's, that is fine, of course, but you can often find brand name suits at T.J. Maxx, Marshall's or Burlington, not to mention Steinmart, that are the same quality and brand. If you are neatly dressed in a well-fitted, appropriately colored suit with a nice tie, any residency that would eliminate candidates based on a suit would be making a statement that would suggest not getting that residency was of benefit.

Tim
No residency would ever remotely claim or ever state they use looks or suit quality to judge candidates.

The unfortunate reality is that looks count a LOT for interviews, and not just for medical interviews, but for all interviews.

The only time I would say otherwise is if these were truly blind interviews (some orchestras do blind auditions for this exact reason where they judge solely on the music and remove the confounding appearance factor.)

Also keep in mind that the discounters are selling those brand-name suits for a reason - because the brand name store couldn't move them. You're not going to find something like a top-end simple navy suit in normal sizes sold in those places because of this reason. I checked a lot of discounters out before I shopped for my suit and almost bought several, but my wife stopped me as they weren't 'perfect' for me. She was definitely right in retrospect.

This is coming from someone who otherwise avoids brand-name and luxury items like the plague, has no other high end clothing to speak of (I usually wear polyester shirts), and thinks clothing expenditures are usually a huge waste of money. I'm as far from a luxury-type consumer as you can imagine. This is the rare exception I would make without hesitation to spend the money on.

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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by somekevinguy » Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:53 pm

associate program director and 2 physician household

Echo much of what has been said above. Basically, the goal is to NOT stand out. If it fits reasonably well, no one cares if your suit or tie cost you an arm and a leg. I've worn $150-200 suits and $15 ties from TJ Maxx and made it to some of the more competitive medical school/residency/fellowships. From a BH standpoint, no need to spend a ton for a suit that will work (charcoal/navy, classic fit, 2 button).

Your focus and energy is definitely better spent on being prepared to answer questions, and perhaps more importantly, ask insightful questions.

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avenger
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by avenger » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:30 am

Another vote for it doesn't really matter. I pay little to no attention to that when I'm interviewing a candidate.

On the flip side, the residency program director in our program thinks its appropriate to wear fishnet stockings when we're interviewing residents.

:shock:

Good luck!
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by afan » Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:27 am

avenger wrote:
On the flip side, the residency program director in our program thinks its appropriate to wear fishnet stockings when we're interviewing residents.
Here I am going to assume the program director is a woman.

I agree with the advice:
Look conventional. Being a resident and practicing medicine are very much about being conservative, conforming, doing the usual thing. If your clothing stands out it is very much more likely to be a negative than a positive.

For that reason, I would wear a white or light blue solid shirt. Even stripes are a little more individual.

Do not look like you are wearing expensive clothing. Everyone knows you are a medical student. Most of the people interviewing you will have accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Many of them, even the fairly senior ones, will still be paying it off. If you appear to be spending a lot of money on clothing it could easily be a negative.

If you are wearing a standard dark suit the interviewers will note that, classify you as a conventional, rule-following conformist- all of which is good- and promptly ignore your clothing.

It may be the weather and the time of year that interviews take place, but most of the women wear suits with pants rather than dresses or suits with skirts. The women usually do not wear ties.

After getting in, residents will NEVER wear suits in the hospital. When you see a group of young people marching through the hospital in suits you know that they are the candidates. They are being lead around by a resident wearing scrubs.

For men who do not already have a suit, Mens Wearhouse is fine. Nordstrom Rack is fine. Any suit on sale at any department store is fine. If you want to be more aggressive on money saving and you think you can find a suitable tailor to do alterations, then buy something on ebay and have it altered to fit. Depending on what is involved, alterations could cost $100-200. Unless you are fairly familiar with what alterations may be needed, the cost of ebay + alterations could end up similar buying discount retail.

If you know your measurements then you can look on ebay for a suit with measurements that match yours and wear it without alteration. Allow yourself time in case the fit is not good enough and you do need it altered.

$100 tie is a complete waste of money. It will look EXACTLY like a $5 tie. It will differ only in the place where you bought it.

Fit does not matter nearly as much as some claim. We have plenty of residents and fellows who interviewed in suits that did not fit by the standards of tailors. By the time you are interviewing for residency there are lots of objective measures of your performance. You clothing just does not matter much. Look like a conservative conformist who has very little money and worry about something substantive.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

namekevaste
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by namekevaste » Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:55 am

I interview for residency and fellowship - agree that you should not worry too much or spend a lot. However, if you can, it is worthwhile to invest in a suit that has a "full canvas" or at least "half canvas" construction. These are in the $400+ range - but, will hold up well through dry cleaning. Look through nordstrom rack, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and other discount retailers since they have good deals on quality brands (Hickey Freeman, Armani etc). Conservatives colors (navy, or charcoal)& make sure it fits you well - take it to a tailor to make necessary alterations. Take the label off the sleeve - I have seen people show up for interviews and it looks tacky. Avoid anything loud that makes you stand out. Choose a solid white or light blue shirt. Wear a conservative tie that is either solid or stripe. Plain or cap toe shoes in black - not heavily brogued. If you want more specific suggestions, search the forums at styleforum or askandyaboutclothes.com for "what to wear to interviews". Another suggestion, pack an extra tie & shirt in case you spill coffee over yourself on the way to the interview (personal experience :D )

TrendyTightwad
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by TrendyTightwad » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:34 am

I'm a moderately fashion-conscious female who has interviewed residents, and to echo much of the advice already given, I'd say make sure your suit fits you well, especially since you're buying it close to your interviews. It doesn't have to be tailor-fit, but you do not want give the impression you are playing dress-up. You're presenting yourself as a whole package, and looking sloppy may cause the person speaking with you to discount what you're saying, even if it's just subconsciously. If you opt for a skirt or dress suit, make sure the length is appropriate even when you are sitting. This is probably what has raised my eyebrow the most. If you bring a bag, make sure it is also a conservative color that doesn't clash with your suit and is well-kept.

Wear comfortable shoes or get good insoles because you will be going on tours, sometimes multiple in the course of an interview day. I wore frumpy Aerosoles instead of high heels because no one wants to be the person who makes a group of 10-15 interviewees jam into an elevator because they can't/won't take the stairs.

If you aspire to match into residency at Mayo, you will be wearing suits in the hospital, so it may be worth it to shop BOGO sales.

livesoft
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by livesoft » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:45 am

And you will use the suit for other adult activities like funerals and weddings. I have had only one suit my entire adult life.
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Finance-MD
Posts: 312
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by Finance-MD » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:12 am

most important thing is that you have one.
You may be going to 5 interviews in different states in 5 days. I recommend not checking in your suit or it might not make i.
I was so nervous i might forget a belt or shoes or something that I literally wore my entire suit on the plane every time.
Because you could have a stretch with a lot of interviews in a short time, and you might damage/stain it, it may not be a bad idea to also pack an emergency suit... maybe an older one with a shirt, tie, socks, etc. that you stuff into a compression bag... keep in your handcarry and don't open unless an emergency.

I've definitely interviewed residents whose suits don't make the trip. It happens. One time we met the interviewee for the dinner the night before and found out. We literally had another resident go home and get a suit that would almost fit him.

The attendings and residents can easily overlook a travel mishap... however, if it makes you too self conscious to interview well if you're not wearing a suit, make sure to have a backup plan.

As for where to go,
I have nice suits from Zara and express men, usually bought on sale. I need a slim fit cut and these are the only places I can get suits that fit well off the rack, which saves a lot in tailoring. I haven't spent over $200 on a suit from either place and they get lots of compliments. Nordstrom rack has great deals on good suits like Calvin Klein, Hugo boss; however those tend not to fit me as well.

Get a few good white wrinkle free shirts, all the same, and a few ties.

afan
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by afan » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:05 pm

May seem obvious, but it is extremely important to be clean and neat. Interviewers may not be favorably impressed by an expensive suit and may be put off by it. But do not show up looking rumpled. Even if you have no iron shirts, iron the night before the interview.

Do not waste your money on full canvas construction. Suit snobs will claim they are inherently better and tell horror stories about bubbling in fused suits. I have fused suits, decades old, passed down from a previous generation with no bubbling. Save the snob wear for after you are out of training and have paid off your loans.

If you go eBay or thrift shop, then the full canvas construction suits that cost $2,000 new will be the same $20-100 as the fused suits. At that point you may as well get the fancy label.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

Gemini
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by Gemini » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:24 pm

You want a suit - not just a "residency interview" suit. A suit that you can wear once interviews are done.

Color: Navy. Shirt: Plain White or Sky Blue. Tie: Conservative color. Shoes: Black cap toe oxfords.

1. Get a suit from Suit Supply: http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/home - easy return/exchange policy if you have no stores in proximity

2. Shoes: Cap Toe Oxford, preferably black. http://www.allenedmonds.com/shoes/mens- ... SF270.html you can find these cheaper at other places

3. Shirt : can be from anywhere, but make sure collar fits and sleeve aren't too long or short

4. Socks: match the suit color

5. Tie: navy blue tie with a subtle pattern, or light blue tie or something subtle

6. Belt: match the shoes color - leather solid belt. Allen Edmonds has belts

7. Pocket Square: If you want, get a silk white pocket square and wear it folded presidential style. Only recommend this if you feel comfortable pulling this off, other skip it.

The above can be worn at many events. A navy, quality suit and cap toe oxfords are very versatile.

Most important thing is FIT. Don't let the pants sag onto the shoes with folds. Don't let the coat sleeves come onto your fingers. Proper fit is paramount.
Last edited by Gemini on Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

kehyler
Posts: 134
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Re: Suit for [medical] residency interviews

Post by kehyler » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:26 pm

Brooks brothers has their semi-annual sale on right now.

HIinvestor
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by HIinvestor » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:29 pm

PLEASE get your suit fitted with dress shoes and have the trousers hemmed properly. So many men (even respected professionals) have slacks that are way too long and it makes for a very sloppy and unprofessional look). I just returned from a conference and saw many of the physician researcher speakers who were addressing large international audiences wearing trousers that were too long and I found it extremely distracting. You can't properly get your suit properly fitted if you are not wearing the footwear you will be wearing with your suit (e.g. sports shoes vs dress shoes).

SleepKing
Posts: 232
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by SleepKing » Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:35 pm

A few thoughts on your residency interview appearance needs:

First, I agree with the sentiment that looking presentable DOES MATTER! You get one chance to make a first impression. If you show up in a well fitting and clean suit, tie, belt, and shoes, look your interviewer in the eyes and shake their hand while saying, "Hi, Dr. X, I'm jpa from medical school X and I'm excited about this opportunity to interview at your program" you have just made a fantastic first impression. Trust me, it matters and, surprisingly, many applicants don't do this. I've conducted interviews where poor first impressions (either inappropriate dress, poor eye contact, speaking mannerisms, etc...) doomed the candidate with an otherwise reasonable CV. Looks are part of that 'impression package' and a very EASY part to do without breaking the bank! Also, many schools offer 'dry run' interviews to help you develop positive interview habits. If your school doesn't, ask your friends or even a current resident/attending you get along with if they could give you a 'mock interview'. Sounds silly, but you are literally interviewing for a program spot that will determine your career trajectory! Do it right!

- I'd get 2 suits if you have a bunch of interviews (if you are only doing 4 or 5, one suit will do). One navy and one charcoal/dark. They will get dirty, hopelessly wrinkled, stuck at cleaners, etc. At your price point and slightly higher, they should be around for your job interviews in a few years, pending drastic body changes. No need to spend a ridiculous amount of money. You can buy pre-fitted to your body type from J.Crew or Banana. If you are hard to fit or want nicer material, go to Nordstrom or a local men's store. Tell them exactly what you want, avoid needless up sales, and ask if they could include/discount tailoring, etc... They will bargain.

- Get a couple wrinkle free, non-button collared dress shirts in colors that can compliment either suit (i personally do not like the button collars with suits). I believe JCrew, Banana, and Nordstrom all have available online or in store. The Nordstrom brand is great.

- Get 2 neck ties. When I interviewed I got them from TJ Maxx. Don't let the store talk you into $50-100 neckties! You can find all the colors, stripes, patterns, etc... at TJMAxx, Marhsall, Nordstrom rack, etc...

-Get a brown and black dress belt (reversible is great option!). Again, I got mine from TJMaxx and don't let the store talk you into $50-100 belts!

-Get a pair of black and brown-or-burgundy dress shoes. I recommend actually spending for quality (ie $150-200), as they will not only be better quality, but last though your residency rotations if you are required to be presentable (ie. non-scrub attire) and fellowship or job interviews. There is nothing worse than buying a cheap shoe and then realizing they are junk a month into your intern year (I know from experience!) Zappos and Nordstrom tend to have widest selection, good sales/prices, and free shipping and returns.

Good luck!

Sleepy

afan
Posts: 2915
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Re: Suit for residency interviews

Post by afan » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:30 pm

HIinvestor wrote:PLEASE get your suit fitted with dress shoes and have the trousers hemmed properly. So many men (even respected professionals) have slacks that are way too long and it makes for a very sloppy and unprofessional look). I just returned from a conference and saw many of the physician researcher speakers who were addressing large international audiences wearing trousers that were too long and I found it extremely distracting. You can't properly get your suit properly fitted if you are not wearing the footwear you will be wearing with your suit (e.g. sports shoes vs dress shoes).
You should know that there is a section of style that likes pants that not only break, but fold and droop.at the ankles. Some of those men may have simply neglected to have their pants hemmed. Others may have looked like that on purpose.

There is also a current style that goes with the very slim fits and has the pants stopping above the ankles.

There is no single right answer to how long pants should be.

But for interviews you don't want to be fashion forward. Sky blue is too intense a colo for a shirt. Pale is fine if you deviate from white.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

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