Answering the questions I never get asked: part 2

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Back at the beginning of last year (goodness me... so long?) I noted that the Google searches that lead people to my blog also occasionally suggest questions that people are curious about but my blog is failing to answer. Back then, I decided to answer a few that particularly interested me in this post, and I have decided to do the same again now. So here we go. These are all Google searches that have landed people on my blog.

Are brown brogues acceptable for an interview
Good question! I could write a whole post on interview clothes (and probably will soon) but, in answer to your specific question, I'd say it depends on the job and what you plan to wear them with. If you think the interview demands a business suit, and that's what you'll be wearing, then I would suggest that brown brogues are a risky choice. You might well disagree with restrictive rules about not wearing brown shoes with a suit and, if so, I'd say that on your first day at your new job you should feel free to flout convention and express your individuality. A job interview, however, is not the time - wear black Oxfords if you have them and, if you don't, then buy some.

That said, I increasingly don't wear suits to job interviews. I always used to, but the reality is that my profession simply doesn't expect or require it, and most 'interviews' now take the form of relatively informal chats before reaching a mutual agreement on a role. The key is showing that you can look presentable when needed, and that you respect the process and the interviewer, and I can achieve that with a smart jacket and chinos. Under those circumstances, well-polished brown brogues are absolutely ideal.

Can a black old top hat be refitted
Yes, within reason, although it may not be cheap. I would recommend Lock & Co.

Can I wear double breasted waistcoat with lounge suit
Oh definitely - I think this looks absolutely terrific. I assuming this means a waistcoat that matches the suit, though. Odd waistcoats with lounge suits are controversial enough without going overboard.

Can you wear a waistcoat that doesn't match
I actually seem to have loads of people Googling this or similar questions, such as 'can I wear a grey waistcoat with a blue suit' or 'can I wear a plain grey waistcoat with a grey checked suit'. Ok, so I do understand the temptation - you've realised that three-piece suits look unbelievably awesome and glamorous but, even now they're popular, relatively few cheaper stores sell them and, besides, you already have as many suits as you can afford, so can you pick up and odd waistcoat and use it?

You can, if you do it judiciously. I wrote a post some time ago about this, and I stand by my views. Nevertheless, it's a tough look to pull off well, and if you really want the full effect of a three-piece suit then there's no substitute for just biting the bullet and buying one.

Advice for artillery officer
Keep your head down and come home safe.