The Shoe FitsLast week I talked about casual Fridays and menswear for interviews. The post seemed to spark some interest (both in the comments and via google) so I thought I would do another posting on clothing.
We all know that you generally wear a suit to an interview and for the most part people actually get that. However one area that men tend to really fall down is in the footwear department.
Often it seems that guys go out and buy a suit and completely forget about the shoes.
Gentlemen, take heed. Just because you are wearing black shoes does not mean you are dressed appropriately. Certain types of shoes are meant to be worn with a dress suit and all the rest just don't cut it.
The biggest mistake that most guys make is to wear loafers with a suit. Loafers are casual shoes. They are ok to wear on casual Fridays and can be worn with a sport coat and casual slacks. But under no circumstances should they be worn with a suit.
Personally I don't own a pair of loafers, I find them loathsome - as far as I'm concerned no one needs to see that much of my instep. And quite frankly I don't need to see that much of yours. Here's an easy way to keep from getting confused: If it doesn't have laces it doesn't go with a suit (well there is one exception).
Next big mistake I see is wearing a black "shoe" that is more like a black sneaker than a shoe.
You know those things that look like Reeboks or something? I know they are nice and soft and are very comfortable but they don't shine well and really detract from your overall look. The idea of a suit is to look sharp and these definitely don't look sharp.
Your shoes also shouldn't overwhelm your suit. I used to interview a lot of kids off campus and they often were guilty of wearing these black things with huge thick soles and big silver buckles. Guys, all of us tend to have big feet. Why do you need to make them look huge??
Finally your shoes shouldn't look dirty, scuffed or dull. Get them shined before your interview and carry a small piece of soft cloth in your overcoat pocket. Just before you walk into the office give your shoes a quick buff. They will look fantastic. You can also get one of those quick shine things but the shine tends to lose it's luster quite quickly and leaves a film on your shoes.
So what shoes should you wear with a suit. Here are the big three via Mens Health:
Wing-tip oxford. "Wing tips have a full brogue, which means they have an extra layer of leather protection over the entire surface of the shoe. Black wing tips go with
business clothing; brown go with dressy sportswear. Wing tips are less formal than plain-toes, but they're still very traditional. They look best with textured or heavy fabrics such as tweed or flannel."
Cap-toe oxford. "So named because of an extra layer of leather across the toes. The cap can be plain, or it can have perforated or other cut-out decorations. Cap-toes are the dressiest business shoes you can wear--and the most popular."
Plain-toe oxford. "The basic business lace-up. Plain-toed shoes have no extra lines, leather, frills, or decorations. The only visible stitching on the shoe is for reinforcing the eyelets on the upper. The look is appropriate for all business situations, but it works best with serious, dressy suits and fabrics."
Always buy cedar shoe trees for your shoes as well. Shoe trees suck the moisture out of the shoes after a long day covering your sweaty feet. This helps prolong the life of the shoes and as a bonus virtually eliminates odour. Shoe trees will run you about $30.00 .
Finally if you do buy a good pair of shoes don't wear them every day. Rotate your shoes so they don't wear out too quickly.