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Interview attire

doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 18,381 Senior Member
edited November 2009 in Prep School Admissions
13 year old son will be interviewing next month. Only one school we are visiting requires a jacket/sportscoat as part of their school dress code. Son does not currently have one nor do I really want to buy one just for one interview. I believe in yankee frugality and he is growing a lot right now and it is unlikely that whatever we buy now would fit him much longer.

So, give me your honest opinion: My thought is to have him wear nice, pressed chinos/khakis, a nice button down shirt, silk tie, and if cold, a nice wool/cashmere blend v-neck or crew neck sweater.
Post edited by doschicos on

Replies to: Interview attire

  • siliconvalleymomsiliconvalleymom Registered User Posts: 4,461 Senior Member
    My opinion is that he will feel more comfortable matching the dress code.
    Can he borrow a sportscoat from a friend?
  • PrincipalVPrincipalV Registered User Posts: 950 Member
    You can buy a nice one for under 60 bucks--full coat with pants. I agree with siliconvalleymom, he will feel more comfortable in the dress coat, especially if the school asks for this.
  • neatoburritoneatoburrito Registered User Posts: 3,449 Senior Member
    Tell me about growing 13 y/o boys! I don't think my son would be recognized by anyone who met him last year.

    It's the feet that I can't keep up with! I thought that a big toe literally growing through the end of the shoe only happened in cartoons. Guess not....I've got a pair of New Balance sneakers for proof that it actually happens! So, I completely understand your not wanting to buy anything right now.

    Check the dress code carefully. I think a sweater can be substituted for a coat, or maybe I'm thinking of a turtle neck instead of shirt and tie? It really depends on how clothing effects your child, if at all. My son plans on wearing a coat and tie to all interviews, mainly because he really likes himself dressed up and it makes him feel more confident. But if your child will feel equally confident in a V-neck sweater instead of the coat, I doubt it will make or break any decision. I'm sure he'll look very handsome in either.

    If you're looking for cheap options, I'd check eBay. A beautiful navy cashmere blazer just came in the mail today for my son. It's perfect and I paid a fraction of what it would cost in a store.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 18,381 Senior Member
    Thanks for your opinions. Keep them coming.

    siliconvalleymom - I will look into the borrowing idea. neatoburrito - I will check ebay as well. Just need to figure out how it works! ;)

    He's a very confident kid so his comfort level is not my concern - he won't care. He's athletic and has great taste and looks good in clothes. Honestly, he'd be more uncomfortable wearing a jacket he didn't like. I don't mind spending $ on clothes that will get used but not for a one time deal.

    My concern is more - Will the school care though?
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,501 Senior Member
    I think your proposed attire would be fine. Sometimes schools send postcards in advance, though, calling attention to their dress code. If this school does that, I would take it as a strong signal that he'd feel more comfortable wearing a sport coat.

    You can also check out consignment shops. Churches sometimes run resale shops, which can also be good sources for coats.

    Borrowing a jacket from a friend is the most frugal solution. In a pinch, does your school have a drama department? Sometimes they have costumes on hand. I understand that you may not want anyone at your present school know that your son is interviewing. If so, Ebay or a consignment shop would be good bets.
  • PrincipalVPrincipalV Registered User Posts: 950 Member
    Chances are it won't hurt his application at all, especially if he doesn't have one. However, he may be more comfortable in a crowd of everyone else wearing suits and such.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 18,381 Senior Member
    "I understand that you may not want anyone at your present school know that your son is interviewing."

    Yes, periwinkle. That is another factor. We are doing this quietly. Some people may not be happy to learn he is considering going. It is a can of worms we'd rather open when and if the time comes. Also, I don't want him to feel any additional stress by applying in a fish bowl.
  • PeriwinklePeriwinkle Registered User Posts: 3,501 Senior Member
    (brainstorming) If I needed to find a jacket quickly, I'd ask my cousin, who has 3 boys. If you have a relative with slightly older male children, that might be a solution. The post office has their express mail "if it fits it ships" option. You could offer to pay postage both ways. If you add in the cost of dry cleaning the coat, however, then you're looking at a very small difference in cost to buying a decent used jacket.

    I do not think that it would materially affect his chances, though, if he were to go to his interview without a coat. If if were to harm his chances, then it would probably be a school with expensive expectations built into daily life.
  • KansasGirlKansasGirl Registered User Posts: 303 Junior Member
    Try Goodwill or a thrift shop! You'll be surprised at the quality you will find.
  • benevolent4thembenevolent4them Registered User Posts: 1,154 Senior Member
    I would highly recommend getting a jacket. I wore one last year for my interviews, and so did 95% of the other applicants. It's worth it.
  • mhmmmhmm Registered User Posts: 1,192 Senior Member
    If you wind up not wearing the blazer, do not wear dress shirt and tie. wear khaki/chino with dress shirt, no tie. Hopefully weather will cooperate and it will be cold so he can have a sweater on top of that. Also dont forget, do not wear sneakers with khakis and shirt. Ultimately remember that they look at your grades/personality more than your fashion sense.
  • WintersetWinterset Registered User Posts: 717 Member
    I do not believe it will affect how the admissions people view him or their decision, BUT it may make your son feel better and more relaxed if he 'fits in'. That is your call. If he is not used to a jacket and it will make him More nervous then do as you suggested (or actually like mhmn said, a shirt, a sweater and whatever fall coat he is comfortable with, not sneakers (and not white socks and dark shoes)).

    Most of all relax, don't worry about the clothes and let him focus on his own questions and concerns. Good luck. Let us know how it went.
  • MesmmasterMesmmaster Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    This is a great time to see if you really want to be at a school with values that are not the norm for your family.

    Call them up and tell them that neither your son or you own a sport jacket. If they give you a good response, buy the jacket from Goodwill and if it isn't a good response, take them off of your list. 8)

    I hope this isn't a boarding school and you are only looking at this school, because your choices for excellent day schools are limited.


    Do they require a sport jacket every day? If so, I doubt that you son, given the choice, would select that school.
  • interestedmom5interestedmom5 Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    The school won't care, especially if he's only 13 they will realize that he may not have the whole wardrobe yet...my son toured a lot of kids for his coat and tie school and at I've noticed on tour days that at least half of the younger ones didn't have a jacket. As has already been pointed out, schools requiring jackets often have some sort of workaround in the fine print of the dress code.
    IMHO a v-neck sweater and shirt and tie is an attractive combination,
This discussion has been closed.