Herring Shoes

Staying true to yourself, even for an interview.

November 27, 2019

This blog has been written by one of our longest standing customers, Jerry Tharapos. His insight is invaluable.

Jerry

So, what is your favourite quote or anecdote about style?

Recently I came across a quote from the legendary and dapper, handsome Hollywood leading man Clark Gable, who said “a well tailored suit is to a woman what lingerie is to a man”. There is no doubt that he was correct, as he was never at a loose end when it came to having a beautiful woman by his side.

Is it really that simple? At a time when fast fashion and the sloppy hoody or sweat pant seems to be de rigueur, what drives us to counter the norm and wear a tailored suit, tie, hat or handmade shoes? We are all individuals and I am sure we all have many and different reasons. As for me, the French poet and playwright, Jean Cocteau said it best, “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.”

A man’s style says a lot about him. Colour, layers and texture speaks to depth and complexity. A bespoke commission suggests the desire to differentiate yourself from the norm and to make a statement about your individuality. There is definitely an eccentricity associated with cultivating and evolving a style that defines who you are.

But what about your workplace? how do you dress when you are in your 9 to 5 persona? Do your work colleagues view your style or eccentricity with contempt or do they enjoy it. My experience is both, but typically I have found that most welcome the eccentricity. Especially if you are good at what you do and get the results. Nonetheless, you will get the few (and some may even be your boss) that view you as self indulgent and in some cases ridiculous. My counter argument and defence, in these cases, is to be bold and back myself and say, “you like the results that I bring and change that I make but, it is those that are different that make the difference.”

Clearly it is easier to be yourself when you are in a familiar environment or workplace. But, how should you dress for a job interview? Recently, I have had to think about this. A few years ago, this was never an issue for consideration in a professional environment. In order to make a good impression, a suit and tie and beautifully kept shoes was the norm for an interview. This in not the case today. Few to no-one wears a tie any more and suits are also somewhat a thing of the past. In fact, even going to an interview unshaven appears to be the norm these days. 

To my horror, I have found myself having to go from wearing a 3 piece tailored suit to chinos and an open necked shirt. Only then did I get some traction with interviews. But, I did make sure I wore a waistcoat, braces and my favourite tan Herring country brogues. I got the job.

There is a lot written about what to wear at an interview. Simple tips are, be cognizant of the culture of the organisation and don’t be too dramatic with what you wear. Comply somewhat but be true to who you are. Think about how to differentiate yourself along the lines of your cultivated style. For me, that was, the waistcoat and Herring brogues.

I start my new job in a few days and I need to start thinking about my wardrobe for day one.