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So given that a gentleman is supposed to put his wallet/billfold in a suit breast pocket and NOT in the back pocket of the pants.... what exactly does one put in the back pockets of the pants?

Enquiring Toolers wanna know!

*RNTT

James Gutherson's picture

Nothing.

A gentlemans pants will not have back (or side) pockets. Some have a false pocket because people are so used to seeing them that the absence of pockets looks strange.

jhack's picture

Indeed. And those of us old enough to know what sciatica is never put anything in back pockets!

John

jhack's picture

...and...I'd like to throw in my 2 cents here and say that the podcast was right on. I once showed up in a suit and tie for an interview with a software startup. They expressed surprise, but not dismay, and I got the job (and am still with the company 5 years later).

You can't look too "corporate" for the interview, but you can sure look too casual.

John

WillDuke's picture

Not sure about sciatica, I'm no medical expert, but I do know a chiropractor once told me about the worst thing you can do for your back is a wallet. It basically twists your spine during all the time you're sitting. So, I carry a money clip now. :)

Back on topic, the town I work in quickly identifies "outsiders" by their suit. The term around here is "Ketchum casual." That being said, I have never minded anyone wearing a suit to an interview. I think most of my top performers did.

James Gutherson's picture

[quote="WillDuke"]

Back on topic, the town I work in quickly identifies "outsiders" by their suit. The term around here is "Ketchum casual." That being said, I have never minded anyone wearing a suit to an interview. I think most of my top performers did.[/quote]

I have just moved from working in a town of 6000 people where they ride horses into the middle of town and there are working hitching posts in the main street - to a town of 38000 where I can wear a tie and not be looked at like an alien. I wore a $1000+ suit to both interviews but I sure felt more comfortable about it in the last one. (PS I was born and bred in Sydney with over 2 million people so life in the country is a learning experience for me)

asteriskrntt1's picture

I have never seen pants devoid of rear and side pockets. How odd.

James Gutherson's picture

[quote="asteriskrntt1"]I have never seen pants devoid of rear and side pockets. How odd.[/quote]

The best tailors would never have a suit's line spoiled by things being put in a pocket - therfore no pocket or a false pocket.

(Please note that I am far from this world - but have observed it from the fringes. In days gone by I worked briefly for an English Lord 'of proper heritage')
A gentleman would have no need to carry money on him as his character would be well known and hard currency not required.

PS: Looking forward to the start of the Hockey season. I'm a San Jose fan so I don't get much chance to see the Leafs, but I enjoyed their playoff run last season.

davefleet's picture

Ah, the playoffs. As a Leafs fan, they're a dark, dark time for me. It's been a while...

asteriskrntt1's picture

LOL - I am actually from Winnipeg, now living in Toronto. I think we will see the Jets win a Stanley Cup before the Leafs win another. And that says something seeing as though we lost our franchise in 1996.

The goal of Leafs' management does not seem to be to win the Cup but to make a serious return on investment for the Pension Board.

thaGUma's picture

... in the UK we never have pockets in our pants. Thats what trousers are for.

Back pockets are not to be used. Period.

Chris

asteriskrntt1's picture

what is the difference between pants and trousers?

davefleet's picture

LOL - as a Brit living in Toronto, I have to give 'feedback' on this all the time!

Trousers are, well, trousers. Pants go under them (underwear).

I figure I've 'coached' about a hundred North Americans on this so far, so I have quite a few to go...

asteriskrntt1's picture

Oh of course... I know hundreds of people who have back and side pockets in their underwear (insert dripping sarcasm here). I often see them pulling their billfolds out from under their trousers..... good grief.... :roll:

James Gutherson's picture

[quote="davefleet"]LOL - as a Brit living in Toronto, I have to give 'feedback' on this all the time!

Trousers are, well, trousers. Pants go under them (underwear).

I figure I've 'coached' about a hundred North Americans on this so far, so I have quite a few to go...[/quote]

So what are underpants? Underwear for under your underwear?

Suits have suit pants, not suit trousers.

jhack's picture

England and America are two countries separated by a common language. --George Bernard Shaw

tcomeau's picture

A few months ago I interviewed for two internal positions.

This is a very casual place. I saw the Director in a suit once. It turned out he was testifying on The Hill later that day. There are a handful of people who "dress up" but most people, including the senior managers, are in jeans most of the time. A substantial number of people today are in shorts and t-shirts.

Still, I did play dress-up, and wore a suit both days I was interviewing. Since the second interview was on a Friday, I didn't wear the jacket to the interviews, but I kept the tie.

I also put on a tie on the days that I'm interviewing candidates, so that there isn't quite so much dissonance. Most candidates do show up in a suit, and only one guy "overdressed" for an interview, in french cuffs and braces, and he was one of the ones we hired.

I wear a tie some days anyway, so it's not completely out-of-pattern, but the basic rule is to dress "up a step" anyway. So I do.

tc>

TomW's picture

I'm curious... with the suit, are cuff links/French cuffs taking it too far? Is that more in the "no jewelry on men" category?

jhack's picture

That would depend on where you're interviewing. There are management consulting firms or investment banks where cufflinks would be appropriate. Otherwise, they would be too much.

If you aren't sure, you should not wear them.

John

maura's picture

Funny side-note:

The suit is important, but attention to detail is even more important. We are hiring right now, and only one candidate has worn a suit to the interview. However, it was obviously a brand new suit - as we were leaving the interview room and walking him out to the front desk, I noticed that the white threads that held the jacket's vents together (to preserve the line of the jacket while on the rack, I guess?) were still attached.

It took all I had not to chuckle out loud - and then I realized that in effect, I was staring at the candidate's rear end, and the embarrassment cured me. :oops:

WillDuke's picture

Maura,

Even given that it was obviously a new suit, and the candidate didn't know to cut the strings, did the suit make a positive impression? Will it bump that candidate a notch?

maura's picture

This particular candidate was already a "no" based on the interview itself, but given that we are hiring for a Quality Assurance/Test Lead position in a high stakes area, where the candidate's most important quality is an unrelenting attention to detail and ability to notice things that are amiss, the suit bumped him up a notch but the strings bumped him down two.

If I were hiring for a different position, and the interview itself was fabulous, it may not have mattered so much.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="TomW"]I'm curious... with the suit, are cuff links/French cuffs taking it too far? Is that more in the "no jewelry on men" category?[/quote]

I remember somebody (may not have been M&M) saying that cuffs and braces are for C-level interviews and above.

In many business environments that level of dress is so rare is probably seems like an affectation. Our candidate got away with it because he's a pretty elegant guy overall (great voice, very erect carriage) so it was entirely in character for him.

And I do also recall that guys are only supposed to wear jewelry that's ritually required. (Wedding rings, etc.) I think that's changing as the younger guys come in with more piercings, but even there I expect to see small, understated pieces. (No mini-Bat'leth hanging down onto your collar, please.)

tc>

James Gutherson's picture

I'm wearing a shirt with french cuff's right now and it's just a regular day. That's just the way this shirt is - nothing more, nothing less. I have far more expensive, better quality shirts that have regular cuffs. I don't find the cuffs a big distintion. I do however change the cufflinks I wear based on the context, but these ones are a simple pearl that is very discrete and I would wear them most days.

jhack's picture

I've not been to Orange, NSW, so I can't speak to customs there. Here in the northeastern US, what you wear everyday and what you wear to an interview are distinctly different.

Just trying to be clear. Cufflinks for interviews here in the US would be appropriate only for very specific (ie, high end) positions.

John

James Gutherson's picture

[quote="jhack"]I've not been to Orange, NSW, so I can't speak to customs there. Here in the northeastern US, what you wear everyday and what you wear to an interview are distinctly different.

Just trying to be clear. Cufflinks for interviews here in the US would be appropriate only for very specific (ie, high end) positions.

John[/quote]

Sure John - no problem.

BTW Orange is a farming/mining town of 39000 people in country New South Wales (the same state as Sydney), Australia. Standard dress here is jeans, boots, a bush shirt and our equivalent of a 10 gallon hat. :wink:

Mark's picture

Originally, folks, gentlemen's trousers had no pockets of any type. And, some suits today also have no pockets. The only way to get that today is to have them custom made. And, hand made clothes are made to fit beautifully, and there is usually little room in the pockets if there are pockets.

NOTHING in your trousers, gents.

And, geez, if you have a wallet that is more than half an inch thick, taking THAT out of your breast coat pocket is as bad as taking it out of your back pocket. Gentlemen carry billfolds, which allow your bills to be unfolded - less girth in the wallet.

In my case, I carry a card case that is only slightly larger than the size of a dollar bill folded in half (it doesn't fold, a similar one here: http://www.brooksbrothers.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=1&Sec...). It has the following in it: a drivers license, three credit cards (personal card, corporate debit, and corporate Amex), an American Airlines card (I can use it to check in and handle my drivers license less, which is VERY bad to lose on the road when one may need to rent a car), and 200-300 in cash in twenties in it. (That's 15 twenties, folded, NO PROBLEM)

It's small, and almost invisible in ANY pocket...but still only goes in the back pocket when I'm wearing jeans and flip flops.

Mark

Mark's picture

I'd stay away from French cuffs (or, in Britain, double cuffs) in all but a very few interviews. You CAN wear them, but in many places they are seen as a significant style move as well as just being dressy.

Whether more expensive or not, they are considered more formal than buttoned sleeves.

And since we're on the subject of shirts: men's dress shirts have sleeve lengths as well as collar sizes. I saw a younger person recently wearing (with his suit) the long sleeves that one might get at Abercrombie. This is NOT a dress shirt and I never recommend them with a suit.

Mark

pbrazil's picture

Hi,

As info, I listened to "What to wear" and went to  Men's Wearhouse to get a 3 button suit.  They told me they now carry mostly 2 button suits, not 3  button suits.  I bought the 2 button suits.

Pat

thaGUma's picture

Mark - double cuffs and cuff-links are essential once you get to a certain level. In a UK board room cuff-links are the norm in my experience. Wear them and get comfortable in them. It is more formal, and if you wear them comfortably it sends a positve signal. Three piece suits - wear with caution. You need to be good.

Business shirts as well as dress shirts have sleeve length and collar size - worth getting it right especially for my vertically challenged perspective.

I completely agree with the wallet size. I have two. One small in my suit, one larger in my case. (Helps if you get mugged). Some suit trousers also have secondary pockets that carry phones close to the body without spoiling the line. Get a mirror - check the bulges!

Pat - UK two or three buttons are perfectly acceptable. Three buttons has a slight 'retro' feel of the sixties. Either way, button up when standing.

I am surprised by the number or people who think simply wearing a tie and a suit is enough. Button up. Low slung ties, ties that stop half way up your stomach, 'funky' ties. sent the wrong signals.

Chris

urton's picture

When interviewing for CEO, is a black suit better than dark grey?

I remember Mark making the point that black is effectively too formal for a job interview, emphasizing that until recently it was only the CEO in most firms who would wear one.

But as it happens, I am interviewing for CEO (albeit of a very small company). Should I wear my black or dark grey suit?

Thanks,

Geoff

afmoffa's picture

 Other than funerals, weddings, awards ceremonies, etc., you only wear a black suit when you wish to indicate that you are the highest-ranking person in the room. I suppose if the CEO, chairman of the board, and president of the company are all meeting for lunch, they can all wear black suits. If the COO is traveling to a regional office, he/she can wear a black suit.

At your interview, you are the lowest-ranked person in the room (or at least you don't out-rank anyone), so I'd wear the grey suit.

Really, though, all interview clothing questions come down to this: will my clothes get more attention than my conduct? Any time you answer "yes" or "maybe" to that question, you're not dressed appropriately. You don't want your clothes to be an issue. Dressing like a Dick Tracy gangster is just as wrong as dressing like a tennis instructor. Cuff links, blue jeans, Manolo Blahniks, and Chuck Taylors are all equally wrong.

Mark's picture

Black is fine.  But gray is good too.

Either. 

Unless you want to follow my advice: blue suit, white shirt, red tie. (I'm just being funny - gray or black fine.)

Mark

brew752's picture

 

Bring a Brit I have never heard of undershirts before.

From my ignorance I presume they are not worn in the UK.

 

Phil

garyslinger's picture

 Phil - vests.  But with short sleeves.