Branding Yourself at Meet the Firms

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Every year, La Sierra University hosts a Meet the Firms Night, an event where business and students get to interact and develop their networks.  Unfortunately, people come to the event wearing the most basic corporate attire, students and businesses included.  However, there were some individuals who stood out to me among the sea of boring black suits. Kudos to these guys for being able to look stylish and professional, as they handed out resumes for potential jobs or advertised their business to the people in attendance.

 Dimitri

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Dimitri shows us a great and simple way to set yourself apart from the competition.  From afar, it looks like he’s wearing a simple ensemble:  a grey/brown suit, blue OCBD, and purple tie.  However, once you get closer, you get to see that he’s actually wearing a micro-houndstooth suit.  Follow Dimitri’s lead and leave your plain suits at home.

Branden

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If you are going to wear a plain suit, you’ve gotta get the details right.  Check out Brandon’s fit:  he’s got a striped semi-spread shirt and a polka-dot pocket square.  He’s majoring in Finance, and you don’t need to be flashy in that industry.  Brandon keeps his outfit classic with just a small touch of personality.  Perfectly done.

Nick 
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A dark blue shirt is one of the best alternatives to the two main corporate shirts:  white button down and light blue OCBD.  Those two shirts are classic, but don’t forget that other colors were made by God to help us change it up every once in a while.  Great job Nick!

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Everyone, meet Wilson! He’s only a year into college and he’s already making good money working for the Los Angeles Auditor-Controller’s office! Even though he’s got a plain suit, his suit beats all others.  Why?  because it’s Suit Supply.  It’s got gorgeous wide notch-lapels and a great birdseye fabric.  When you go plain, you have two options:  wear a cool shirt/tie or get some texture. I hope all of you Accounting majors talked to him!

Now its time for the Heavy Hitters. 

Michael 

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Here we have Michael from Indochino.  For those of you who don’t know, Indochino is custom menswear company!  If you ever have trouble finding clothes off the rack, like Raj or even Jon Hwang, the best way to go is custom made.  This company uses online measurements to create a suit just for you, fitted to your exact body type.  If you’re iffy about using online measurements, they’ve recently opened up showrooms where you can actually go in person and get fitted!  They even have some fabrics that are showroom exclusive.
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Now Michael was one of the coolest guys at the event.  He clearly has  a passion for menswear and someday dreams of opening up his own line!  You can tell just by his outfit that he’s in the game:  boots with chinos, grey blazer, Custom spread collar shirt (from Indochino), floral tie, and a dandy lapel flower.  Dressing up isn’t always about looking corporate!

Scott 
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Almost all of the nights Heavy Hitters went with separates instead of a full suit.  Here, Scott pairs his peak lapel suit jacket with some maroon pants. Following Nick’s lead, he dons an indigo blue OCDB with a red striped tie.  Personally, I would’ve picked a shirt with a longer collar to accommodate a tie, but no one its a minor problem in an otherwise great outfit.  Nothing cooler than an accountant with great personal style!
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Johnson 

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Johnson is showing us the importance of custom clothing.  Almost everything he’s got on is custom.  Let’s first explore the jacket.  It’s cut modern, being slim fit and hemmed to end right about the crotch of the pant.  I suggested that he get some wide peaks and brown buttons and Johnson took my advice! His lapels are 3.5″ wide and the brown buttons match fantastically with the blue of the suit.  You know what else looks great with a blue suit?  A floral tie.  This one is actually mine and is from a great store called Bull+Moose.  They’ve got all sorts of awesome ties to change up your suit game.

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Custom pants are also the only way to make your ass look great.  Off the rack suits are mass produced, so why not get something made specifically for you?
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Lastly, let’s check out his shoes!  Wondering why they look so different from normal shoes? They’re not wingtips or captoes, they’re plain toe.  You don’t see these types very often, but they’re pretty cool.  If you want a shoe to last you a lifetime, save up for Allen Edmonds.  They’re pretty pricey, but you can always take them in to be resoled so you can wear them forever!

Jon 

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Here’s Jon, looking like Elon Musk at his desk.  He’s got the true entrepreneur uniform, wearing sneakers and a henley with his suit.  The motto of his company is “branding in motion” and Jon himself is doing just that:   his outfit has the same colors as his logo!  With this ensemble, he’s showing us that he’s a non-traditional CEO and he just wants to be himself.  Not many businesses let you wear whatever you want, so if fashion is important to you just be your own boss!

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Tim 

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Let’s bring back the separates.  Just like Jon and I, Tim’s a fellow creative.  He’s not down for wearing corporate suits and ties but rather prefers to dressing to exude his personality.  I call this one “Sam Smith” inspired, since he’s rocking the “air tie”.  Not many people can rock that look, but Tim does it exceedingly well.  If you’re ever thinking about leaving the top button fastened, make sure it’s a patterned shirt.  I think that’s the only way it can truly be done well.

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Let’s rock those double monks.  They might be #menswear, but they look so much cooler than normal lace-ups.  Guys who are into fashion might hype it up, but they’re still “too young” for the corporate world.  Why not stand out and wear these bad boys?

Ethan 

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Let me tell you guys something about myself.  I recently graduated with a bachelor’s in accounting.  I still attended Meet the Firms, but I was always stressed out.  I went corporate, wearing a dark suit, white shirt, and black tie.  It was a boring outfit, but I felt that I had to always keep myself toned down because you don’t want to dress “too loudly” in the corporate world.  Now that I’ve found marketing, I decided to change things up.  I’m wearing what I actually want to wear and it gave me confidence.  No longer was I trying to make an impression at each CPA firm.  I was making connections, talking about style, sharing my passions, and branding myself.  It was the most fun I’ve had at any business social event. But enough about my personal thoughts, lets get down to the outfit.

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You guys who are into fashion or follow designers know for a fact that the double breasted is back.  Unfortunately, corporate guys are still averse to this design that has been around for more than 100 years.  That’s why this jacket is one of my favorites.  It harkens back to an older, classier era yet is modern cut (like Johnson’s) with some giant, upturned lapels and gunmetal buttons.  I don’t think it’s a true DB unless the lapels cover a part of the breast pocket.

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This whole outfit was about mixing patterns and textures.  My shirt is 1970s’ vintage with a sharp spearpoint collar and a feather design; my jacket is a wool-linen blend, which is soft and textury; my pants are window-pane; and my tie is a silk knit.  Sure its a dandy outfit, but this was the first time I actually felt like myself.  Hell, I even put on a collar bar (which i normally reserve for full vintage outfits).

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Finished off the outfit by matching with Tim and putting on my own pair of double monks.  They’re pretty creased, but the best way to lessen that effect is to put shoe trees in them whenever they’re not on your feet.  Shoe Trees soak up the odor of your foot and help the shoe keep shape!

I hope you enjoyed this feature!  The main lesson to take away from all of this is that you should use your clothes to show off your personality and stand out, even in business.  You might have heard the Tom Ford quote “dressing well is a form of good manners” and its a great mantra to live by.  While fashion and style might not be your deepest passions, you can definitely see the guys at the top of the post who are dressed simply and professionally without being “boring” or “basic”.

You don’t have to dress with crazy patterns, go sockless, or rock the “air tie”, but at least do something more than being cookie-cutter corporate.  If you believe that you’re an individual with a separate personality and unique aspirations, then show it in how you dress! Take a page from the guys in the feature and change up your corporate wardrobe a bit! That might start with getting a plain suit with texture like Wilson or joining Johnson and wearing a fun tie. A little personality in style will only help you ace that interview. That and an awesome resume with diverse experience and great references.  I can’t help with that, but let me help with the one thing I can:  the clothes.  Don’t be a part of the corporate masses; take a chance and stand out with your suits.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.  

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Ethan W., Tim M., and Jon H. 

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