As the fall job recruiting rush kicks into gear, Harvard seniors are beginning to stress—not just about the fonts on the resumes but also about whether their belts match their shoes.
In the middle of their job hunts, seniors are beginning to exchange their black sweatpants for black suits. And while some are fiddling between full and half Windsor knots for their power ties, others are rummaging through their jewelry boxes for the perfect necklace-earring combination. But these students say that their fashion choices aren’t inspired by Oscar de la Renta or Donatella. Instead, the Office of Career Services serves as their aesthetic guide.
“OCS sent us a ‘suit up’ email,” Bo Kyeong “Jennifer” Kwon ’13 said, describing the office’s email that gave pointers on how to dress for consulting interviews.
“We’re supposed to wear suits of darker colors,” said Chyi-Shin Shu ’13.
And most students do. “I go conservative,” Riju Agrawal ’13 said. “Black jacket, black shoes, white shirt.”
Belinda Pang ’13 strives for what she said is a “standard” look. Wearing a dark navy suit, a white blouse, and a pair of beige heels, Pang said her wardrobe was inspired by a professional aesthetic—what she said she would be expected to wear to the office.
But that’s not to say that all job candidates looked as if they came out of George Orwell’s ‘1984.’ Agrawal said he adds his own pizzazz by wearing a tie that is blue, his favorite color.
Kwon said that she chose a black suit, but that the material was accented with silver sparkles, adding a pop of personal flair to her outfit.Kwon added that students aren’t meant to throw on identical outfits for interviews for firms in Silicon Valley and interviews for McKinsey.
“You need to dress well, but you don’t necessarily have to wear a tie or jacket,” Kwon said. “Put on a nice shirt, but maybe undo a button or two.”
And for those looking at fashion jobs, all rules are rewritten. “If you want to be a fashion designer,” Kwon said, “you should add a little spice to your wardrobe.”