STORY BY MOLLY LAMOUREUX
Hard-earned cash is near and dear to a college student’s heart, especially for those of us who save up for a month so we can buy some Ramen and a Netflix subscription.
College is a time of transitioning between adolescence and adulthood, and we need to spend our money accordingly. It’s important for us to start focusing on the word “invest” as opposed to “spend.” Five dollars here, 20dollars there, and before you know it, you’ve spent $200 this month, just on stuff.
While some items are debatable when it comes to value, there is one thing that holds a consistent and special value above all else: the dress suit.
This is something that, if purchased in a correct fit and high quality, you will live in for the next 10 years, so it’s smart to invest as soon as possible.
The word “invest” doesn’t only apply to a dollar amount. You’re going to have to invest time into the purchase as well. It’s smart to research your options. Brand names and reviews from previous customers are just as important as (if not more important than) the price tag. It’s also not a bad idea to schedule a fitting if you’re going to purchase a custom-made suit. You can also buy a suit off the rack, but you’re going to have to make an appointment to get the fabric tailored to your body. A fitted shoulder and a perfect-length hem can be the deal breaker when it comes to getting the job you want.
According to a study by former UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian, “First impressions are formed in seven seconds. 38 percent of a first impression is based on inflection and tone of voice (how you say things), seven percent is based on what you actually say and a whopping 55 percent of a first impression comes from nonverbal cues. In short, more than half of every first impression is based on how you look!”
Look your best in a proper suit, and a potential employer will have no choice but to take you seriously. Before you know it, that expensive suit has paid for itself.
A great thing about having a nice suit is all the possibilities that come with it. Women, you’re going to be wearing this suit for interviews, office jobs and presentations. Men, you’ll be wearing your suit to these events too, but you’ll also be expected to wear your suit to weddings, funerals and other similar special occasions.
Aside from these specific events, difference pieces of the suit can be worn out to other places. Take your blazer, pair it with a nice T-shirt and a pair of jeans and you’re ready to go out on the town for the evening. Your dress pants or skirt will go very nicely with an oxford button down for more casual business occasions.
If you have the financial leeway, it’s also smart to invest in a nice pair of neutral dress shoes to wear with your suit. Men, invest in a few ties and a set of cufflinks. Women, find simplistic jewelry that compliments your choice of suit. Sterling silver studs or a 14-carat gold pendant won’t break your bank. The best part of all of this? These pieces go with everything. They also will always be in style, so the only time you have to replace something is due to damage or extreme wear.
You might be saying, “these are all great suggestions, but I have $17 dollars to my name and a lifetime’s supply of student loans.” Understandable. Take baby steps. Save for a year if you have to. Just keep in mind: It’s best to invest as soon as possible so you can start reaping the benefits of your suave ensemble. At this point in your life, expect to pay anywhere between $200-$1,000 for your suit (before all the accessories.) It’s all about how much you personally want to invest in your professional lifestyle and your appearance. Just remember: By the time you’re working that eight-hour day, you’ll still have the suit you bought back in college in your closet. Make it count.
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you. In the end, your suit should make you feel good. Your suit should make you appear put-together, responsible and serious about your personal and business affairs. You will exude a special confidence and sense of productivity or energy when wearing it. There are no downfalls to owning the right suit. Go out and start your research. There’s no better time than the present to look and feel your best.