A Good Suit Will Help You Get A Job. A suit that makes you look great will boost your confidence, and starting your mornings feeling great is essential to outlasting Japanfs current economic conditions. The young business wear industry is undergoing a miniature renaissance; You can buy suits able to withstand your washing machine, breathable jackets designed to keep you dry during the summer, compression hosiery that improves blood circulation, and shirts that are both ring and wrinkle resistant.  These developments are as bewildering as they are exciting, and I found most of my peers leaving to details to the professionals, scheduling custom fittings at department stores or suit shops. I found it particularly hard to find solid answers to styling questions, as it seemed everybody had a different opinion. Choosing your suit can be as easy or hard as you want it to be, but whether you leave it up to a pro or go out shopping by yourself, it is good to keep the following in mind:


What are some points to cover when buying a suit?

@Stand out by blending in

@Pencil skirts make for good posture

@Buy one size up

@Cover wrists and knees

@Know what you want. No compromises no matter where you shop


Suit and Shirt Colors: Grey, Blue, or Black? Pink, Blue, or White?

@@Suits fall into these three color groups, which roughly correspond to Grey for the Apparel Industry, Blue for the Banking Sector, and Black for All General Companies. That said, unless you are aiming for a job in fashion I strongly recommend black suits with white suit shirts. Try to think of yourself as a flamingo in a sea of swans. That is, as a foreigner I would stray away from anything either than the conservative black and white because you are going to stand out as it is.

@@I remember seeing a strikingly beautiful white girl with silky strawberry red hair and grey eyes, wearing a four-button brown skirt suit with slightly puffed arm pads, waiting at the station platform for an elevator. She looked like something out of a Barneys window display. I guess if you can pull it off then go for it, but I would imagine most interviewers would find it distractingif mesmerizing.

@@I am quite tall and thus it was close to impossible to find a suit jacket that covered my wrists, or a skirt that covered my knees while I walked. But I found that in sticking to black and white it was easy to turn these problems into conversation. When asked by interviewers and recruiters what was hard about Job Hunting in Japan, saying I was worried by not finding suits accommodating my height received me smiles and compliments on my efforts. I am not sure I would have received the same feedback if I was wearing grey and baby blue.


Cuffs? Buttons? Pockets?

@@Two button suits are standardI find one button suits to be a bit baffling to the eye, but some girls can pull it off. I chose a three button suit because I felt it looked the best on me proportionally. Following the rulebook it is technically a faux pas to have your shirtsleeves poke out from under your suit, though it is acceptable for guys. Pockets should not be noticeable, and nothing should go in them (keep the factory threads there to remind yourself).


Slacks or Skirt?

@@Both are totally acceptable and equally worn. I think it boils down to what looks best on you. I would recommend high-waisted pencil skirts because they improve your posture, in that you are more conscious of how you walk or sit in chairs. Either way I suggest wearing compression tights to regulate blood circulation in your legs as you will be doing a lot of standing.


About Skirts

@@The standard is a pencil skirt that hits you at or slightly above the hipbone. Depending on your industry of choice, especially apparel, you may see girls wearing slightly flounced or a-line skirts. As a foreigner I would recommend straying away from anything either than the pencil skirt because you are going to stand out as it is.

@@The rule is that all skirts must hit at the kneecap, but if you go for pencil skirts I would strongly recommend ones that hit you slightly below the knee (covering your kneecaps), because they tend to ride up when you walk. At the suit store, make sure to walk down a long hallway and back to the mirror to check the gtrue lengthh of the skirt. Skirts above the knee look unprofessional. Ifve been told that there is something alluring about a foreigner adjusting her skirt while waiting at a crosswalk, but I would leave those fantasies at the door. Buy your skirts long.

@@Make sure that from a profile view that your backside does not make an overly exotic appearance. Take care that you have an inch and a half leeway in the waist (fitting both hands inside the front of your skirt) to accommodate eating lunch / breathing while sitting. On a similar note, buy your skirt one size bigger than you want to; this both fixes problems in the back and accommodates for slight gains in weight, as well as prevent ripping and riding up the leg.

@@Shopping in America, I found that stretch fabrics tended to be the norm on pencil skirts and that the staff did not understand my concerns about the curvy results. In Japan, skirts were too short, wide in the waist and narrow in the hip. If shopping in Japan I recommend going in for a fitting for an order-made skirt. In America, I recommend telling the staff upfront that you need a conservative look, and not backing down when you think something looks tooas they say in Japanbon-kyū-bon.


The Extras

@@Umbrellas should be black or solid color, a Trench Coat is important during the rainy season, and a heavier wool trench is essential between the months of December and February. Black is the standard, but beige, grey, or very fine houndfs-tooth prints seem to be just fine. If you are wearing a skirt make sure the jacket is shorter than your skirt. Gloves should match your jacket, but black is always failsafe. Scarves should not be distracting. Your Bag should be a simple design, large manila envelope compatible, and must be able to fit everything you need without looking full. Your bag must be freestandingit cannot keep tipping over. Briefcase-style bags with flat bottoms work well. I recommend bags that close so that your papers are protected. From what I have seen Pumps look best with a solid, medium-short heel. Stiletto heels catch in holes and gaps in the road. Please no bows on your shoes. Better too big than too small, as you can adjust the size of your shoe later with inserts. Reflecting back I would recommend wearing a Watch. Simple metal watches look professional. Moreover, they are very useful during tests, group work, and checking the time without pulling out your cell phone leaves a good impression. I regret having not worn one. Glasses should not be so thick as to hide your face, and I recommend taking them off for interviews. Long Hair should really be pulled back with Plain Black Hair Ties and Black Barrettes, and bangs should be out of your face and pinned. Many foreigners put down their hair but I find it distractingrecruiters need to remember your face, not your hair. Everybodyfs Hair Color will be black and dark brown; it is important to stick to your natural hair color. I have naturally Wavy Hair that frizzes in humidity and rain, and after much deliberation I decided to straighten my hair on a daily basis, securing with sprays and pins. Donft feel pressured to change the way your hair naturally looksin fact trying to tame the curls often looks sloppy at the end of a long day that said I found for me that straightening my hair helped to tone down my overall look.



Suit Checklist

Do the lines created by your shirt collar look clean, or are they folding awkwardly?

Does your jacket fall straight down from your chest, or does it show off more than it should?

Do your shirtsleeves make an effort to stay tucked in your suit jacket, or can you see the whole cuff?

Does the length of your jacket compliment the length of your waist, or is it oddly short?

Do you have reasonable room in the waist of your skirt, or are you holding your breath after lunch?

Does your skirt fall smoothly down your legs, or does it show off more than it should?

Does your skirt cover your knees, or are you stuck in the bubble era?

Does your hosiery reasonably shape your legs, or is it pinching you at the knees when you climb stairs?

Do your shoes support your busy schedule, or are you constantly worried about tripping?