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A little bit of background, I am currently homeless, and have limited access to clothes, and even more limited access to funds. Buying new clothes is out of the question, and it is too late now for me to organize something from some service that accepts donations.

I have an interview scheduled soon with a Big4 consulting firm in the United States. I have worked as a consultant previously.

I realized too late that the black sport jacket I was planning to wear no longer fits me. This is rather mortifying, however I have access to a green sport jacket I purchased but never wore. I wasn't fond of the texture.

It's not at all a bright or distracting green, it's a very dark green, and on my poor phone camera looks almost grey. I would be pairing this with a light grey shirt and a black or dark grey tie, and a black overcoat.

I think it looks OK, professional and rather good, but it is still green.

Is this a serious no no, or is it something the interviewer is unlikely to focus much on?

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Go with the green and wear it confidently.

In my experience, too many people go for the traditional colours (blue, black or gray with a white shirt and likely a blue or red tie) and wearing something different helps to lodge you in the interviewer's mind. A deep green is also a great colour for emotional stimulation have a look at colour psychology if you get a chance.

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Is wearing a green sport jacket to an interview a terrible idea?

No, and given that it is all you have, there isn't any other option except go without a jacket. So choose between those.

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    I could reschedule or postpone if it was really an issue, which is what I was trying to determine. – Ken Rogers Mar 6 at 6:53
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    Do you really think rescheduling an agreed upon time at the last gasp is preferable? I reckon just do your best without causing them any drama. – Kilisi Mar 6 at 7:13
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    @KenRogers don't postpone. The green jacket isn't a big problem. – undefined Mar 6 at 8:52
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    and if it's in IT, it matters even less than say in Finance. Also depends in which area. In NYC probably matters more than in Silicon Valley / SF. – TomEberhard Mar 6 at 14:55
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    @TomEberhard People seem to be focusing on the IT part of the position rather than the Big 4 Consulting. The Big 4 are public accounting firms and in my experience are going to be much more conservative than a generic Silicon Valley start up. While the advice that the green jacket is probably fine is good, comments about dressing down because it's IT wouldn't really apply to the Big 4 – kuhl Mar 9 at 12:44
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Ken,

Although appearance is important, it's not as important as walking into the interview with the confidence and level of preparedness you should have to succeed in the role you're applying for. After reading the description and seeing that it's not a bright distracting color and it's more of a deep/dark green then I would say that you're perfectly fine wearing a green jacket. It should not be seen as unprofessional.

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    Thank you. I appreciate your answer. – Ken Rogers Mar 6 at 20:28
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    Absolutely Ken, and good luck. – Justice Mar 6 at 20:39
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Interviewing is like dating: you are trying to exchange a lot of important information with the other party in a very limited, usually < 2 hr, time frame in the face of a lot of competing and sometimes mutually-exclusive incentives.

And like dating, you have basically two options.

  1. Try to be conservative to avoid any appearance of what might be a deal-breaker for the other party, i.e. "put your best foot forward".
  2. Try to stand out from the crowd with the understanding that this will be off-putting to a lot of people but really score points with a select few.

The first approach works better if you have some quality that already sets you apart: your CV is excellent, you went to an Ivy League (or top for your discipline) school, you worked somewhere famous, etc. The second approach works better when you are in a glutted market or in some way competing against a lot of other similar people.

Then there's the perhaps even more important question of what you, personally, want: do you want to work at a place that would mark you down in an interview for not sticking to the grey/black/navy blue standard? Do you want to work at a place diametrically opposed to that?

Back to the opening thesis: you've got a lot to tell this person about yourself in a very short time and you can't really afford to neglect any aspect. Wearing a non-standard jacket sends an unmistakable message that you aren't looking for a job at a place that is overly-conservative. Is that the message you want to send?

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    I would wager what a homeless applicant wants most is to be gainfully employed and thus able to be no longer homeless. Workplace happiness is just a little higher up in the hirearchy of needs. That said, I sincerely hope your perspective is an out-of-touch one birthed in the industrial age, and that no one today would see a colored jacket as indication of a troublesome non-conformist, or deem one's fitness to write software by the precise cut or your blue necktie. Such ideas today should only be seen as the utterly dystopian horrors they represent. – HonoredMule Mar 7 at 21:10
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    @HonoredMule no argument with your first two sentences. As for the rest, if you can have your cake and eat it too, then I sincerely say good for you. As for me, I'm not going to take the chance of being perceived as unprofessional, or not eligible for a promotion, or whatever. As a manager I would hire someone who showed up in a green jacket if they were the best candidate, and not even think about the jacket, but for me personally as an applicant when I'm on the other side of the desk it isn't worth the risk. – Jared Smith Mar 7 at 23:41
  • You personally - like myself - would likely be interviewing for a job believed an improvement over a current decent one. On such equal footing, the evaluation is mutual. But I can only consider willingness to saddle oneself with an employer that would judge even a little based on antiquated standards of attire as a mark of desperation, not a strategy for finding employers who would value and respect you as an intelligent individual. It's far better to inadvertently pre-empt an offer than to accept it before learning things that would never be admitted or demonstrated in an interview. – HonoredMule Mar 8 at 1:14
  • @HonoredMule I think the difference here depends on this: you view an employer being that way as a significant sign that they are bad along several dimensions, I view it as they like neutral colored clothes. Either may be correct or not depending on the specific employer in question. I would not want to work at a place where appearance is valued over more meaningful metrics, I would totally work at a place that all other things being equal preferred traditional dress. – Jared Smith Mar 8 at 1:18
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    That reads to me like you wanting your colleagues to be pushed to dress a certain way - which probably doesn't warrant unpacking - but I think we can at least agree that we present what we want our potential employers to accept and even value. ...and that none of this has much bearing on OP's question – HonoredMule Mar 8 at 1:36
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There are charitys who will provide disadvantaged/homeless people with a suit specifically for job interviews.

One in the United States is Career Gear, but you should hopefully be able to find others near you on Google - https://www.careergear.org/

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    The OP specifically ruled out such an answer: "it is too late now for me to organize something from some service that accepts donations.". – Jon Bentley Mar 9 at 12:06

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