How to Dress for a Creative Job Interview: 5 Tips for Deciding What to Wear

By: Georgia Schumacher

November 9, 2018

Landed an interview for a job you’d love? Congratulations!! Now comes the company research, the interview practice, and the coming up with questions to ask the company. Then, there’s the question of what to wear. Dressing for any interview can be nerve-wracking but deciding what to wear to an interview at a creative company can be even more confusing. As you get ready for the big day, here are some tips for planning the perfect outfit.

Tips for dressing for an interview

1. Get a scouting report

Employees at creative companies are likely to dress more informally than your average downtown business professional. To confirm that assumption, poke around their website and social media for pictures of people at work. Knowing what they wear is a good starting point, although you’ll want to go a bit fancier than the average employee’s attire. After all, you want the hiring manager to see you at your best.

2. Skip the suit

Because you’re in an industry that values individuality, you want to emphasize the fresh and creative ways you approach the world. You don’t want to think—or look—like anyone else. Unless you’re applying to a very traditional, corporate company, there’s no need to wear a full pants or skirt suit. In fact, a suit might make you look stodgy and out of touch with the company’s values.

3. Find subtle ways to show your personality

You don’t want to dress like another cog in the corporate machine, but you also don’t want to look unprofessional or like you don’t care about the opportunity. So how you do strike the right balance? By combining style and subtlety. Start simple and add a twist that helps you stand out.

For women, a skirt or pants with a blouse and blazer is a good start. A dress and jacket are a fine combo too. Either way, choose one item in the outfit to reflect your personality—a boldly colored shirt, a patterned dress, or a jacket with interesting details and textures. Jewelry can also make a statement as long as you stick to one or two pieces. For makeup, you can go slightly beyond neutral and add a little color into your eye shadow or lipstick.

For men, a sports jacket, button-up, and dress pants is usually a good option. Avoid black for a less formal feel and add some color or texture into your outfit. Depending on the workplace, a shirt with an interesting print or pattern could be a nice addition, and a jacket may not always be necessary. Finish the look with a nice pair of shoes and an attractive briefcase or bag.

4. Get comfortable

Getting distracted by your clothes is the last thing you want when you should be focusing on your interview questions. Being in pain or tugging on your clothes in front of a hiring manager is not a good look. To avoid this, try on your outfit before the interview to make sure you can comfortably sit and move around. Make sure your shoes work for walking around the office and going to and from your parking spot or public transit.

Remember, you’ll feel happier and more confident in something you actually feel good in. After all, confidence is what you want to portray to your interviewer.

5. Casual doesn’t mean messy

From your hair to your shoes, you should look put together. Wear something that isn’t wrinkled and that fits your body well. It shouldn't be hanging off you or overly tight. No holes, t-shirts, leggings, or sneakers (unless perhaps it’s a sneaker company). Wear close-toed shoes that aren’t scuffed.

You want it to be clear that you put thought into your appearance and didn’t just grab the first thing you saw. This shows that you care about being professional and understand what that means in a creative environment.

Still have questions? Need help getting to the interview stage?

The creative arts degree programs at The Art Institutes system of schools can prepare you for careers in a variety of Culinary, Fashion, Media Arts, and Design fields. Then, when you research the internship and job searching phases, our Career Services team will be there to provide you with all the help you need. Contact your Art Institutes school to learn more.

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By: Georgia Schumacher

November 9, 2018