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  • Writer's pictureKristin Schuchman

What to Wear for Job Interviews in Creative Careers

A style guide to help you stand out while moving forward in a creative field


Landing an interview in a creative field can be a challenge. Most creative fields are competitive and usually earned by a combination of sheer determination, skillful networking, and demonstrable talent. The interview itself is a chance to showcase your talent and passion, but amidst the portfolio presentation, resume and cover letter polishing, and interview prep, a question might annoying persist: What do I wear?


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Don't be afraid to add a touch of your personality in a job interview for creative career – a standout brooch or pair of earrings or, if wearing formal men’s wear, a stylish tie or patterned pocket square. don't be afraid to add a touch of your personality – a standout brooch or pair of earrings or, if wearing formal men’s wear, a stylish tie or patterned pocket square. [Photo by Austin Distel]

While there's no one-size-fits-all answer, here are some tips to navigate the fashion maze and leave a lasting impression, all while staying true to your unique style:

1. Research is Your Best Friend

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Scour their social media profiles. Instagram stories, TikToks and Facebook posts often offer a glimpse into office culture and employee dress code.

Dive into the company culture. Are they a vibrant design agency with a casual dress code, or a traditional architecture firm favoring suits? Check out their website, social media, and even employee photos to get a feel for the overall aesthetic.

  • Immerse Yourself in the Company Website: - especially the “About Us" and "Our Team" sections. Do employees project a more formal stance with suits and ties or a more casual vibe in jeans and graphic tees? Or a somewhere-in-between “business casual” look? Search for photos, videos, and blog posts that offer visual clues.

  • Social Media: Scour their social media profiles. Instagram stories, TikToks and Facebook posts often offer a glimpse into office culture and employee dress code. Remember, hashtags like #CasualFriday might not reflect everyday attire.

  • Glassdoor Reviews: While reviews often focus on company culture and work environment, some might offer observations about employee dress code.

If you know someone at the company (or know someone who knows someone), ask them for ideas and insights. It is possible to overdress and look too stuffy if the vibe calls for cool and breezy and/or the company is focused on cutting-edge trends. But don’t try to merely mimic anyone’s style. You are likely better served, as Don Draper suggested, by “standing out, not fitting in.”

2. Project Confidence (Even If You’re Not Feeling It)

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Don't be afraid to add a touch of your personality. [Photo by Laura Chouette]

Own your personal style and remember that self-assurance is your ultimate accessory. Whether you rock bold colors and statement pieces, or prefer a minimalist aesthetic, wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Authenticity shines through, so don't be afraid to add a touch of your personality – a standout brooch or pair of earrings or, if wearing formal men’s wear, a stylish tie or patterned pocket square. Shoes can be an often-overlooked way to do this, as can belts, scarves, leather satchels, purses, and jewelry.  

3. Present with Professional Polish 


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Use your portfolio, resume, and interview responses to showcase your creativity and problem-solving skills.

Ensure your clothes are clean, ironed, and fit well. Even in the most relaxed creative environments, there's a line between quirky and sloppy. Ripped jeans, stained or wrinkled shirts, and sneakers might fly at an art exhibit, but aim for a more polished look for a job interview. Try to dress a cut above what you think might be expected by the setting and the role.

4. Let Your Work Do the Talking


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Remember that the interview itself is a chance to showcase your talent and passion. [Photo by Matthew Maloney]

While your clothing and overall presentation matter, they shouldn't distract from your skills and experience. Use your portfolio, resume, and interview responses to showcase your creativity and problem-solving skills. Interview attire is just one piece of the puzzle. Focus on showcasing your passion, talent, and enthusiasm, and let your unique style shine through in a way that reflects your professional aspirations. 5. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

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Dressing for a graphic design interview might differ from one for a marketing position, even within the same company.

Find a friend to help you run through a mock interview while you’re dressed in the clothes you plan to wear. This will truly prepare you for the day by ensuring that you can feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible while dressed to kill.

6. Consider the Role and Industry



Tailoring your outfit to the specific role can make a big difference. Dressing for a graphic design interview might differ from one for a marketing position, even within the same company. Research industry norms and adapt your style accordingly. Fashion magazines, for instance, will appreciate a nod toward designers while art museums will take note of a scarf inspired by a Van Gogh painting. Close your eyes and imagine what you would hope to wear once you’ve been hired by your prospective employer on the best day of your career while performing at your best – making a career-making presentation, brainstorming in a meeting with energetic colleagues, or simply sitting at your desk dreaming up witty marketing copy or designing dazzling graphics.

Bonus Tip! When in doubt, err on the side of professionalism. You can always dress down slightly if the vibe feels more casual, but it's harder to dress up on the fly. If you need visual inspiration, check out online mood boards or fashion blogs geared towards creative professionals. There's a world of interview outfit ideas waiting to be discovered.

 


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