Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Dressing for an interview isn’t always as easy as dusting off your favourite suit and treating yourself to a new tie. In this guide, we talk you through our top tips on how to dress for a creative job interview.
In the current climate finding a job is hard; finding the job of your dreams is even harder. You may have spent hours, days, even weeks trawling the internet looking for that perfect match, but even then there are no guarantees and the competition is tough. Then finally you get your big break…an interview at last!
So you’ve managed to snag yourself an interview for your dream job. You’ve done your research, brushed up on your best interview responses, and perfected your killer smile; all that’s left now is deciding what to wear.
Cue the drama! Dressing for a creative job interview can be extremely tricky as it’s a chance to show the interviewer some of your personality and demonstrate why you’re in the creative industry to begin with, however, you don’t want to go in there and let something you are wearing effect your chances of securing the position. You need to show that you are responsible yet still have the ability to look and act professionally. Read on for our guide to dressing for a creative job interview.
Interview Attire for Men
A typical interview outfit consists of a suit and shirt and tie combo; true ‘dress for success’ mentality. This kind of interview would most commonly be for a professional role or a 9-5 in an office based scenario.
Your suit and shirt should fit perfectly for maximum effect (there’s absolutely nothing worse than an ill-fitting suit). By donning a well-cut suit, you instantly make a bold move in the boardroom, and it not only flatters your physique, but you show off desirable traits such as confidence and attention to detail too.
For sharp sartorial style, an interview of the corporate kind requires keeping your look relatively traditional, although you could, of course, choose a modern version of traditional to keep you looking fresh.
A grey or navy suit is your go-to in this scenario; opt for a slim or skinny fit, single-breasted version for that modern vibe we mentioned earlier. If we were you, we would keep it classic and simple with a white shirt, as you can show a little of your personality with your tie (just don’t go crazy). A deep red or any shade of blue is always a fail-safe option with these suit colours.
What to Wear for a Creative Interview
Striking the right balance between corporate and casual for a creative industry job can often be tough. On the one hand you don’t want to get it completely wrong and turn up like a stiff in a formal suit (no offence- it’s just not the right occasion), however you don’t want to be wearing trainers either as that is definitely a step too far in the wrong direction.
Make a beeline for striking separates. The power of separates when it comes to a creative job interview is second to none, and of course it is all about how you put them together as to whether you will come across in the right manner at your interview. Different creative industries probably require varying levels of casual dress, such as mismatched separates in classic and subtle shades for architecture and marketing, whereas colours and prints can work well for people in the fashion or media industries.
Try mixing and matching a blazer and trousers rather than keeping things coordinated. A smart trouser or chino style can work equally well, and a collared shirt is always preferable over a t-shirt or knit. Make sure your shirt and separates are ironed and pressed so as not to look like you don’t care, and any prints or colours that you choose to add should be relatively subtle. Footwear should be easy; loafers and brogues always look great for a creative job interview as they are smart yet stylish. Try to stay away from trainers and plimsolls as they will give the wrong impression to your interviewer.
If you’re still very much a suit kinda guy, and anything less feels wrong when turning up to an important interview, then try thinking outside the box and re-imagining the suit to fit in with the role and the industry that you are applying to.
Definitely stick with modern cuts and colours for your chosen suit, but then throw some fun at it with printed shirt. A camo print is bang on trend right now and could really show off your creative abilities and your confidence in your personal style. Florals are always a winner too, and they look much more sophisticated when worn under a suit than they do worn alone.
Put together a look which definitely makes a statement but has details which bring it back down to earth. This suit is a skinny fit which is a modern take on the classic style, and it comes in a deep, deep navy colour which is not traditional but remains subtle. Again the print of this shirt is a clear head turner, yet the monochrome colour scheme means it is low-key. A desert boot and satchel in neutral hues are timeless and will tie your look together so that it’s still clear you haven’t got the wrong building.
Mix and Match
To really put yourself out there and go all in, why not combine both options we have discussed by choosing a suit in a statement style, print, or colour. For this option you will definitely be leaving a lasting impression, so make sure it is the right context, and the employer is the right fit for this kind of daring ensemble.
A bold move like this could really earn you some brownie points if you manage to pull it off; think pastel and autumnal shades or a subtle print. Please let’s not go down the full denim root like a 90s JT, but that just goes without saying really, doesn’t it? If you are still aiming for an unconventional style but need it to remain a little more low-key, try pairing a statement blazer with a smart trouser and crisp shirt.
When putting so much thought into your creative job interview outfit, it is important not to forget the finishing touches which will take your look up a notch. Small details like cufflinks and tie clips may not seem like a big deal, but if you want to look like you pay attention to detail, then these finishing touches are a must.
Don’t forget some top notch wrist wear which can be another addition to subtly set you apart from the competition.
Interview Bags for Men
When wearing creative casual attire you will need a bag that carries the same levels of dress as the apparel. We love a satchel style as it screams work wear but is still cool enough for a casual situation.
Smart Casual Job Interview: What to Wear
A smart casual job interview could be something along the lines of a creative role within a corporate industry. In this case, you don’t want to come across too lax by turning up looking extremely relaxed or worse, too wacky, as you need to show that you understand the environment that you are potentially going to be working in.
In this case, we suggest going for the classic suit option to play it safe, however by losing the tie, you look and feel comfortable whilst still showing that you are committed to your work. For years the suit and tie have gone together like Bonnie and Clyde, however, his trend has been quite popular over recent times and is something you can then cross over as your work wear ‘uniform’ if you happen to get the job. You’re giving your potential employers an idea of what they can expect of you going forward if they were to hire you.
You have the perfect outfit to wow your interviewer, your accessories are on point, and you’re ready to nail all the questions they throw at you; but are you forgetting one thing? Never leave the house for an interview (or just ever really) without making sure you’re grooming is up to par.
Even though this is a creative job interview and you are pushing the boundaries with your look, our advice here would be to keep your grooming neat and tidy. Make sure to have a close shave the morning of the interview, and a fresh haircut would also be favourable. A classic short back and sides look is never going out of style and will always do its job.
If you do have a beard we’re not suggesting you shave it all off just for this interview; we don’t want tribes of bald-faced men coming after us with pitch forks because they didn’t get the job and now they have no facial hair either. The beard trend is a popular one right now, so by all means, work it. Just be sure to condition and trim it beforehand so that it is neat but masculine.
When it comes to product, let’s keep things to a minimum. Don’t overdo it on the wax or gel as you want to look slick not slimy, and too much aftershave can be a straight up no-no with undesirable consequences.
Your Quick Guide to Dressing for a Creative Job Interview
- Research the company and work out what level of creative dress fits best with them and their values.
- Striking separates are an instant go-to; think coloured blazer and something subtle on the bottom half. A loafer is always a good shout.
- If you’re interviewing for a creative role within a corporate environment keep it smart with a hint of casual e.g. suit and shirt but no tie.
- If you think the company and the interviewer are open-minded you could brave a statement suit. Try pastel or autumnal hues and team with a plain or printed shirt for extra ‘wow’ factor.
- Rework the classic suit with a modern cut. Keep the colour subdued with classic or deep shades, and add the fun factor with a printed shirt underneath. A knit tie would work perfectly.
- Don’t forget finishing touches like grooming and accessories; these can add personality and demonstrate attention to detail, which is a very desirable trait.
On That Note
With interviews being so hard come by these days, it is important to get our outfit just right. Although a creative job interview sounds scary to begin with, it’s actually not as daunting as it seems. Stick with classic silhouettes in bolder shades and prints and you’re on to a winner. But most importantly, make sure you’re feeling confident and that your interviewer knows it. No matter what industry you’re in, or what outfit you’ve chosen, as long as you exude confidence you hold the key to success.