How to Dress for an Interview in a Creative Company

Conventional job interview advice maintains you should dress formally and conservatively when meeting a prospective employer. However, when interviewing at a creative company such as an advertising agency or art gallery, you may make a better impression if you relax the rules slightly and showcase your creative side.


While you want to project a professional image, you also want to set yourself apart from other applicants and convey a sense of creativity and personality. The traditional interview outfit -- dark suit, minimal accessories and makeup -- can depict you as too rigid for the sometimes more relaxed environment of a creative company. Consider mixing formal and casual styles. For women, instead of wearing a skirt suit, wear a tailored skirt and blouse. For men, a suit without the tie or a sport jacket and trousers presents a polished but not “stuffy” image.


For formal workplaces, it’s best to sick with neutral and conservative colors such as blue, gray or black. However, that might be too somber for a creative environment. Liven up your ensemble by avoiding black and throwing in a splash of color. For example, wear a solid color suit with a blouse or shirt in a complementary color. Or, opt for solid colors and one patterned piece. Don’t go overboard on the patterns, however. Stick with stripes or subtle patterns rather than a heavily patterned or multicolored piece that might make your interviewer dizzy.


For both men and women, a bold accessory is an effective way to merge professional and creative styles. If you’re interviewing with a fashion-related company, for example, it’s important to demonstrate your knowledge of current trends. Choose one trendy piece, such as a briefcase, bag, belt or pair of shoes. Keep the rest of your outfit tailored for a timeless, mature look. Women might also choose a statement necklace or cuff bracelet, or a brightly colored scarf. Men might opt for a bold or patterned tie.

Hair, Makeup and Fragrance

As with any other interview, when interviewing at a creative agency it’s best to avoid heavily scented perfume, lotions, hairspray and other products. You have a little more freedom when it comes to hair and makeup. While you shouldn’t dress as though you’re headed to a nightclub, you also don’t have to pull your hair back in a tight bun. For both genders, a stylish haircut shows personality and demonstrates you’re up on the latest trends. For women, makeup can offer a fashionable and creative image. Instead of sticking only to neutral shades, consider adding a little color in your eye shadow or lipstick. Keep it subtle, though, because too much can suggest you’re trying too hard to look young.