A suit can be a great wardrobe choice for some interviews and offices. It makes you look professional, polished and serious about your work. But what if you work in a creative field like graphic design, fashion or event planning? If you are trying to sell your creative abilities to a prospective employer in a conservative, buttoned-up and stuffy suit, your image will clash with your words. You want to sell the whole package, including your business savvy, skills, personality and yes, style. The key is to create an outfit that shows your personal style while still being polished.
What to Wear for Men
In creative industries, the dress code tends to be “corporate creative.” This means looking sharp without coming off as stiff. Men can achieve this look by leaving the three-piece suit at home and instead opting for a nice pair of well-fitting slacks and a dress shirt. Wear it tucked in, and don’t be afraid to experiment with color or patterns. A checked or striped shirt under a collared sweater will look great with twill trousers. The top adds a bit of flair while the conservative bottoms still make you look professional.
What Not to Wear for Men
Showing your creative side is great, but showing up in leather pants is not. Just because your job is related to the arts does not mean that all the rules of fashion should go out the door. Stay away from jeans and anything with wrinkles, tears or stains, and balance your look by pairing one colorful piece with something more conservative.
What to Wear for Women
Women can let their personalities shine with color, patterns and accessories. A wrap dress covered with a small, colorful print says “creative” without being over-the-top, and a wide-legged trouser topped with a vibrant silk blouse makes a statement without looking like it belongs in the circus. If your outfit is more conservative, jazz it up with a colorful purse, patterned scarf or bold necklace.
What Not to Wear for Women
Stay away from glitter, sequins, lace, neon colors, heels that are too high, skirts that are too short or tops that are too-low cut. Leave the denim at home and save your flip-flops for the beach.
When in Doubt…
Call the human resources department directly. They want you to succeed and will be happy to explain the company dress code. Even better, connect with an employee who can give you the inside scoop on style within the company.
Do you work in a creative industry? What is your “uniform”? Share your tips for dressing professionally but with personality in the comments section below.