what to wear: to a creative interview

creative interview outfit interview-outfit2 interview-outfit3 interview-outfit4 interview-outfit5 interview-outfit6
blazer: Forever 21 (similar) // top: Nordstrom Rack (similar) // jeans: Forever 21 // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar) // necklace: Apricot Lane Boutique

Photos by Briley Noel

Since a big part of this blog is about growing up, I wanted to share the interview outfit that helped me get my new job. I actually had three interviews for this position, but I wore outfits you've already seen for the first two (here and here). This final interview was with the owner of the company and our web traffic guru. Deciding what to wear to an interview for a creative position in a technological industry took some extra thinking on my part. Here's how I came up with the look.

First I knew I needed to have some traditional interview elements to my outfit, which in this case were a blazer and relying on a black color scheme for a sleek and professional look. The second piece of criteria was showing my personality in the outfit. The third aspect, and the one I hadn't had to dress to before, was nailing the vibe of the creative industry.

I did my research on the interviewers beforehand and found that they both worked in the tech field in Austin, which has a very specific look: blue jeans, plaid button downs, and converse. It's also worth noting that this was the only interview where I would be meeting with men. These techy men weren't going to be impressed by a pencil skirt and heels, mostly because that isn't how people dress in their world. It would have been out of character for the industry, which is not how I wanted to appear. It was most important to me that I looked like I could "hang," like I already belonged. For this reason, I decided on black jeans and a blazer.

If you've been keeping up with my 25 before 25 list, then you know that I do not own a black blazer. This one article of clothing has eluded me for as long as I've been dressing. The blazer I own and wear frequently is actually a hand-me-up from my younger brother, which he initially wore to his second grade consecration in our synagogue. This is to say that I haven't really grown up top, if you know what I mean, which makes blazer shopping especially difficult. Women's blazers expect you to be shaped like a certain kind of woman, and I've just never filled them out properly. Because of my experience and short time span to find a completer piece for my interview outfit, I started searching online for flat-front blazers with the tuxedo style lapels and no buttons. Blazers that are meant to be worn closed don't fit me right, so it seemed to me that an open blazer might be a better option.

I found myself in Forever 21 about 45 minutes to closing on a Wednesday evening with a handful of black blazers in various styles. The clear winner was a sleek black blazer with ruched, cropped sleeves, flat-front lapels, no buttons, and, to my surprise, no collar. I had never considered that the collar was an element I could lose in a blazer and still look professional, but I love how this particular blazer has less attention-drawing elements, keeping it from being bulky and making it easier to wear. Consider this goal from my 25 before 25 crossed off the list!

Because I try to avoid wearing black and white for interviews (all I see is cater waiter!), I went with my favorite black printed blouse under the blazer.

The last part of the outfit I needed to figure out was shoes! As I said before, heels weren't right for this interview. I usually wear flats to interviews, but I felt like I needed something to dress the outfit up a little. I decided on my booties for the added height and confidence, plus I love how they emphasize the creative take on an otherwise pretty normal outfit.

I felt incredibly comfortable and confident in this outfit, and it was probably the best I've ever done in an interview. I've said it a million times, but I absolutely believe in the power of the right outfit. Spending the extra time putting together the right pieces for the specific setting was worth it, and obviously paid off because I got the job!

11 comments

  1. Love how you broke this outfit down! And I agree on the shoe choice! I normally rock flats or dressed up slip-ons sneaks to work, but lately I've been swapping in some heels and heeled boots and it is like an instant confidence boost! :D Congrats again on the new position. Hope all is well!

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  2. The blazer is perfect for the creative outfit field. You'll definitely keep that for a lot time. The confidence I can see in these pictures is probably also what helped you nail the interview and land the job. Your process was so logical and the look is effortless.

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  3. This is such a perfect outfit for an interview! I have always wondered what one would wear to a more creative interview type job, and this look is tops! I'm so excited for you that you got the job!
    xo
    Kristina
    www.eccentricowl.com

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  4. Great outfit for a job interview! I love those boots, especially. You know those things they say about power dressing? It's totally true. :)

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  5. You're so cute. And I know I've said this before but still--I'm so proud of you and all you've accomplished, Nicole. You're awesome.

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  6. I didn't even realize those were jeans! I think I need a pair of black jeans in my wardrobe. Anyway, Congratulations again! I really like how you explained your thought process through this post. People are often so stuck on looking professional that they forget to think about the version of professional they should be looking towards.

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  7. ugh, all the tears. you're the best. seriously.

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  8. i'm glad people liked reading about the process! i was worried i was being gratuitous and no one would care. i think knowing how to dress for your audience is half the battle. ~rhetoric major~

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  9. congratulations! I'm doing the interview process this week with 3 interviews at different places, whew. its like a part time job within itself. fingers crossed at least one of mine goes as well as yours!

    xo, Maddy

    http://cassidylou.com

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  10. Thank you for talking about this! It can be so hard to look professional but comfortable, creative but reliable...it can be hard to know which direction to take an interview outfit, especially if you don't have a lot of time to prepare or can't do a lot of research on the company (like, what kind of dress code they follow). This outfit is wonderful. Might have to check out Forever 21 for a black blazer for me, too (I grew out of my last one, which I actually found at a Goodwill years ago).


    -Jen
    yourstrulyjen.com

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  11. This is a great outfit! I love how your sense of style and personality shine through in the outfit - such an important thing to take into consideration with interview outfits! I always wear something that I feel physically comfortable in - anything too stuffy or fitted makes me feel uncomfortable and then I get awkward. I shouldn't have to worry about how my clothes are hanging on my body when answering a question about my biggest strengths and areas of improvement, right?! :) Congratulations again on your fantastic new job!!

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