Interview outfit advice

I have an interview with a landscape design firm next week. Various career websites have me convinced that I should wear a suit, but after I talked with some fellow designer friends, they said I would get laughed at if I showed up to the interview wearing a pantsuit. It’s a large company but doesn’t have a corporate feel, if that makes sense. Any thoughts on this? I don’t want to look like a square, but I do want to appear professional.

You can still wear a suit just go without a tie. Either that or do some really nice dark jeans, dress shirt and a blazer. Make sure whatever you wear you feel confident in it. If you can contact someone at the firm that could give you a heads up on the office attire it would really help. Good luck with your interview!

I would also recommend to go for the suit, and like said before without the tie, you can also switch the jacket to a more casual one… as long as it match with the pant. That will show them you’re taking the job offer seriously and you are making efforts. Of course you need to LOOK professional, but at the end of the day, the attitude should match the look… they will probably care even more about you ARE professional.

Depends on the suit. If it is like a three + button number and it fits like how Micheal Jordan rocked them in the 90’s, no never wear it ever. If it looks slick and moderen, like in Madmen the rep it. You cannot be too overdressed. If you are looking for a nice modern suit (one button, maybe two) check out Topman Clothing, Shoes & Accessories | ASOS

They have some nice stuff in the sale area too.

You said “paints suit” if you are female goto for womens stuff. And I wouldn’t go with a Mrs. Clinton paint suit ever.

I usually ask what the dress code is before interviewing. To look stylish and not like a square, I usually go with dark jeans, a nice shirt, a belt, and a sport coat. Sport coat + nice jeans= most adaptable.

If you are unsure i would wear a suit. I wore a suit to the job I have now and sure i was over dressed and sure occasionally im still given a hard time about it, but i got the job. wearing a suit will never go against you in the hiring process but some times wearing your “trendy” outfit may. if a suit makes you uncomfortable then maybe take it down a little bit but not too much

Yup. I’m a firm believer that you can never be overdressed for anything (well maybe a tux and top hat might be a bit much). That being said, how you carry an outfit is as important as what you are wearing.

For a suit, it’s important that you feel comfortable in it. Body language is always affected by what you are wearing. If you feel uncomfy, stiff, or not used to a suit, it can look like you are playing dress up (not good). Also, with a suit, the accessories become even more important. A nice suit can be ruined if you have a sports watch and shoes that don’t match the dressiness of the suit. Also, suit + sporty nylon portfolio bag, looks bad.

It’s the sum total of any look that makes it work or not.

For good inspiration, check out -


Interesting question.

I do not agree at that you can’t be overdressed.
I think you should look at the place and what kind of vibe it has.
It is important that it looks and feels like you fit into the company structure. It will seem weird, stiff and desperate if you walk in with a suite but everybody you meet, including the interviewer, is wearing casual sportswear.
It should really look like that you can sit down right now, start to work and you would blend in with the team.

Going classic is never a bad thing. I second the dark jean with a sharp jacket. Is the interviewer wearing a suit, then the suit it is.

another piece of good advice I’ve heard - “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That is, you might wear jeans and a T as a junior designer, but if someday you want to be manager, dress like that.

As for being overdressed, I still say that it’s how you carry it. Yes, a suit can look overdressed in a more casual environment, but if you can look as relaxed as you would be in jeans, there is no harm.

Also, (though I hope it kinda goes without saying) the cut/fit of any clothing is far more important the style. A good, slim cut suit can look as sharp/casual as a pair of dark denim, but an ill fitting suit (sleeves too long, to wide a cut, etc.) will look terrible, no matter what. FWIW, most euro brands (esp. Scandinavian or German such as J. Lindeberg or Boss) will have a much different silhouette than most US brands).


Agreed, and to add, The same goes the other way around. With a well cut pair of jeans, a fitted t, and the right pair of sneakers you can out dress the CEO.

I might be 34 but when it comes to interviews a suit and tie works for me. No matter what the company a first impression is key. Yea some of the other designers might tlaugh but in the end your attitude and dress code show maturity and that’s what they are looking for.

Hope this helps…

Are you kidding me? Is this some sort of weird-social spambot

Yes, it is. You’d be surprised at how complex the latest spambot software is.

Taken care of.

Before it was always a suit for every interview, then later all designers ever wore was black, black shirt, trousers etc as long as it was all black. Then depending on age it was black, but with a very colourful shirt, like bright yellow. People did the bright yellow shirt thing a lot, nothing hawian, just a solid bright colour shirt, but still with the black trousers. Now it seems that if your young, a suit is the way forward, because you can be cool in your free time, but you want to show the boss that you can be responsible and clean enough to be pushed in front of prospective clients. But if your middle age, you’ve got to do the jeans, white shirt and jacket casual look, because you don’t have much free time to be cool and you’re desperately trying to show the men in suits that you are still a designer, a creative type who won’t fall in with the accountants in their suits and be judged by on lookers as one of them (that would be disasterous, I am a designer, not a bean counter or a salesman, how dare you sir!).

But personally, if you’re asking for money, always go as smart as you can. If they want you to get hands on and do some sketching etc, take the jacket off, roll up your sleeves and dive in. But people find it hard to criticise someone who turns up for interview in a suit. Scruffy is easy to pick holes in, smart is not. Don’t agonise over it too much, sort the portfolio and prepare top answers to tricky questions - why should they give you the job etc. Interviewers generally think along the lines of, is this person a good fit, can he bring in money, will he screw up our business, is he good to go or does he need a bit of training, is he friendly with a strong portfolio. That sort of thing. As long as your sensible, companies generally don’t think - ‘my god, he’s wearing elbow patches! too risky for us, this ones an unknown quantity, we better not employ him just because of his outfit.’

I love to resurrect threads (pun intended) :slight_smile:

I might be nabbing myself an interview at a corporate kitchenware company and want to run out and get dressier clothing to make me look respectful.

I can’t afford a nice tailored suit at this moment but I was thinking, since designers tend to be a bit more “fashion-forward”… if a sports coat, very dark slim straight jeans or slacks, dress shoes/shirt/tie would be appropriate for a corporate interview or is that mostly appropriate for a trendy consultancy?

I was thinking of creating an ensemble like this:

Thanks guys.
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I dont have the much experience compared to some of the guys on here, but I do work in a corporate office. I would without a doubt go with a suit. Especially if you have to meet with HR or any other department. At my office, we can only wear jeans about 5 times as year. If I go to a store, technically I need to be wearing a tie. In these types of places you will always see people wearing suits and ties (lawyers, upper level management, ect). Anytime I am meeting with a vendor or outside source, I will wear a tie. At my office, you would look much more out of place in jeans than you would in a suit.

You really dont need to have a huge sum of money to get a good suit. It may take you some time to find a good fitting suit on a budget, but it will be worth it. Just remember that fit is key over cost. A proper fitting $200 suit can look like a million bucks, where as a frumpy $4k suit will look like garbage. For a few tips to help you shop:

I have a few suits, but they are really only used for weddings and funerals. I could not imagine wearing a suit to work or an interview.

Well, the problem is that if you spend quite a lot on a nice suit, it becomes this investment that hangs out in your closet and that really only gets used rarely if you are not required to wear it on the job.
Yes, you can find alright suits on a budget, Uniqlo for example is not bad, but when it comes to tailored pieces such as suits, you really get what you pay for. That being said, suits are a typical Sale item, which is perfect for bargain hunting at the end of a season. I think I bought all my suits on sale.
This is also why you want definitely want to look for a timeless cut.

Now, the summer season just started so you most likely won’t find any sales around. What I have done a lot is to invest in good blazers and pants. Not jeans.
To interviews, even corporate ones, I have worn for example black slim tailored chinos and a nice blazer. If I felt it was too dressy, I just took the blazer off. If it wasn’t dressy enough, I slapped a tie on in the bathroom before meeting the interviewer.

To buy separate pieces makes it possible to later use the clothes more regularly.
If you buy a suit, it will always be a suit with pants and jacket dependent on each other. If you buy an assortment of pants and blazers, you can dress up and down as much as you want. And combine with a jean if you like.

Not sure if a suit it the correct is the correct way to go. I’ve only ever worked at one place that was business dress code and it was corporate. But wearing jeans there would have been a turn off to everyone but the designers. So chinos might be a better option.

As for a suit . H&M makes a pretty cheap suit thats really popular and fairly slim cut. So it usually fits fairly well off the rack. Should only set you back around $200 then a small bit for tailoring if you need it. Also the fabric is pretty casual, so could be used as a sports blazer if you want too.

Heres a few pics of it.

I was interning at a large corporate design dept. that was biz. casual and was asked to sit in on an interview(several actually). This particular interviewee came in a full suit and after he left that was all people talked about. In other words, he didn’t fit, though this was not 100% based on his suit, but it sure didn’t help his nervous, uptight impression. Get the vibe of the place if you can before your interview and wear what you are comfortable presenting yourself in.

I never have worn a full suit for business, interview, client meeting, whatever- but that is more my personal preference (and I haven’t faced a client yet that I felt would respond poorly without one)… Not saying you shouldn’t, just there are alternatives that are equally professional, especially in our industry. I walked into a large corporation that had a suit only dress code and was wearing dark jeans or pants, a blazer and a shirt. That was the only time I got comments from a manager there but they were more like “You creative types all dress like models” or something similar. A lot of places I’ve worked with or at kind of expect the designers to have some style and stand out, just remain professional.

I was thinking of creating an ensemble like this:

Thanks guys.

I think that would be fine. Wear socks :slight_smile: