How to look creative and professional at the same time
We all grow up with the same advice and rules on the best ways to secure the job of our dreams. We’re told to attend our interviews with short back and sideed or scraped back hair or with clean-shaven faces, for guys. Guys usually only wear a grey, black or dark blue suit and nothing but well-polished, black or brown shoes. Whilst us women are allowed a little more freedom to express ourselves, men are given pretty much nothing to work with. But what about those of us that want to work in the creative industries? Industries that are driven by people with beards, tattoos and funky tastes in fashion – surely, we can’t remove all signs of our creativity in an attempt to ‘fit in’, can we?
Like so many things in life, it’s all about finding the right balance. It’s important that you show your creativity, in many ways it has become something employers want to see, but you must also display your reliability, dependability and professionalism, too. It may sound like an impossible task, but it’s easier than you might think. Here are a few ways to do it!
Suits: It’s not what you wear, but how you wear it
Men & Women: A straight, traditional suit is going to do nothing to give off an air of creativity. In fact, it could easily work against you when interviewing in the creative industries, by making you look stiff corporate. However, if you wear a suit from a different era, or a suit made from non-traditional fabrics, you can look smart and cool at the same time. Perhaps you could go for a classic herringbone jacket, worn with a retro tie or neck scarf. What about a tweed or suede jacket worn with smart, but not necessarily matching trousers? Wearing a suit doesn’t mean you need to look boring. It just depends on how you wear it.
Jumpers: The creative’s essential
Men: A v-neck jumper, worn with a colourful (but not ghastly) collared shirt, is to the creative as a three-piece suit is to the banker – essential. It’s smart, nerdy, professional and creative all at once, and will show your interviewer that you are ready to fit right in with their company.
Women: The classic v-neck jumper can look a little more formal on women, but you can replace them with something of a vintage flavour. Focus on pastel colours and fancy collars that show you are making an effort, without looking over-the-top.
Men & Women: This is where the creative industries differ most from the more “normal” industries. You are free to wear a funky watch, or bracelets, and you don’t have to stick to classic brands such as Rolex or Omega – go wild! Earrings and other facial piercings can be worn, but should compliment your outfit and not get in the way of your expressions. Think of it this way, the person may be quite fond of nose piercings, but if she/he can’t tell if you are smiling or frowning it’s going to make it very difficult for him/her to interview you.
Men & Women: This is an all-important piece of the creative’s wardrobe. Canvas shoulder bags or heavy-duty courier bags give off an air of genuine creativity, and vintage leather handbags provide a twist of elegance for the female creative. Avoid rucksacks or “gym” bags – this will detract from the creative impression you are trying to portray and make you look more like a jock than an artistic visionary.
Men & Women: Employers understand that creative people tend to have creative hairstyles. This means that they are open to the idea of employing people with bright pink afros, or bum-length dreadlocks. However, nobody is open to the idea of employing somebody that looks dirty or un-kept. Whatever crazy hairstyle you go for, make sure it looks clean and fresh. Men only: The same goes for beards and other kinds of facial hair – grooming is vital!
Men &Women: There is a fine line between creative genius and geek laziness. Don’t turn up to an interview wearing your worn out old converse trainers; you may think they are timeless classics, but they will make you look haggard and scruffy. By all means, wear converse trainers, but make sure they are fresh out of the box, or at least in near-perfect condition. In fact, this applies to whatever shoes you decide to wear – make sure they compliment your outfit and make sure they are clean!