Confused Is the New Black

By Published on .

Les Green Les Green
Many people won't admit this, but one of the biggest draws for people working in advertising and marketing is the dress code. Few industries allow you to wear a T-shirt (usually too small) and sneakers (usually too colorful) most days you come to work. Granted, there are some differences when it comes to account people versus the creative dress codes depending on the agency, but on a whole it's much better than most industries.

But there is a catch: What the heck do you wear to the interview?

While everyone may be comfortable with the day-to-day dos and don'ts, selecting your attire for interview day is as frustrating as dressing for a first date. Now, many of you will say that one should just dress up and cover yourself in case that particular employer expects more professionalism, but it's not that easy. In an industry that is so focused on finding the "right" thing—the right line, the right image, the right strategy—aren't these employers looking for the "right fit?" If you are dressed more formally than the creative director or CEO, won't they worry about how well you'll fit in? I mean, think how important it is to impress a creative director with your book. Isn't it just as important for them to appreciate your personality and judgment when it comes to style?

Well, maybe not AS important, but we all know that a huge factor in hiring is likeability. And we are all guilty of assuming someone was a schmuck because of a goofy T-shirt they were wearing or the plaid golfer pants they obviously thought were cool. I would assume that even those people doing the interviewing and, more important, the hiring, have some of those same misconceptions. So what I say is this: Don't leave it to chance. Don't take the easy way out and put on a standard suit. Don't take the foolish way out and hope that your hipster style will be enough to show your "personality." Make an effort to impress them and show them that you really want the job by wearing something you would not wear everyday—such as collared shirts, pants that aren't made of denim and maybe even a vest.

You get the point. But equally as important, let yourself come through.

Show them that you are an individual by putting your own stamp on whatever you decide to wear, like an awesome hat or cool scarf or an awesome pair of shoes that are not quite sneakers but not dress shoes, either.

The whole point here is take time to think about what you wear to an interview. It's not as easy as finding out what the culture is like in the agency or company with which you're interviewing and adapting to that. It's about taking the time to really find what clothes will speak to the person across the table and let them know that you are professional, passionate and perceptive.

Advertising is where business and culture meet, so that should be the same inspiration for your interview ensemble. Of course, if you don't get the job, don't blame me...blame the shoes.