Interviews can be rather scary, so it's best to be as prepared as possible before the big day. Deciding what to wear to an interview is difficult enough, but deciding what to wear to a startup interview can be a challenge. Picking an outfit for an interview at a large, established company is easy enough – you can choose to find out a little about the company and discover what their dress code is, or you can play it safe with a smart, professional ensemble. When it comes to a startup, there's no playing it safe and this mindset likely extends to their workwear.
Startups push boundaries, experiment, and try new things. People who work at startups often reflect these values and are rule breakers and risk takers. Trying to translate this into clothing is a tricky business, especially when you have no idea what their office dress code is, and in fact, whether they have one at all. You don’t want to turn up to an interview in something ridiculously formal while everyone else, including your interviewer, is rocking jeans and T-shirts. Conversely, it would be a little awkward to attend an interview wearing overalls and sneakers, while the folks who work at the startup sport suits.
So here are a few pieces that tread the fine line between smart and casual, plus options of what to rock to different types of startup interviews.
1. The Foodie Startup
Drive-In Force Dress, $74.99, Modcloth
If you're wanting to work in a street food truck startup, a shirt dress is the way to go, as it makes a nod to vintage uniforms of waitresses and serving staff.
Fast Food Pins, $15, Topshop
Jazz up your plain shirt dress with these cute fast food pins.
It's An Inspired Taste Dress, $119.99, Modcloth
For those wanting to really make an impact at a foodie startup, pick this cute, colorful dress and pair it with a blazer or cardigan in the same color as your favorite food featured in the print.
2. The Fashion Startup
Tie-Front Jumpsuit by Boutique, $160, Topshop
Fashion startups will likely want employees who are on trend and unafraid to take fashion risks. This cool jumpsuit worn with a pair of colorful court shoes will fit the bill.
Jumpsuit, $89.99, Simply Be
This jumpsuit is a little less edgy if you want to lean more towards a professional look.
3. The Magazine Or Blog Startup
Broderie Shirt Dress, $65, ASOS
Aspiring writers will look lovely in a dress that has an academic aura.
ASOS Curve Bodycon Dress with Contrast Collar, $49, ASOS
This LBD has a cool, contrasting collar which will make the wearer look like a preppy pro.
4. The Corporate Startup
Dress with Frill, $49.90, Zara
This simply chic LBD needs no bells and whistles to make a statement at a corporate startup interview.
Sheffield One Button Blazer, $119.90, Eloquii | Sheffield Straight Leg Pant, $89.90, Eloquii
A stylish, black suit is a classic piece for a corporate interview. Add a colorful shirt to set yourself apart from the other candidates.
5. The Tech Startup
Marisa Faux Leather Pencil Skirt, $26, Boohoo
Lend your look a contemporary feel with this cool, grey leather-look pencil skirt.
ASOS Curve Shift Dress With Cage Sleeve, $49, ASOS
Keep your ensemble simple but with an edgy twist. This cage sleeve shift dress is perfect for a tech startup interview!
6. The Gamer Startup
Name Of The Gamer Dress, $79.99, Modcloth
This Pac-Man inspired frock will ensure you make a fabulous entrance to your interview.
ASOS Curve Blouse In Oversized Contemporary Print, $59, ASOS
A blouse with a pixelated style print will help you to nail some smart casual vibes.
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7. The Beauty Startup
Vanessa Lipstick Black Wiggle Dress, $56, LindyBop
Show the folks at a beauty startup that you're no beauty school dropout in this rad, lipstick print wiggle dress. Available in sizes XXS to 6XL.
8. The Pets Startup
Wear this puppy print shirt with some smart, black jeans to prove you're a serious animal lover with a sense of humor. Available in sizes S to 4X.
9. The Alcoholic Beverage Startup
Time After Time Feather Trim Mini Dress, $78, NastyGal
Wow bosses at high end beverage companies in a cocktail dress with a feather trim. Dress it down with a black blazer, tights, and court shoes.
Collectif Jo Atomic Cocktail Cardigan, $50, Sour Puss Clothing
Gals applying for jobs within micro breweries or startup spirit distilleries can finish an interview outfit off with a cool, cocktail embroidered cardigan.
10. The Charitable Startup
Whatever charitable theme the startup supports, get behind it too with a relevant tee. This shirt would be appropriate for a wildlife, vegan, or animal activist startup.
Vaute A-Line Skirt In Midnight Satin, $83.30, Vaute Couture
Let your tee do the talking and pair it with a skirt in a complementing or contrasting color. This skirt is from Vaute Couture, an awesome high-end vegan designer label.
11. The Wellness Startup
Leonore Dolman Crop Top, $58, NastyGal
This top is yoga instructor in the front and appropriate office attire in the back, with its sophisticated bow tie back.
ASOS Curve Wrap Front Minimal Blouse In Crepe, $46, ASOS
An off-duty ballerina style wrap top is a great option for a wellness startup interview.
Whatever startup you find yourself in, make sure you tailor your interview outfit to the specific industry. This way, you're sure to shine out amongst the other candidates who went for a plain, white shirt and black pants combo.
Images: Courtesy Brands