I know startups are casual but I want to make a good first impression. What's the right way to dress without being too stuffy?


Sort comments by: 
last year

Good question! This is something that I struggled with the first time I interviewed at a startup as well. But having gone through the process and actually now having interviewed a lot of people as a startup hiring manager, I think I can give you some advice.

First of all, its obviously better to be overdressed than underdressed as a general rule. Also consider your audience (i.e. what position you are interviewing for and where your hiring manager used to work). If you're going for a sales or investor relations position, you might want to dress up more than for a product position for example.

What I would stay away from: Business professional (i.e. full on suits, fancy ties, cuff links, etc.) Sport coat and slacks is probably still a little formal, but acceptable Any intense heels as a woman

What I would wear/have seen people wear: Slacks/nice jeans with a casual dress shirt Slacks/nice jeans with a polo Nice jeans with a sport coat Stick with the dress shoes (instead of sneakers) Chunky sweaters or fun/colorful blazers for women Skirts/slacks/dress with modest heels

The biggest take away I would give though is that an interview has much more to do with a person's personality than what they wear. As long as what you wear isn't completely outlandish, the primary focus should be having a friendly, open and non-"stuffy" attitude.

Hope that helps!

last year

Hey Emily,

I was not expecting this, and I really appreciate the detailed response.

One other question: if the company I'm interviewing at sells shirts with the company's name on it, would I look desperate if I came in with that shirt on?

last year

Hmm... that may be a little much :P. Again, the best way you can show interest is to demonstrate that you know a lot about the Company and ask pertinent questions about the Company and the role you are applying for.

last year

Got it. Will definitely wear a button up and nice dark jeans. I've had a ton of debate with friends so it's awesome to get this stuff cleared up.

More Posts You Might Like


Huttle is a community for career advice that helps you find your next job.
Create an account to get help, read advice from other successful professionals, or get notified when new jobs are posted!