So you’ve landed a tech or startup interview after a phone interview or two. Congrats! Dressing for the part should not be complicated, but as dress codes relax, it becomes ever-so-tricky to navigate interview wear for an already informal work environment. Still, it’s an interview and you want to be polished and chic — and it’s always better to be overdressed if you really can’t pinpoint the office style.
Though it’s a little late this week for Workwear Wednesday, this was one of the most popular “what to wear to the interview” questions we received when we recently polled on Instagram Stories. Whether you’re job hunting or looking to jazz up your tech / startup wardrobe, it’s well worth bookmarking this piece or sharing with a friend prepping for an upcoming interview!
Product Management, Strategy, Tech, Startup Life…. informal, but still you want to keep it MBAchic
It’s a delicate balance you need to strike. If you show up too formal or corporate, you might seem as though you won’t be able to fit in with the tech-y / startup vibe, but you still want to show that you mean business. Too casual and you might seem like you don’t take the company or opportunity seriously. The joys of casual but professional office dressing! One way to get some insight into what the general office style is to find the company on social media – chances are there’s a company Instagram or Facebook where they’ve uploaded shots from the workplace and you can start to piece together the style there. Or, if you pop over to LinkedIn, you might even find a friend who you can message to get the inside scoop. Better yet, shoot us a DM so we can pose the question to our IG friends! Happy to help, any way we can.
We’ve rounded up eight different looks that you can rock across all sorts of budgets and body types (and would love to see the looks you recommend). As always, once you’ve nailed down the look, you can impress your future colleagues with your big ideas and plans to help take them to the next level.
Keep it MBAchic
This look is easy to put together but the impact is huge – stylish, polished and professional. This Tahari scrunch-sleeve blazer and mid rise ankle curve pant from Express come together for a sophisticated look that requires minimal effort (you might even have similar pieces already in your closet). Pair with a classic pump or stylish mule like the ones pictured and keep the hair and accessories simple and sleek.
Colorful suiting that packs a punch really takes advantage of the fact that tech and startup life is less formal than banking or financial services. These looks by REISS are beautiful (and on sale) and you know they’ll last you season after season. I’m loving that punchy pink blazer and cropped pant on the left for a more creative office, and the muted suit and cuffed pant on the right helps introduce your stylish self to a more formal environment. If you’re looking for less expensive alternatives, the entire suiting section at Express is really crushing it this season.
Keep it MBAchic
Rocking this oversized blazer by Everlane over some J.Crew high-rise Cameron pants is a great move in a relaxed environment. Depending on how you’re feeling on game day, consider belting the entire thing to cinch in the waist and change up the silhouette. It adds some interest and steps things up a bit. Just absolutely make sure it’s not too tight, and that your blouse underneath is visible. The inspo image is great but your tech or startup interview is not the time or place to tart it up. Take your cue from the company Instagram page, to see if this look would fit in, and don’t forget to keep it MBAchic.
Sometimes you just need to keep it classic with a professional black sheath. Depending on how formal the office, wear it alone like this or throw on a blazer or cardigan. There’s something so empowering about this look. We know black is slimming but the cut also helps lengthen and make you look (/feel) ten feet tall. Pair with some great heels (love the ankle strap pumps in the middle) and a structured leather bag, and you’re set. Immediately, this dress will become a wardrobe staple for you; especially for huge meetings and presentation days.
Keep it MBAchic
Amal Clooney never disappoints when it comes to workwear inspiration. We love this stylish short sleeve dress – it’s tailored but not body-con, so it’s comfortable without being too restrictive. The entire look is so polished and poised, and whether you swap out the print she has for a pop of color or a smaller print with a v-neck, you’re sure to make a great impression on your future colleagues.
A classic wide-leg denim trouser would be perfect for a tech or startup interview. For this, we took inspiration from this SimplyBe look found on Pinterest. This belted, dotted Kate Spade top with big, exaggerated sleeves is on Rent the Runway, and pairs really nicely with the High-Rise Wide-Leg Patch Pocket Jean from Banana Republic (which happens to be on sale for $59). The proportions are perfect, and everything balances each other out. The ruffle and print dress it up a bit, while the denim of the trouser keeps it grounded. Pair with a low heel or mule… whatever it takes to make the legs hit just a quarter-inch above the ground for a long and lean look.
Keep it MBAchic
The royals really offer such great workwear inspiration. Their looks are often polished and chic while being modest enough for the most conservative of workplaces. Rarely do you see a hem that hits too high above the knee. These looks by Queen Letizia of Spain and Queen Rania of Jordan inspire this grey monochromatic look. This Open Neck sweater by Frame tucked into the Ann Taylor Pencil Skirt in Graph Check easily create this long, chic column of grey for your tech or startup interview look. Pair with a grey or nude pump, or anchor things with a sleek black heel.
Again, because you’re not heading into a finance, accounting or consulting interview, you don’t need to stick to the black, navy or greys. You can turn that on it’s head and that’s what we liked about this look by Mary Orton of Memorandum. The Pencil Skirt in Herringbone at Ann Taylor (not pictured) looks amazing with either DVF’s Nami Sheer Silk-Chiffon Necktie Blouse or Brooks Brothers’ Bow-Neck Crepe Shirt tucked in. After digging into this a bit more, I think I’d personally go with the Brooks Brothers’ top. It can go with anything: suits, skirts, pants, you name it. Plus, the bow-tie is removable (two looks in one!)
Send any interview questions our way, and remember, if you have an upcoming interview and you’re having a hard time figuring out the dress code, shoot us a DM or email and we’ll pose the question to our community to see if we can get some help – let’s crowdsource this thing and get ready together.
Good luck on your interview! Not that you need it.
What would you wear to a tech or startup interview? What fashion staples or style icons do you want us to cover? Let’s collab!
Tag us in your #OOTD shots (tag #keepitMBAchic & @MBAchicblog on Instagram), or send them to us as attachments in the IG DMs. If you’re a fashion blogger, consider writing your own Keep it MBAchic piece! Any questions, shoot over a note, and be sure to visit our Pinterest page for daily inspo.