Would dressing in jeans and a t-shirt be appropriate considering the following email response when setting up the interview

See you then. Our dress code is pretty casual (jeans/ts)

To clarify the type of position, I'm a software developer.

This is a fairly new company about 2 years old, and in the gaming industry (VR and consoles).

  • 1
    Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/1291/…
    – Vylix
    Jun 10, 2017 at 1:00
  • It sounds like the remark about the dress code was in direct reference to what you should wear to the interview, since it follows "See you then". But we haven't seen the full context. Is it possible that it was a reference to what employees wear to the office on a daily basis? Jan 9, 2019 at 22:24

5 Answers 5


I always found that dressing 1 level above what is normal attire sends a respectful message. Maybe it doesn't matter, but it could indicate respect at their time and interview. Dressing way over is usually too intense and makes people feel awkward.

In this case like a collared shirt and some slacks or something would be what I would wear. You might do jeans and a collared shirt if you want, but I would make sure they are nice jeans and not painting jeans or anything.

  • Thanks, I will probably go this route. My plan was originally for business casual, but the email threw me for a loop.
    – TigerChan
    Jun 10, 2017 at 1:44
  • @Nuku Sometimes I find they do that to see what you will do, other times it's completely genuine and they don't actually care. Always better to err on the safe side.
    – mutt
    Jun 10, 2017 at 1:49
  • however! it turns out it's in the games (indeed "VR") "industry", so .....
    – Fattie
    Jun 11, 2017 at 15:19
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    howdy @skymningen - yeah I just didn't know the best term ("sector") etc. Yes, the games business is huge; some people don't realize games passed the movie industry ("industry" ?!) I believe way back in 2000?
    – Fattie
    Jun 12, 2017 at 10:48
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    Have you ever worked in, or interviewed for, a job in the Games industry, mutt? Jan 9, 2019 at 14:00

The (currently) accepted answer has good advice for general interviews/work, but it is not appropriate for a game developer role specifically.

I would wear a suit to interviews for any other kind of job but for games, specifically, I'd wear jeans and a t-shirt or hoodie (both clean and in good condition, without potentially offensive slogans). Wearing a suit is okay, because it meets general interview respect standards, but dressing casually is better because it marks you out as fitting into the culture normal in games studios. I would absolutely avoid "business casual" as that is an awful fit for the games culture, especially so for a recent start-up.

That said, it's unlikely to be a make or break factor. Games companies usually care a lot more about what you can do than what you look like, so dressing in what makes you feel most comfortable for an interview may be a bigger factor than the impact of your clothes anyway.

(Note: I worked in computer games for over a decade).


Don't wear jeans or a T-shirt! Please! Don't wear dress pants either. I have a lot of experience working in business casual environments. Yes, once you're on the job, go for it. Heck, where I work now, anything goes. But for the interview, khakis or any other non-dress pant will do. For the shirt: a polo, a sweater, or a dress shirt without a tie will do. No sneakers either.

Also, does the company know that you know the dress code is business casual? It probably doesn't matter but, on the off-chance it does, you don't want the interviewer thinking, "is this how this guy presents himself on interviews?"

Good luck with the job!

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    Given that it was in the original email, I'd say they know.
    – Erik
    Jun 11, 2017 at 6:57
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    Given that is was in the original email, I'd say they actually try to ask you to wear jeans and t-shirts in a hidden, non-offensive way. ( "Overdressed people don't match our culture").
    – skymningen
    Jun 12, 2017 at 9:45
  • quite right, @skymningen. indeed it was later revealed that this is a console-VR-entertainment shop, which, perhaps, sets an even stronger tone.
    – Fattie
    Jun 12, 2017 at 10:48
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    To be fair, if they specifically mention jeans and tshirt in the email, I'd see no issue actually going in jeans and a tshirt.
    – Magisch
    Jun 12, 2017 at 13:26
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    You got this wrong. Business casual is not casual. Overdressing absolutely sends the wrong impression, especially when they basically instruct you what to wear.
    – user42272
    Jun 13, 2017 at 6:28

The OP has now mentioned that this is for the games "industry", and indeed for a VR, indeed console, shop, which is two years old.

Dressing for the games industry can, in extreme cases, be a minefield...it's an interesting topic.

Many small (but relatively incredibly successful) companies are started by a few guys who got lucky with an app, made literally millions, drive Ferraris, and then for the first year or two after that (likely foolishly) think they can start a "company" and duplicate the success.

In that case you may have to dress and look like Joe Walsh, "Notch", or the like. The I'm-a-badass-genius "rich-but-ratty" look.

Bear in mind that it's not impossible, you will walk in to a shop like that.

In other cases, remembering that amongst the technically difficult parts of game engineering, it's the hardest software engineering ... so you may want to look like one of those mathematician geniuses in a Spielberg movie who knows what tensors are. Wear a totally unassuming short-sleeve work shirt, type of thing. You're all brain.

The "console industry", at least in Japan, is personality-driven, so the folks you're going to meet see themselves as and look towards this sort of guy.

How would you dress to interview with Itagaki?

enter image description here enter image description here

Excellent short reference article (a little dated) on the personal style of the famous console programmers in Japan.

{Aside, for an excellent insight in to the Japanese game scene and the personality cult thereof, in English, watch the otherwise rather hokey "imagine-nation" on NHKTv, which is freely available online at nhk.or.jp.}

VR! At the time of writing, VR defines frothy and bubbly. It's the latest fad in a fad-driven business.

{If you're reading this in a few years you'll be saying "oh, that was that 'headset thing' right?"}

It's possible that if they've had success with a VR title or a contract, they see things as pretty rosy and bubbly, and things are pretty rosy and bubbly.

Given all this and particularly that the guy actually explicitly mentioned it to you, there is a real chance that you'll walk in and find the sort of shop where the principals have fancy cars, everyone looks "creative", and the slighty rock-star "rich but ratty" look is going on.

It's the kind of "skater-successful-programmer" look - you know?

So don't worry about it but be aware you may run in to folks who think they are, and who indeed are, pretty "cool" - after all, it sounds like it's a successful "VR" shop and that's the single bubbliest, frothiest thing at the moment.

Do not go overboard trying to be or look cool. If you have a "cool t-shirt" that you've had awhile (not a new one you went out and bought so as to be cool), wear that.

Remember that understated always works and is safe in a "cool" setting. (I feel like I'm writing for GQ.) A completely plain Haines gray tshirt or a ten dollar wrangler button shirt.

If you wear something cool or artistic, like that new commes-des-garcons shirt you just bought, and you don't "pull it off", it's a disaster. (If you can pull it off and you do commonly wear your commes-des-garcons shirt, you're golden.)

As always with clothing, shoes are the most difficult: you can easily "give away" the wrong vibe. Remembering that the theme is a "rich hippy" vibe, a suggestion might be those expensive sports-like sandals popular today (but old, used). But again, only if you're totally comfortable and relaxed in them.

Stepping in to a "cool" situation - if that's what it proves to be, it may just be a few totally "everyday" folks sitting around programming PCs - but there's a real chance it might be - is actually pretty tricky, you have to handle it delicately. Don't forget that understated always works and is safe in a "cool" setting.

(If you are in fact, by coincidence, a skater or surfer or Rasta, you're all set.)

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    This answer is so incredibly off-the-wall and incoherent. Aside from being hard to follow, you make so many assertions about what is "cool" in the world of VR gaming. If anything is true, no matter what the industry, it is that every company is different. Standard rule for every job is to come slightly overdressed to the interview and first day of work, and then adjust based on what you see. This isn't a fashion show - it's a job interview. As long as you are presentable and can do the job, what you're wearing doesn't really matter.
    – David K
    Jun 12, 2017 at 12:28
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    @DavidK "As long as you are presentable and can do the job, what you're wearing doesn't really matter." really isn't true; if you're too far off the expectations for the company you are visiting, that WILL have impact. (But I agree with the rest of your comment)
    – Erik
    Jun 12, 2017 at 13:26
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    @Fattie Don't know about typical, but I've been in one before (Friend of mine that worked there showed me around). There was no indication there other then words on a meeting room whiteboard that this place had anything to do with gaming. In fact the people there wore mostly business casual.
    – Magisch
    Jun 12, 2017 at 13:35
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    Given how much text you've got here, it's somehow impressive that you've gone out of your way to avoid actually answering the question. And you're not really making any sense. When you own a company, one of the benefits is that you can dress however you damn well please because you're the boss. How is that in any way relevant to the OP's question?
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 12, 2017 at 18:45
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    @Fattie You're bringing up specific famous people known for an eccentric and definitely not business-like style. These people can wear whatever they want because of the success they've achieved and the fact that they own the place where they're employed. Just because Itagaki gets to wear shades indoor and brandish a katana, that doesn't mean all his employees get to do the same thing. So all that is entirely irrelevant to the question being asked here. I'm not annoyed or trying to be purposefully rude, but I am criticising your answer.
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 12, 2017 at 19:58

I'd never consider such lines about them being casual about dress to apply to a job interview. You're there effectively as a sales person for a company trying to sell them pretty expensive services on a long term contract, dress the part.

That means a suit, though no tie and maybe sneakers instead of loafers. Take a good quality shoulder bag instead of an attache case to carry your notes and other papers in.

That way you give the impression of someone who's professional but knows he's visiting a place less insistent on formality than a bank.

  • If they say "t-shirts" and you show up in a suit, there's a good chance you'll be dropped from consideration almost immediately.
    – Erik
    Jun 13, 2017 at 10:13
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    @Erik I read it as a statement of what they wear internally, not how they expect you to show up. I've spent a lot of time in consultancy, you ALWAYS wear a suit during first contact with a customer as you're effectively selling yourself and your company. That's the same as a job interview. What you wear after you start working for them depends largely on the corporate culture with the customer, what you wear during the interview process doesn't.
    – jwenting
    Jun 13, 2017 at 10:26
  • It depends on the company. I've worked for some where anyone coming to an interview in a suit would have almost no chance of passing even the first interview.
    – Erik
    Jun 13, 2017 at 10:30
  • If you're being interviewed by some sort of business person, the suit can be a good idea. If you're being interviewed by a hiring manager, it sends the wrong message. To a geek, a suit is what you wear when mandatory (and it isn't here) or when you don't have confidence in what you've got and want to cover it up. Jan 9, 2019 at 18:06
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    @DavidThornley depends entirely on the company. Place I work now, nobody wears suits, including the CEO and CTO, for example. When contracting with Cap Gemini a long time ago, everyone was supposed to wear a suit at all times, even junior tech support staff manning the telephones and never seeing a customer.
    – jwenting
    Jan 10, 2019 at 4:38

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