What you wear to an internship is very important because it’s how you are representing yourself to the company, and also how you represent the company to the world or clients. Everyone knows the saying, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” and it’s true. If you come to work wearing sloppy clothing, you’re not going to get the job offer, and it may affect your employers recommendations and if they will write you one. I know it can be stressful to figure out what to wear, so here are a few tips.
Don’t be a skintern.
I found this term at Slate.com, and there really is no better way to say it. As an intern, probably the most important advice you can get is to dress with class. Don’t wear mini-skirts or skin tight dresses that show off your cleavage. What’s important is the work your produce, and I know I’d rather be remembered for working hard than showing off my skin. No see-through shirts or skirts.
Do have a basic suit.
Even if your workplace has a casual dress code, it can’t hurt to dress just a little nice to show that you’re serious about your work. And for an office that has a business casual dress code, this is perfect. It’s always great to start with something basic, which you can accessorize with a small statement necklace or bracelet, without going overboard.
Don’t wear loud pieces
You don’t want to get too flashy with what you wear, but that’s not to say you should only stick with neutral or solid color clothing. Find a nice floral pattern or stripes or something, but don’t make a habit of mixing bold patterns together or wearing clothes that are too flashy or loud. It’s okay to stand out, but this is a look that is more appropriate for a runway than an office, and it’s important to look professional.
It can never hurt to ask whoever hired you about what the workplace wear is. Just like if you’re doing a project or assignment and you aren’t quite sure what’s expected of you, it looks better to ask than to make a complete fool out of yourself for doing it wrong. It shows that you want to do everything correctly and that you aren’t taking this opportunity for granted.
Don’t wear tight clothes.
This goes along with being a skintern. Your aim is to look professional, not slutty. It’s not going to impress anyone if you wear a shirt or skirt that shows too much. It will alienate other female colleagues and bring unwanted attention from male colleagues. It leaves the wrong impression. You’ll want to wear clothing that fits your body type, but be conservative. Everyone will thank you for it.
Do pay attention to your shoes.
Be wary of wearing six-inch heels. If you must, then bring a different pair of shoes that you can wear on the commute, and if you ever need to go anywhere quickly. You’re an intern after all, and you never know if you’ll be called upon to run an errand, so you won’t want to be running around in your nicest heels. If you can get away with it, wear a nice pair of flats, or you can wear low heels. Try not to wear scuffed up shoes.
Don’t wear too much make-up
This goes along with not wearing flashy make up. It makes for an unprofessional look, and that’s not how you should represent yourself or the company you work for. You can wear a bright lip if you work in a more casual place, but be sure not to pair that with a crazy outfit either. Keep the rest of your outfit and face neutral. There’s no need to be wearing runway make up in an office.
Do go with the majority.
Take the first week or so to acquaint yourself with how everyone else dresses in the office. If they are all wearing jeans, then it is probably okay for you to wear the same, but be careful about being too sloppy. If most people are wearing business casual, then you will want to follow that. The same goes for shorts. If no one else is wearing them, then I highly recommend that you don’t. And if you do, make sure they aren’t daisy dukes. You can find shorts at respectable lengths at many places. Also, if you work at a place that is a little more liberal with its clothing style, then you can be a little more lenient as well.
Here are a few pieces that can be worn, depending on what your dress code is. But none of these items show too much skin or, if worn correctly, look improper or unprofessional.