polo baseball cap How to dress for a summer internship in style
“Dress to impress” might sound cliche, but it’s an age old saying worth remembering, especially for those getting their first taste of office life this summer with an internship. But for those better acquainted with the classroom than the corporate world, knowing what to wear to work (and where to find it) can be tricky for cash strapped college students or recent graduates.
Take the guess work out of a company’s dress code with these tips from style and etiquette experts you’ll be the talk of the office for all the right reasons.
Lizzie Post, co president of the Emily Post Institute and co host of the “Awesome Etiquette” podcast
Do your homework: Nowadays, there is no “this suit will work for everything” or “this dress will work for everything.” Research the company culture and dress code. That is something you can easily do by going to the company’s website and seeing how they represent themselves online or on Facebook. Or call the company and ask. It’s always a good idea to reach out to friends and family to ask what they think of your outfit if you’re not sure.
Building a wardrobe on a budget: Try eBay or second hand shops. Just be really scrupulous about finding things that have no signs of wear, and look for things that are going to work in multiple ways. A full button down shirt will work for a jeans culture, or it can go with a suit.
Learn the art of dressing up (or down): If a man is wearing a suit and gets to the office and sees everyone else is in jeans and T shirts, remove the jacket and tie and carry them. I also love using scarves for personality and warmth in chilly offices. You also can find fantastic work wear for less at Saks Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack.
When in doubt, channel Coco Chanel: There’s her old quote that says, I’m paraphrasing, “Take off one piece of jewelry before you leave the house.” I think that’s still great advice. I like to choose two pieces, and they have to be in balance. Think statement stud earrings with a thin pendant necklace or a chunky watch with small, simple gold studs.
Look the part: “You’re an intern, you shouldn’t dress as nicely as everyone there” is a misconception. The point of an internship is for the company to see how you fit in and how you mold with them. If all goes well, the goal is to get hired. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you love the company, but they didn’t feel you were professional enough. You want to be seen as the intern who already feels a part of the company. Leave everything on the table. Dress your best. Work hard.
For the sharply dressed man: The best way to show some personality will be with accent pieces. Are you wearing a pocket square, lapel pin, tie clip, nice watch, crazy socks or nice shoes? These are all pieces that catch the eye but aren’t overbearing to onlookers. It’s a subtle way of saying, “I care about my presentation.” It’s all in the details.
Pick a celebrity style muse: Chiwetel Ejiofor’s style is not too flashy but not overly conservative either. He would be a great option for young men looking to make a name for themselves in their internships.