By Karis Hustad, Laura Kujava, Annie Gudorf
Once you've gotten over the initial glee of landing your internship, you begin to imagine what it will be like to step into the office. You visualize your first day, brimming with confidence, intelligence and ambition, wearing... a pair of ripped jeans and a graphic t-shirt? Panicked, you start to desperately rummage through your closet, praying you have something that could pass as "business casual" (whatever that is). After tearing through your entire wardrobe, all you can find is a pair of super flared black pants and a stained white shirt, last worn at a high school band concert. Needless to say, it's time for a shopping trip.
But before you get too worried, don't feel bad. Let's face it: college dress tends to err on the side of comfortable trends over professionalism (Forever 21 over J. Crew). Starting an internship means a step away from the college life and a step toward your future career- naturally, your wardrobe will start a new chapter as well. An internship is the opportunity to learn about your chosen job field as well as how to function in a professional environment. Think of this shopping trip as the fashion manifestation of the newest bullet point on your resume.
So we have put together some of our favorite internship outfits as well as tips learned along the way. Happy shopping!
What we wear:
Casual Business. That is a more relaxed term than “Business Casual.” We are allowed to wear jeans as long as they aren’t ripped, a dressy shirt and heels or flats! Dressing up more is always welcomed especially if we are meeting with clients.
My internship has a mostly casual dress code. You can wear anything you want as long as you look presentable. I find this to be the case in most agencies. So this means I can wear nice jeans, skirts, dresses, basically anything. I typically try to dress a little nicer and either wear lots of jackets/blazers to help dress outfits up. Or if I do wear jeans, I make sure they are nice jeans, so no holes and I make sure they are a darker shade.
My dress code is technically business casual, but the dress in the newsroom ranges from jeans and hoodies to full on pantsuits, so at first I wasn’t sure where I fit into that. But generally I try to wear dresses or skirts with a nice top. It also depends on what I am doing everyday- if I’m shadowing a reporter, a flowy dress that will fly up in a gust of wind probably isn’t my best choice. I also tend to wear more earth tones- it is easier to wear a variety of colors and it looks a little more casual than sharp black and white. Plus I find those colors tend to make better day-to-night outfits.
- Mix and match. The easiest way to save money is to buy versatile clothing!
- Make your shoes comfortable, whether that be wearing flats, shorter heels or buying Doctor Scholl inserts.
- Dress weather appropriate, black is not always the best option!
- Accessories are the cheapest way to make an outfit unique.
- This isn’t limbo! Don’t go as low as you can go!! Modesty women.
- Always dress nicer than what you are supposed to.
- Where clothes that are comfortable. You need to be able to move. Being an intern you never know what you are going to be doing and you do not want to be stuck in heels when they ask you to walk ten blocks to deliver something. Always think ahead.
- Most importantly, just always make sure you look put together. What you look like at work says a lot about your personality.
- If you are allowed to wear jeans - no ripped jeans! Adults hate them!
- Experiment with color! It is summer after all.
- Wear clothes that fit you- a pair of dark jeans that fits well looks more professional than baggy dress pants.
- Keep the necklines high and the hemlines low.
- Shop at places like Target and H&M for cheaper outfit options.
And don't forget: an internship isn't a class- ditch the backpack! Laura Kujava has some advice for how to pick the perfect accessory:
- They are not too expensive so make them trendy (Can you say color blocking?)
- Make them fun and bold, and find them at H&M or Forever 21.
- Also use your purse to add color to wintery outfits, it lets you use clothes all season long which saves money!
- Buy a cute tote if you need to bring your laptop to work, so much less “Business-man” than a brief case.