Choose your attire...


Design & Development by Matthew Farlymn | Article by Megan Chase

Getting started.

You have been given the opportunity to temporarily work for an employer and get hands-on experience in your future field. Unfortunately, a degree is not enough for you to land your dream job, a harsh but true reality in today’s workforce. Interning is the best way for you to build a bridge between finishing college or university and gaining the job you want.

What to wear?

It is best to adhere to dress code standards and choosing the right outfit may seem like a menial task, but it is one that will pay off if you get it right. If you are not sure what the dress code is, play it safe by wearing dress pants, a dress shirt, jacket and tie. The worst case scenario is others will assume you’re taking your first day seriously, which is no doubt a good first impression.

Business attire.

If the dress code calls for business attire, this means a suit and is usually for more conservative and professional jobs, like banking, the government, a law firm, etc. Make sure your appearance is always well kept by ironing your pants and shirts, polishing your shoes, wearing a clean belt and dry-cleaning your jackets. For those of you who like to go the extra mile, you can invest in some cufflinks and a pocket square. To avoid looking like Colonel Sanders or Don Cherry, it is best to wear dark suits.

Business casual.

Quickly becoming more widespread, business casual dress is the one encountered most for college and university students. This simply means wearing a nice pair of pants and a dress shirt. Your pants can be dark coloured or khaki but should always be ironed. Business casual leaves room for a variety of shirts, including the classic and slim fits. You can complete your look with a nice pair of shoes, a clean belt and appropriate socks.

Anything goes!

Normally you do not come across internships that allow casual dress unless you’re working in research for the fields of physics, engineering, chemistry, etc. This means you can wear anything from shorts and a t-shirt to jeans and a sweatshirt.

Networking with professionals.

In any case, it is advised against dressing down for one word: networking. Meeting and networking with other industry professionals is an important part of any job and you can have a hard time accomplishing the task of selling yourself if you don’t look presentable.

Planning makes perfect.

It is important to put some thought into what you wear because it shows you take pride in not only yourself, but your work. Take note of your coworkers’ attire but still remember to dress for the job you want and not the job you have. Make sure to have clean dress shoes, a clean shirt and ironed pants.

In conclusion...

Wearing a jacket and tie depends on the industry you are doing your internship with, but it is always a smart idea to play it safe on the first day. All in all, it is pretty simple for men: find a happy medium between Don Cherry and just simply being poorly dressed.

Getting started.

You are about to embark on a journey that is all work and no pay, your internship. The way you dress is a reflection of your professionalism. You are not considered a full-time staff member, yet you are still expected to reflect the professional standards of the company and this includes their dress code standards.

What to wear?

Dress codes vary between companies and industries. One may allow business casual with the optional dress-down Fridays and another may require formal business attire every day. Regardless, it is important to be appropriate in the style of clothing you choose.

Skirts and hemlines.

Skirts should never be worn with bare legs and miniskirts are something to avoid. While shorts are a trend to be adored, not every workplace accepts them so it’s best to stick to the basics until you become more familiar with your workplace. A general rule for hemlines is to place your arms straight against the side of your body and allow the hemline to fall below your fingertips.

Pants and fit.

If you prefer pants, stay away from fabrics like ripped denim and make sure they are not too tight. Denim should only be worn as advised by your supervisor and leggings are not considered professional attire unless otherwise stated.

Button-downs and blouses.

A button-down Oxford is a safe and classic choice for a shirt and so is a blouse. Avoiding low cuts and sheer fabrics is important because you don’t want to give off the wrong idea and a plunging necklines are provocative.

Blazers on blast!

If you want to let your personality shine through then do so with your choice of cuts and patterns, especially with a blazer. You can get creative with zippers and plaid, or you can remain classic with black or navy.

Safest bet.

If you’re still unsure, a pair of black pants and a white button-down Oxford or blouse will help to keep you in your comfort zone, at least until you become used to your new environment.

Keeping up appearances.

Grooming is equally as important as what you wear. Ensure your hair is washed and styled and if you wear makeup, keep it light and stay away from the more dramatic looks. Clean fingernails, breath mints and polished shoes (your Nikes are for the gym) also aid in your professional appearance. Most workplaces are now scent-free so perfumes should be avoided.

Tattoos and piercings?

Body piercings and tattoos are seen as a form of self expression but are not always well-received in the professional world. It’s suggested that if you have them, it’s best to remove piercings and cover tattoos until you have a better understanding of the company’s policy on body art. Management can sometimes be more lenient once they get to know your personality and work ethic.

In conclusion...

The last thing to wear to your internship every day is confidence. You have already gotten through the interview process, landed the position and shown that your talent will benefit their company. Graduation is just on the horizon and this is your final frontier before entering the real world or continuing on to more education. While you won’t be considered a full-time staff member, remember that your outfit will say that you are.