Potential interns wait for their chance to interview

Dress to Impress for Your Internship

Whether it’s your first internship or your third, landing a spot in the “real world” is exciting, and maybe a little terrifying. After pouring time and effort to your resume, applications, cover letters, and interviews, it feels amazing to get the acceptance email and “welcome to the office” spiel. But after the relief of your acceptance wears off, you may realize that starting your internship requires just as much thought and effort to make sure you make a good impression as getting the internship did. Figuring out what to wear is the first step to starting your first day on a good note.

Know Your Audience

Knowing what to wear is always about office culture, but when you haven’t experienced the office setting, it can be hard to know what that will be. For more creative fields like arts studios, ad and marketing agencies, or magazines, the atmosphere is more casual than places like law firms, government offices, consulting agencies, or corporate offices. If you’re working for one of the latter options, think modest silhouettes, classic pencil skirts, and blazers. If you’re working for someplace more artsy, then it’s usually more acceptable to wear jeans and funky blouses or heels that show off your sense of style. But, for your first day, it’s best to be cautious. A simple, chic blouse with a pair of skinny, dressy Capri pants may be a safe bet for the first day.

Get Shoes That are Made to Walk in

Especially if you live in a city (but even if you don’t), try to break in your shoes before your first day. If you want to wear heels on your first day, make sure you’ll be comfortable in them, and make sure they’re not more than 2 inches high. You never know how much walking you’ll be doing on the first day, and it looks super awkward if you’re stumbling around the office trying to keep up with your boss.

Keep it Simple

Your first day is not the time to strut your stuff. Generally speaking, avoid metallic fabrics, sequins, leather, and shiny materials. If you want to spice up a boring silhouette, accessorize with a colored cardigan or simple, but fun, necklace. Adding to a classic outfit is much better than taking a modern, flashy take on it.

If You Could Rock it at a Party, Don’t Rock it at Work

You may have been to an “office-style” party in college, but the typical attire for those parties is much different than actual office atmosphere. If your college party meant tighter is better, think the opposite for work. Hint: a business pencil skirt should not follow the curve of your legs down to your knees. You should not have trouble walking because your skirt is too tight. Button-up blouses should be loose and buttoned until your cleavage is fully hidden. Skinny pants are definitely in style right now, so they may be okay to wear, but not if they look like leggings. Leggings are not pants, no matter what the fashion world tries to tell you.

Last Updated: April 27, 2015