From the Classroom to the Cubicle: Dressing for an Internship – How to Remain Professional while Showing Your Youthful Side

by WorkWardrobe | February 3rd, 2010   

By Jacqueline Rezak

When dressing for an internship, it is often very difficult deciding where to draw the line between youthful and unprofessional. I am here to help you solve this ever-so-challenging dilemma that us students are constantly facing. There is one thing to always keep in mind when putting together the outfit for an internship; as an intern you are being given a test run – aka proving yourself and showing them what you are made of. With that in mind, it is always better to be safe rather then sorry.

I always recommend the boyfriend blazer by Elizabeth and James, it keeps things both in style and professional. If you were to pair this boyfriend blazer with a high-waisted pencil skirt then you would be crossing the line from young student intern into CEO of the company and we don’t want to do that. So, I suggest a pair of black jeans (make sure they are solid black) or a pair of leggings, either spandex (shiny) or cotton to keep things fresh.

As an intern you will most likely be on your feet and running around most of the time. Therefore, it is very important to wear shoes that will allow you to run from the office à FedEx à Starbucks à Office Depot and back. I suggest a flat knee-high boot. If you chose the spandex leggings, suede will be the perfect contrast; if you chose denim then I would recommend a leather boot.

As far as accessories and make-up go, keep it simple. Nothing says “I am not ready for this position” like a full arm of bangles, big hoop earrings, and a truck load of makeup. Think basic; a cute pair of earrings and just a touch of eye-liner and blush will do the trick. If you are living in Chicago or somewhere else that is freezing, you can avoid the Casper the Friendly Ghost look by adding a touch of bronzer!

If you follow these guidelines you will definitely be looking youthful and professional at your internship. Always remember, you can switch up the shoes and bottoms to have a few different outfits!

6 comments
WorkWardrobe
WorkWardrobe

Thank you so much for your comment, Kelly and you raise a great point. It is very important to make sure that the blazer is thigh-length or tank top underneath for appropriate coverage – between that and the knee – high boots you are not as ‘exposed’. If you were to feel uncomfortable in leggings then solid black denim is another option. I wrote this post for those who primarily intern in the arts/ entertainment industry – I apologize if I was too generic. Again, thank you so much for your feedback!

WorkWardrobe
WorkWardrobe

Thank you so much for your comment, Kelly and you raise a great point. It is very important to make sure that the blazer is thigh-length or tank top underneath for appropriate coverage – between that and the knee – high boots you are not as ‘exposed’. If you were to feel uncomfortable in leggings then solid black denim is another option. I wrote this post for those who primarily intern in the arts/ entertainment industry – I apologize if I was too generic. Again, thank you so much for your feedback!

Kelly
Kelly

Honestly I was surprised to see leggings recommended here. My office is very casual but I still think they are too skin-tight to use a pants substitutes.

Kelly
Kelly

Honestly I was surprised to see leggings recommended here. My office is very casual but I still think they are too skin-tight to use a pants substitutes.