Short Suits: A Cautionary Tale for Summer Interns

by Rachel Yeomans | June 13th, 2012   

By Jenn Bussell

At the launch of her fragrance at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City, 19 year-old Selena Gomez trotted out in printed Versace Shorts and bandeau top with a white Vanessa Bruno blazer.

This image gives me nightmares for a host of reasons, the most notable being my fear that college and post-grad interns around the country will think they can rock a similar look at their summer jobs. Deep breath. Now say it with me, “Just say NO to short shorts in the office.” Same goes for bandeau tops.

short suit Selena Gomez Short Suits: A Cautionary Tale for Summer Interns

People Style Watch / Credit: Rob Kim / Filmmagic

I know, I know. Short suits were all over the runways of the Spring/Summer 2012 collections. They’ve appeared on the lithe bodies of celebrities and have been splashed across the pages of top fashion mags and style blogs, as shown below.

short suits 2 Short Suits: A Cautionary Tale for Summer Interns

Photos (From Left): Glamour, The Glitter Guide

short suits Short Suits: A Cautionary Tale for Summer Interns

Photos (From Left): Harpers Bazaar, Stylelist

Sure these ladies all look lovely and have legs for miles, save for petite Kourtney Kardashian. And while you might also be the proud owner of a great pair of stems, I ask you to look very, very closely at the length of the shorts. They are a good 3-5 inches shorter than your average mini skirt and only a few inches away from what only you, your doctor, and your significant other should be privy to.

Whether this is your first summer internship or your fourth, your objectives most likely are:

  • To be polished, professional, and presentable.
  • To embrace the office culture and style aesthetic.
  • To observe and absorb as much information as possible about the industry, the company, and the day-to-day business of which you’re now a part for three glorious months.

In corporate environments such as financial, legal, consulting, and healthcare, erring apparel on the side of conservative bodes well for summer internships. Dressing the part of where you see yourself in a few short years (pun intended) ensures you’re looked upon as a colleague and not as a kid. Likewise you do not want to be perceived as overtly sexy, which short shorts and mini skirts both have tendency to do in the wrong setting.

There are two exceptions, however, to the above-mentioned advice:

  • You are interning in fashion.
  • Your boss shows up one day sporting a short suit.

But even if she (or he) gets high marks for being on trend, I still encourage you to ask if shorts are office-appropriate for someone in your role. They’ll appreciate your respect for stated or unspoken office protocol, ensuring you a spot atop the short list for permanent hires down the road. Again, pun intended.