From life-guarding to working in retail at the local mall, there are endless opportunities for those of us looking for quick summer cash. However, as we grow older it becomes necessary for us to put a little more time and effort into choosing summer jobs or internships that will help us grow and experiment in our future career plans. For those of us that have worked hard and found the perfect (or maybe even not so perfect) internship, it’s time to buckle down and get a little more serious. Things that may not seem like such a big deal now, like arriving early and looking put together day in and day out may mean the difference in a recommendation or job offer in the future.
There are three main categories of work wear: casual, business casual, and business professional. Even for accomplished professionals the thin lines in between these categories can be blurry, so I’ve put together a few sample outfits and guidelines for getting ready.
There is a pretty big difference between casual and business casual, so make sure you are confident in exactly which set you will be expected to adhere to. Casual dress means that you are allowed to wear almost anything. Jeans, simple t-shirts, longer shorts, and casual shoes are all acceptable casual wear options. However, stay away from baggy jeans, sweats, and cheap flip-flops. Even though you have plenty of freedom, you don’t want to abuse it. In fact, I’ve found that it’s always a good idea to dress slightly nicer than how you are expected. This shows that you are taking your job or internship seriously and care about making a good impression
Business Casual is just a step down from business professional. Although you won’t be expected to wear suits or jackets, you should look put together and professional. Unless specifically mentioned, jeans should not be worn in a business casual workplace. Instead, stock up on slacks, nice capris, skirts and dresses. When wearing a skirt or dress, look for a length you would wear to church. While I don’t always stick to knee-length, I definitely don’t go much shorter for work.
Option One (For more conservative jobs)
When it comes to Business Professional, you should be ready to dress like a serious professional. Although the amount of freedom allowed will depend on your exact workplace, blazers or jackets are an expected part of all outfits. While professionals at the most conservative locations (like legal firms) will likely stick to darker colored suits, and minimal accessories, working people at places with more creative freedom (like advertising or graphic design agencies) will probably be incorporating bright colors and fun prints. Regardless of where your job falls on the spectrum, feel free to show your personality with fun accessories like those in the outfits above.