Here in the Northeast, we’re breathing a collective sigh of relief that the weather’s finally starting to warm up. Summertime has arrived, and that means one thing for us career-minded folk: the start of summer internships.
Chances are, that internship you landed will mean less days soaking up the sun and more days cooped up in the office. Still, you’ll want to lighten up your attire to accommodate climbing temps (or at least dress more sunshine-y). But in the working world, rockin’ Ray Bans, Hawaiian T’s, and swim trunks just won’t cut it.
Whether you’re gearing up to embark on a three-month long assignment or navigating your first summer internship in the corporate jungle, your appearance does matter. It’s easy to hide behind winter staples like cardigans and trousers, which lean towards conservatism. But “dressing for the position you want” really applies in summer, when professional wardrobe mishaps happen much more frequently.
No two companies are alike, and some policies are more relaxed than others, but there are some general recommendations that’ll get you through the dog days of summer without looking like you’re off to the beach.
Your absolute Dont’s include:
- Flip flops
- Short hemlines
- Low-cut shirts
- Untucked shirts
- Spaghetti straps
- Sheer fabrics
*Walking shorts have had a revival as of late. They can look professional, but it’s wise to run it by HR before wearing them.
Depending on your organization’s dress code, you can get away with some summer basics, like sandals or boat shoes, collared polos, capris, and skirts. There are also ways to side-step some stricter rules without ending up on the unemployment line – opt for seasonal versions of classic pieces, like lightweight khakis or colored denim (which looks more polished than your standard blue jean); layer for versatility, such as wearing camisoles underneath a low-cut blouse; and be smart. You don’t have to turn your filing cabinet into a dresser, but keeping two or three blazers at the office makes sense for times when you need to up your style game.
It’s always best to check with HR regarding dress code, but it’s also good to take a cue from some of the office vets. After all, their wardrobe choices probably had some influence on their career, and they wouldn’t be where they are today if they had dressed inappropriately. At the risk of sounding like a conformist, there really is no better indication of workplace decorum than what everyone else is doing.
Don’t let casual Fridays spill over to laid-back Mondays. By keeping in mind these no-sweat tricks to dress for success this summer, you’ll not only maintain a professional look, but also let others know you value yourself and the work you do. And who knows? Your garment choices could be the deciding factor between you and another candidate!
About the Author:
Suzanne De Vita is an online editor and content producer. Exceptionally vocal, she’s often found belting “The Star-Spangled Banner” or chanting “Roll Tide!” at her television. Her greatest loves are The Temptations, barnyard animals and cajun cuisine. She’s contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul and the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans, and received her BA from Quinnipiac University.