What to Wear?

My supervisor wears polo shirts, the VP of my department wears dresses, and one of the other interns wears ball caps. It can be near impossible to understand the “business casual” look, especially for women. How short can your skirt be? How high is too high of a heel? It’s 90 degrees out, do I seriously have to wear a bolero with this dress? Here are a few tips on how to navigate that tricky professional work wear.

  • Take an outfit you already have and dress it up. Business clothes can be expensive. Look at all the clothes you already own and see if you can mix and match them into a professional outfit. Take a spring dress you already own and throw a blazer on top- accessorize with a chunky necklace and understated earrings, and you can turn it into a business outfit without breaking the bank.
  • Take your cue from your supervisor. This can be a tough one. Your supervisor may have been working there for decades and can wear whatever s/he feels like throwing on that morning. You don’t have that luxury. The rule of thumb is you should never be less dressed than your supervisor- if she wears a blazer every day, so should you. If your supervisor is more laid back, you can also relax the dress code a bit, but always keep it professional. If you wouldn’t wear it to Grandma’s house, don’t wear it to work.
  • Dress for what you’re doing. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, there’s nothing wrong with a skirt and shirt combo. If you’re a photog, you probably want something you can bend down in. Your needs will differ by your job description.