How best to dress for an internship will vary depending on factors such as the type of internship, the culture of the workplace and of course the time of year. But like with anything, there are some general rules of thumb to observe.
For men, a clean and ironed shirt and tie paired with some smart trousers is always a safe bet. Making sure that your clothes are neat and in good condition is important, the same goes for belt and shoes, a lick of shoe polish will help you look smart, and you should make sure that the colour of your socks matches your shoes. Jeans and baseball caps should stay at home, and if you wear jewellery, keep it minimal.
For women, make sure that neck lines aren’t too low or skirts too high as this can give off the wrong impression. Blouses, shirts and formal dresses make for good, comfortable daily wear in the workplace. Tights also come in handy, ensuring that your outfit isn’t overly revealing and also helping keep you warm. Make sure also that you wear smart and comfortable shoes with a sensible heel.
What to wear for the interview
It is not always necessary to wear a full suit to an interview, whatever you wear the aim is to look polished and professional to help give off the right impression, which is everything in an interview situation! With this in mind, it is good advice to avoid any extremes such as garish colours or overly textured and patterned fabrics or patterns. Keep it neutral and classic.
A shirt and tie with smart trousers and polished shoes for men and a stylish blouse and smart trousers for women is a simple and classic approach that always goes down well. If it is a more casual role that you are going for, a sweater over a buttoned-down shirt can work well for men, and for women, a formal looking dress with tights and smart shoes is a good option.
Suitable attire for the first day
It’s always a good idea to dress a bit more formally on the first day, erring on the side of going in more formal rather than too casual is the recommended approach. The first day is a great opportunity for you to gauge the dress code of the workplace by observing what all the other employees are wearing. Bearing in mind that if you are in a corporate environment, the dress code may depend on the position or role of the employee in question, so those higher up in leadership or management positions are likely to dress more formally than the other employees.
It is also advised to take a backpack or computer case on your first day so you are prepared to carry any extra work items you may get given on the job, similarly a journal or notepad and pen is important so you can jot down any notes, keep track of your performance and keep yourself organised.