Five Tips On How to Rock the Internship Outfit

The spring semester is upon us! With the Minnesota Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair coming up, it’s time to think about scoring an internship. An easy way to make a good first impression on businesses and employers is to dress for the occasion. Here are five tips on how to look professional while still being comfortable.

1. Acquire a set of essential items

By now, you’ve probably heard of the basic professional attire: dress pants or skirt, blouse or dress shirt, and blazer or suit jacket. You’re going to need some combination of these parts. Luckily, you don’t need a whole closet-full of professional clothing. For example, you can easily wear the same suit jacket with more than one outfit.

 

2. Make sure it fits

Obviously, when you purchase or wear a piece of clothing, you want to make sure it fits right. However, this is especially important for work clothes. Going up or down one size can make a huge difference in your comfort level and appearance. Wearing pants that “mostly” fit you but are falling down constantly are going to look highly unprofessional. At the same time, clothing shouldn’t ride up or look short on you in a professional setting.

3. Get the right shoes

It’s also important to own at least one or two pairs of black or neutral shoes. You want them to be clean and undamaged, but that doesn't mean they have to be uncomfortable. Look for dress shoes that have good support so that you’re able to move around in them for several hours. Clarks has a breathable cushion in almost all of their shoes, making them a great option for heels or flats. I got a pair of Clarks’ flats at Kohls for around $35, and they’re one of my most comfortable shoes.

Clarks Kinzie Flat on DSW website; Photo courtesy of DSW.com.

Clarks Adriel Viola Pumps; Photo courtesy of DSW.com.

4. Shop second hand

There are many spots in the cities to shop cheaper. As long as what you buy fits and isn't damaged, you’re good to go. There are several second hand stores that sell professional clothing, including Goodwill, Plato’s closet, Nu Look Consignment, Turn Style and Everyday People. At any location, you can find good quality professional attire for a great price. At Goodwill, you can find decent suit jackets for under $40, compared to sometimes hundreds that designer brands charge for theirs.

Shirt and cardigan displayed on a manikin; Photo courtesy of Everyday People.

5. Dress for the weather

Don’t wear a thick sweater if you’ll be moving around a lot. Do wear layers. If it’s the middle of summer but you still want to wear a full suit, pick thin materials that breathe. Switch out cotton pieces for polyester ones if you work in a warmer office. Dressy clothing doesn’t have to be stuffy, stiff fabric.

As a general rule, don’t wear anything you are uncomfortable in. Have confidence in yourself, and good luck with interviews! If you would like more information on interview prep you can find more information on the Career Development Center’s website.