If you’re a student and you’ve just landed an internship your excitement can quickly move to anxiety. It can be difficult to jump into a corporate environment when it’s something you’re not used to, and you may be wondering what the expectations will be, what proper office etiquette is, and also, how you should dress as a summer intern.

Dressing professionally is an important aspect of being a successful intern. It sets the tone for how people will view you in the workplace, and it can also help you seem more confident and organized. At the same time, knowing what to wear as an intern can be tough, especially since many office environments have become increasingly casual.

Regardless of where you’re interning this summer, the following are some style tips to guide you in the right direction.

Think About the Industry

The industry your internship is in has a big role in how you’ll dress. If you’re in something like finance or banking, you’re probably going to have to stick with some pretty stringent fashion rules.

If you’re in something that’s more creative, such as the arts or PR, you may be able to get away with clothes that are a bit more casual, but regardless of the industry, you should never wear shorts, revealing clothes, flip-flops or items that have rips or distressing.


Interns Aren’t Exempt From The Dress Code

There’s an unfortunate misconception among many interns that they aren’t really employees of a company, so they don’t need to follow the dress code. They also tend to feel like they’re just students who are being borrowed by the company.

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Neither of these misconceptions is true.

It’s important as a summer intern to make sure that you’re not only aware of the company’s dress code policy, but that you follow it. If you’re not sure, contact a human resources representative before your first day.

Don’t Try to Stand Out With Your Clothes

When you’re a summer intern you certainly want to stand out, but not because of your clothes. Don’t try to grab the attention of your boss by dressing in an off-the-wall way, particularly if you’re interning in a very corporate environment. Instead, think about standing out because of your quality of work.

Keep your color palettes and silhouettes simple. Dressing professionally doesn’t mean you have to be boring, though. Add your own personality through simple, stylish accessories or small bits of color.

Buy Secondhand

If the thought of buying a new wardrobe for your summer internship leaves you wondering how you’ll pay for clothes, you can start exploring secondhand shops and even websites. There are often a lot of professional, work-friendly items you can find, many times for just a few dollars.

If you find some great pieces in secondhand shops that aren’t necessarily the perfect fit, you can get them tailored relatively inexpensively.

Dressing for your summer internship should be about making the best first impression and setting yourself up for success, and it can achieve those objectives by following tips like the ones listed above.