What Not to Wear as an Intern This Summer

Here’s a guest post I wrote for My Colleges and Careers.

If you are among the ranks of college students doing an internship this summer, chances you are on your best behavior and doing everything you can to make a lasting impression. Since most colleges and universities don’t teach much about professional dress, here are suggestions of what not to wear as an intern this summer from an image consultant.

  1. Rubber flip flops. Recently voted the #1 “don’t” for what to not wear to the office, rubber flip flops are a no go (unless you work poolside). As a general rule of thumb, if you can wear it to the beach, don’t wear it to the office. Should you be tempted, just imagine the sound of your flip flops echoing down the hall.
  2. Too-Revealing clothes. Wearing revealing clothes that showcase your best features are distracting in the workplace. Too-tight clothing falls under this category as well. Make sure you have adequate ease in your clothing and save your high hemlines and low necklines for after hours. 
  3. Torn jeans. I know you spent $100 on your pre-worn jeans, but to maintain your professional image, torn jeans are best to avoid. If you want to go for a more relaxed look, go for dressy denim trousers or khaki pants that are comfortable yet professional.
  4. Graphic tees. As fun as graphic tees may be, the graphics on the front of your shirt are going to become the center of attention, detracting from you.
  5. Too big clothes. If the sleeves on your dress shirt or blazer go halfway down your hand, it’s going to look like you’re wearing your dad’s clothes. Invest the time and money to get your sleeves and pants are hemmed by a tailor so they fit you well.
  6. White socks with black shoes. Attention goes to contrast, my friend, so wearing light socks with dark shoes will attract attention to all the wrong places. For continuity’s sake, wear dark socks with dark pants and black shoes.
  7. Unpolished shoes. When you show a lack of attention to detail to your appearance, people subconsciously wonder what else you’re not paying attention to in business. A little spit and polish can go a long way to making your worn shoes look young again.
  8. Perfume. Scents are subjective, many have allergic to them, and there are some people who go overboard. Since you never know whether your favorite perfume is the same one your boss’s ex-wife wore, it’s smart to skip on scents.

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