How to Dress for an Internship

Dressing for an internship is nothing short of a challenge for a college student. The perfect balance between dressing according to ones age while also looking professional is something most people are unable to master. Read on to find out how to dress appropriately for your internship, based on where you are working.

An internship is a sticky sartorial situation: you have to look professional and put-together but maintain a college student’s style and budget. An internship, for most students, is the first step into the professional world. It is easy to feel lost in this new world and looking the part is a tried and tested way to feel more confident. Read on to find out how to navigate through the complicated world of dressing appropriately for work.


While interning at an investment bank, a consulting firm, a government agency or a big-time company- In the aforementioned work environment, you will see a lot of people in suits. However, suits can be stuffy and look unnecessarily formal for an intern. Since you’re not a full time employee, you don’t need to walk around looking like Hilary Clinton every day. If you are buying a three-piece suit, ensure that you coordinate it with polished-separates and keep your accessories simple and professional.

Corporate Dressing while interning at a high-flying company like Ernst and Young. A pencil skirt or a pair of trousers in the summer, and an added jacket of bold color in the winter would add a pop of color without looking too garish. It is important to stick with simple cuts and solid colors, and not to go too crazy with the accessories. A neutral side bag and a simple watch to keep the bold jacket under control would look impressive.
Heels aren’t necessary to compliment your corporate image. Instead, remain firmly planted on the ground with a pair of loafers. Black or nude closed toe kitten heels are another comfortable and stylish alternative.


Business casual styles of dressing are typically seen in office environments like that of marketing, public relations, management, advertising, education. Business casual can be tricky for new interns since there are no set guidelines to this dress code. In general, however, business casual can be understood as a slightly less formal version of professional dress.
Unlike in a corporate environment, a business casual dress code gives you the chance to display your personal style. But that doesn’t mean you can waltz into the office in your worn-out denims. Khaki’s and button downs paired with loafers or a formal dresses and neutral shrugs are safe bets that can help you ace the business casual look.

Business Casual Styles while interning with the media– For an internship in the field of journalism and the media, you need to be prepared for a fast-paced work environment in which you will have to deal with deadlines and researching. You can get the business-casual look by wearing something casual like jeans, and pairing it with something a bit more structured, like a tailored jacket in winters. For the summer, a simple white shirt worn in a relaxed state by keeping the top button undone or wearing a more casual knit tie with it, along with trousers or semi-formal skirts is ideal. What is also useful about this combination is that it can be elevated to business attire for a last minute meeting with the addition of a tie kept in your desk drawer and a blazer thrown over top. Flat sandals are acceptable but interns need to stay away from the rather informal flip-flops.

Casual and comfortable clothing can be worn while doing research, working in start-up or while working with kids- With a casual dress code, you can wear denim, flats, and skirts, but it is not true that all the rules go out of the window. Interns would still need to keep their look polished if you they to be taken seriously on the job.

Casual work outfits while interning with NGOs- In such casual work environments, the focus is on your job and not your wardrobe, and you will probably be working long hours. However, casual doesn’t mean sloppy. A comfortable pair of jeans and a casual shirt or t-shirt would make you appear put-together for the job in summers, without appearing stuffy. In winters, the addition of a dark coloured lightweight jacket would make you appear ready to embrace the nuances of work that come with a casual-work environment.

Feature Image Credits:
MM LaFeur
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

A soon-to-be third year Commerce student at Jesus and Mary College. Can be found browsing quizzes on Slideshare or re-reading the Harry Potter series for the nth time. To discuss the insipidness of life or if in need of any assistance, drop a "hi" at vijeatab@dubeat.com. (fun facts and interesting leads are always appreciated)

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