Let me preface this blog with the fact that I am not a fashion student, aficionado, or anything of that nature. Ask most people and they'll tell you that you are more likely to see me in my flannel and long underwear than a pair of heels. However, entering the work force and office life required me to rethink my wardrobe and go from college student to professional. I am hear to offer my advice as someone who is in the midst of her first real job and would choose ski pants over work pants any day of the week.
Rule #1: I have heard this tip from every adult I have talked to and every online list of 'What to Wear.' I do think it is the best advice someone can give. Dress at a level above what the office generally wears. No matter where you are applying it makes you appear serious about the position. I have actually found that my idea of 'dressing above what I expect,' generally turns out to be spot on. Also, if you dress more professionally, people tend to think you are more experienced and older than you are. Just last Friday, in the quarterly team meeting, the office found out that I am 19. There was a general surprise from the office. I was rather impressed with myself for coming off as 'mature beyond my years.' It isn't uncommon for people to ask me 'Where did you graduate from?' or 'Are you married?' I believe that the way I dressed from day one gave people the ability to put faith in me because I looked the part.
Rule #2: Don't shy away from color. Seriously. When I was shopping with my mom, my motto was 'NO FRUMPY CLOTHING.' I wasn't into the idea of an all-gray pant suit with an oatmeal colored top. Ew. What I went for was 2 pairs of slacks, gray and black, a pair of khakis for casual Friday, and a black pencil skirt. To add the color (without being obnoxious) I went for 'fun' tops. I got purples and pinks and blues and even some polka dots. The key to looking the part isn't about looking dull. It is about putting your own personal style together in a way that is minimally offensive or overbearing in the work place. As my boss says, 'I don't care if you are all tattooed and pierced outside of the office. In the office, you will be able to blend in at a Goldman Sachs Executive conference.' In the office, my boss says everything must be 'Gucci' (def: high-end, attractive, and put together.). My boss is really awesome btw. The point of this is: Don't sacrifice your personal flair just because you are going to the office.
Rule #3: Wear comfortable shoes (and learn to walk in heels.) I am currently wearing my boat shoes at my desk. a) because no one can see my feet behind my desk and b) I have heels under my desk that I can put on when the boss comes in. Now, I brought A LOT of shoes to LA. My thought: "It's Los Angeles. I'll want to wear all my fabulous heels." The reality: No one really cares about your shoes when you are sitting at a desk and I'd guess there is a 90% you are going to be hating life at the end of the day in your 5" heels. I am pretty committed to my lower heeled black shoes. Easier to walk in and they still make the fun clicking noise.I also have a pair of black sandal wedge shoes, which might not be quite as glamorous as stilettos, but they are far more comfy and I can show off my pink toe nail polish. As for walking in shoes, if you are not comfortable walking in heels, practice before hand. I have seen great improvement in my skill in the past few weeks of work. It is incredible how just walking in them regularly makes it so much easier.
Rule #4: When buying new work clothes, get things that are interchangeable. For example, I can wear my purple and white blouse and purple cardigan with any of my pants/skirts. This makes it a) easy to get dressed in the morning because it all matches and b) give me many different options which I love. I don't like to be the person wearing the same outfit to close together. It is also noted that I am probably the only person who notices my own outfit repetition.
Those are my quick intern fashion tips. Use them as you will, but they have served me well in a fancier work environment and I hope they can do the same for you. :)
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