So, you’re all set for your first day as an intern, but you have one final dilemma: What should you wear for internships? First impressions are huge, after all. We know the age-old ‘business casual’ look with a dreary OL (office lady) blouse or suits for guys. But really, a suit? In THIS weather? We don’t think so. Although showing up for work in T-shirts, shorts, and slippers won’t cut it for most professional workplaces (unless you’re interning at a company with absolutely no dress code), that doesn’t mean you can’t be comfy in style. So here’s how you can get started on dressing up for internships!
Prior to your first day, find out whether your company has a dress code. This can help you weed out everything inappropriate in your closet, and give you a good gauge of the number of outfits you have left.
But we do know that dressing up for internships is difficult in Singapore. With your broke student status and atrocious humidity levels, you wouldn’t want to spend your whole day in a thick suit. Hence, we’ve compiled a few style tips, to keep you stylish, sleek and most importantly sweat-free.
But why is dressing up for internships even important?
Why do we keep whining about dressing up for internships (and dressing well)? Because it paint you in a favourable light – not only for others but also for yourself. Honestly, it’s not just the clothes you wear: hair, makeup and accessories count too. Crazy hair colours and flamboyant makeup might or might not work depending on the industry you’re working in and company culture.
Before you even say your first word, everyone else in the company will judge you based on your image. To portray a proper professional image, don’t turn up for work in anything too revealing. For girls, super short dresses that are in the danger zone of flashing someone should be thrown out the window. For guys, make an effort to iron the creases on your shirts, even after a wild Wednesday night out.
Yet dressing well isn’t only to make a good impression. Ever put on a snazzy set and feel like you’re on top of the world? Putting on outfits you’re #feelingyourself in can help you get into a good mood and give you a boost of confidence. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel like a boss?
Tips on dressing up for internships and how to look like the power intern you are
Dressing up for internships doesn’t have to be dreary. The top tip we have would be to inject a little bit of your personality into your outfits. Whether its a pop of colour, or a pair of cool sneakers, incorporate your sense of style into your intern garments. Here’s a few style tips we have for those gearing up for their summer or winter internship!
For the suave, stellar guys
Sleek suits for a dapper intern
Okay, we know we said suits are probably a sure-sweat situation, especially in the heat of sunny Singapore. But suits are a must-have for all men (and maybe even ladies!). If you’re interning at a bank in the heart of CBD, t-shirts and jeans don’t exactly scream ‘professional’. We suggest investing in a good, tailored suit. Make sure that the pants are sleek and tapered well to fit your frame. Wear it indoors and take it off when you head out for lunch.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that your suit will have to be strictly monochrome a la Men in Black. Experiment with colour. Blue and navy suits have been trending recently! Jazz up your supersuits with a nicely patterned tie, or a matching shirt. To combat the heat, try going for suits with linen blends. The lightweight material will give you a strong, put together professional look, yet keep you cool as a ice-pop.
Not to mention, suits will come in handy for future presentations, interviews, weddings as well as company functions!
A good ol’ collared shirt
These come in a variety of sizes and materials! For sunny Singapore, we recommend welcoming shirts made out of lighter, breathable material into your closet. If you’re working at a company with a more flexible dress code such as a startup, try short sleeve collared shirts. The options for these are endless! There are mandarin collars, vintage collars, and your usual stiff collars to choose from, amongst thousands of prints and colours.
But if you’re an intern at somewhere with a more stringent dress code, get a good long-sleeved collared shirt that will see you through the ups and downs of your internship. A good tip will be to consider a wrinkle-resistant shirt. These shirts are easy to take care off, require little to no ironing (great for when you’re in a rush), and still have you looking sleek as hell.
If you’re worried about the prices, don’t fret! Stores such as Uniqlo and Zalora offer a multitude of collared shirts that are functional. And most importantly, they won’t leave your intern wallet crying. Dressing up for internships shouldn’t bankrupt you.
Kicks to make you a shoe-in for best dressed
Other than your usual dress shoes, try some new footwear! Black dress shoes are classics—no doubt about that. But try to add a modern twist to them to spice up your look. Brown and navy oxfords or boots could add a little kick to your monochrome outfits. If you’re working for a more casual company, bring out the sneakers you’ve been hiding in your closet!
For the confident, classy girls
Pants to get down to business!
Mulan wasn’t kidding! Who said dressing up for internships meant wearing only skirts to work? Nowadays, pants are all the rage. This versatile piece makes dressing up for internships actually fun. Simply mix and match tops with culottes or cigarette trousers for a different look. Wide leg pants are also a new crowd favourite. Simply get a pair in a neutral colour such as white, and swap out your blouses and tops to achieve different looks. The best part? Pants could serve as statement pieces for you cocktail outfits as well!
Dresses and co-ords that make you feel like a #girlboss
Dresses never go out of style! Try to go for dresses that are at least mid length when you’re looking for your perfect fit. Change up your dresses with different necklines (nothing too low) and colour according to your tastes. Flowy silhouettes might also be a better choice for Singaporean weather! Not to mention, dresses double up pretty well for a date-night outfit :-).
In addition, try out co-ords. Co-ords are pre-coordinated outfits in stores that go extremely well together. Stores might sell them in a set, or separately. Overall, co-ords give off a polished look, with a consistent colour palette throughout the entire outfit. The best part? You could mix and match parts of your co-ord set to make new outfits, so you’ll essentially be getting more than the outfit you paid for.
Heels don’t have to be killer
Ugh, the feeling of sore feet after a long day at work is the worst. Sky high stilettos might look badass for about an hour, but there’s nothing badass about five blisters on each feet. Here’s a trade secret: avoid patent heels if you can. The material is usually stiff and cuts into your feet easily, not good if you’re going to be walking around in them for long hours. But dressing up for internships doesn’t mean you’ll have to stuff your poor feet into killer shoes all day!
Retire those stalker stilettos to the back of your shoe rack. We recommend opting for a mid to low heel height. These are classy, comfy and will give you a little confidence boost. And of course, they won’t kill your feet. If your workplace allows for sandals and sneakers, you’re in for a treat. There are a variety of slip-on sandals and sneakers that could either dress up or down an outfit.
Dreadful dress days no more!
Your internship should be a time where you figure out your working style, experience new challenges, and most importantly, learn as much as you can. Dressing up for internships and dressing well can help to start your day off on a good note, giving you the power to propel yourself through the day. All we have to say is, never underestimate the power of a good outfit!
Looking to plunge into the working world? Head on over to our marketplace here to check out what opportunities are heading your way.