Professional Dress in the Workplace

It’s your first day on the job or you’re heading to an interview and you stare at your closet with no idea what to wear. Men have it easy, a suit and a button up is the only option. But us girls have too many options it seems. Is this skirt long enough? Is this top too revealing? Do I need to wear panty hose? Are these heels appropriate?

If you’re asking yourself these questions rather than throwing on what you usually wear out to the bars, you’ve got the first step right.

My summer internship and my current internship are both small companies with very little direction in the dress code department. Especially in Portland, a more lax dress code is common in a corporate setting.

Over the summer, it was common for my supervisor to show up in ripped jeans and a shirt accidentally inside out, which left me very confused as to was I was expected to wear. Over the past few months, I have learned to always dress nicer than is expected of you, even if dry cleaning is required. Yes, dry cleaning takes a toll on the small paycheck that you’re getting, if you’re a paid intern, but it will always pay off, I promise.

You are dressing to impress and you never know when your boss will bring you to a meeting or move you to the front desk where you are the first person that a client sees when they walk through the door.

Emily Jaffe

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4 Responses to Professional Dress in the Workplace

  1. katshannon says:

    I completely agree that girls have too many choices that it seems the wrong choice could happen more easily. I have found it very comforting to over-dress the first week or so, giving yourself time to experience and understand the dress code. However, I love comfort so if there is a more relaxed-professional dress code where you work I say take advantage and be comfortable at work!

  2. Troy says:

    I’ll agree here, only because I used to work at Nordstrom and saw every day the difference in dress. Men really only get creative with ties and watches, keep it clean. As far as my internship goes, it’s great. Nobody expects an unpaid REPORTING intern to have the paper for suits or ties or deodorant (what?). Just know that I make up for that with a pretty sweet Batman coffee mug that I take into every room. I command respect.

  3. Dressing professionally in the workplace definitely helps people take you more seriously, too. People already think of us as young students, we don’t want to enforce that idea by showing up in ripped jeans and sweatshirts. Good advice Emily!

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