One of the major concerns for college students who are beginning a new job is how to appropriately dress for the workplace. How can you be professional with style? Do you have to buy a suit? Do you have to wear a jacket? Do colors matter? To be honest, it truly depends on where you work and who you work for.

My first internship was nerve-wracking to say the least and figuring out what to wear on my first day was very difficult. My boss had e-mailed me saying the dress code in the office was comfortable professional. I struggled to pick an outfit for my first day because my boss’s dress code lingo was not very specific. As I was always told to “dress for the job you want,” I decided to show up dressed professionally and formally. To my surprise, I was overdressed and extremely embarrassed to be wearing formal attire in an office full of employees wearing comfortable and fashionable casual clothing. If I had asked more specifically what the dress code entailed, I would not have stuck out so much as the “new” person in the office. Although I was embarrassed about my first-day look, my first day on the job was exciting and eye-opening.

It taught me a few things:

  • Make sure to ask questions in order to clarify for yourself when it comes to figuring out how to dress for a job or an internship.
  • Don’t be scared to ask your direct boss or supervisor specifically what employees wear.
  • Research the company’s social media pages and see what employees actually wear. Try to find some pictures.
  • Have a jacket or tie in your car or bag so if you need to make a quick upgrade to your professional gear you are prepared.

Always know the Career Center is here to help you succeed! If you have any questions please feel free to make an appointment with one of our counselors at 220 Hendricks Hall or call us at 541-346-3235. We would love to help!

Emily Fine
UO Advertising Major, JR