Dress for success

By: Brianna Brugel

            You know the attire at Internship Fair is business professional, but what exactly does that mean? This dress code isn’t something most college students are familiar with, we are used to wearing sweatpants and faded jeans. As a college student transitioning into the professional world, it can be difficult to decide what is appropriate to wear. We don’t want to look overdressed, but we also don’t want to look too casual. With Internship Fair right around the corner, it’s easy to become intimidated by the dress code. Follow these tips to dress for success!


            First impressions are crucial. Make sure your clothing is clean, fits appropriately and is nicely pressed. You don’t want to be wearing wrinkly ill-fitting clothing because that can make you look unprofessional to the employer.

            Men should usually opt for a suit, preferably in a traditional color such as black, gray, or navy. For your undershirt stick to lighter colors, this will create a slight contrast with your suit. For ties try solid colors, don’t wear extreme patterns or bright colors that will draw to much attention. If you don’t have a suit, dark slacks with a light colored dress shirt and tie is the next best thing.  

            Pantsuits are a good option for women. Should you decide to wear slacks make sure they are not too tight, nor too loose. If you decide to wear a skirt, really pay attention to the length. It is important that your skirt ends either at the knee or just above the knee. This not only looks more professional, but also ensures that your thighs will be completely covered while sitting down. For a blouse look for something that complements the suit. A little pop of color can be appropriate but nothing too flashy. Make sure the blouse has a high neckline; you want to avoid anything that may be too revealing.  If all else fails, a nice pair of slacks or a skirt and an appropriate blouse will work.


            When looking for the perfect internship fair outfit, shoes are often overlooked. Shoes play an important role in your attire. An appropriate pair of shoes can make you look more polished and put together.

            A dark polished loafer will do the trick for men. Make sure the shoe is free of scuffs and doesn’t show excessive wear. It’s important to wear dark socks that match your pants as well. Try to wear socks that reach your mid-calf to ensure that no skin will be showing should you decide to sit down.

            Women can wear either a heel or a flat, both however should be closed-toe. Find a neutral color that matches your attire. If you choose to wear a heel make sure the heel is 1-3 inches you don’t want it to be too high. Keep in mind that you want to be comfortable and look natural. If you have a difficult time walking in heels, it is better to wear flats instead. This way you will not only feel more comfortable, but you will look more comfortable too. As for what to wear under the shoe, look for sheer nude hosiery. Don’t worry, hosiery can be purchased in various lengths so it won’t feel like you are wearing tights underneath your pants. Hosiery simply gives you a more polished look by concealing exposed skin while still having a skin like appearance. Make sure your shoes are free of scuffs and don’t show excessive wear.


            Accessories are an important part of any outfit, whether it is a piece of jewelry or a watch. Oftentimes, we view accessories as the finishing touch. They can make or break an outfit. However, when dressing in business professional attire less is more when it comes to accessories.

            A watch can be appropriate as long as it looks professional and matches your attire. If you need to wear a belt make sure it matches your outfit, don’t wear a belt that draws attention.

 Keep it simple. You don’t want to wear anything large such as long necklaces, dangling earrings or large rings. You also don’t want to be able to hear your jewelry. Clinking jewelry can be very distracting to both you and the employer. It is recommended that you wear minimal jewelry, should you wear any make sure it is conservative and not too flashy.

Personal Appearance

            Your personal appearance is just as important as what you are wearing. Potential employers are going to be looking at you as a whole package. Make sure you look your best and feel your best.

            It is important that your hair looks well kept. If you have long hair make sure it is combed and pulled back away from the face. Employers want to be able to see your eyes. As for facial hair make sure it is well groomed. Scruffy unkempt facial hair can make you look less professional. Your fingernails should be clean and trimmed. Cologne should be avoided; often time’s cologne can be overbearing and unpleasant. Everyone’s preference on fragrance is different so it’s better to be safe and avoid wearing it. You may decide to cover any visible tattoos as well.

            For women: Make sure your hair is done, don’t show up with wet or uncombed hair. You don’t need to do anything fancy with it, but running a straighter through it or throwing in a few curls can make it look more polished. Also, make sure it’s not falling into your face. It can be distracting if you constantly have to push your hair away from your face. For makeup, keep it simple. Stick to neutral colors that match your skin tone. You don’t want to wear anything too drastic or harsh. Save that killer cat eye and bold lip for a night out and choose a more natural and conservative look instead. Nails should be clean and trimmed. Nail polish should be neutral avoid any color that will draw attention, you want it to blend seamlessly with the rest of your look.  Most importantly, don’t wear chipped nail polish. Perfume should be avoided, the scent can be overbearing to some people. You may want to consider covering up any visible tattoos as well. However, this is up to your discretion.

            With these tips in mind, you should have no problem making a great first impression at the internship fair. Keep in mind that your personality and accomplishments are the most important thing. As long as you look professional and present yourself in a professional manner, you will make a memorable impression for the right reasons. 

Posted on November 8, 2016 .