It’s nearly the most wonderful time of the year: also known as January, the time when we start to get professional. This is when the year’s internships are starting. If you’re worried about making a good impression, you’re probably wondering what to wear and what exactly ‘smart casual’ means. It baffles most people, to be honest. However, there are some easy ways to ensure that you meet the ‘smart casual’ guidelines, within any budget and using pieces you might already have had home. Our suggestion is to prepare five fail-safe outfits which you can then rotate for as long as your internship lasts. It’s most important you feel confident, and hopefully, comfortable.
Culottes are ideal for a smart, yet comfortable, office attire. If in black, or navy as pictured here, they pair well with an Oxford shirt and suit most professional environments. Plus, they’re usually quite roomy and can be worn without the awful restrictive feeling which can plague people wearing completely tailored suits.
The shift dress is a girl’s best friend during work life. It’s comfortable, roomy and is a very forgiving shape. If you prefer keeping covered, you can buy more shapeless dresses like this one from Boohoo and pair it with a pair of smart leggings. They’re very versatile and can be paired with tights, trousers, or even bare legs (although, that might be brave in January!).
A good quality jacket is always an important investment piece for every person to own. Whilst it can be easy to buy a matching jacket and trouser combo, this tailored collared-jacket from Asos works nicely. It would fit will on anyone wearing trousers who wants to have a more fitted feel, without becoming too unprofessional.
Cigarette trousers are big on trend, paired with blazers, shawls and even ponchos; they’re very classic. It’s important to get trousers to suit your height and M&S do a great selection of cropped or tall ones if these Missguided ones don’t suit. Cigarette trousers elevate the leg shape because they cover it completely, so can be worn with flats if you don’t feel up to heels.
Finally, a blazer can also be an excellent investment for when you’re doing the winter lunch runs but don’t want to bring a coat. This longline blazer is a good example of something which covers a lot (keeping you warm) but is also professional. It fits well with ‘smart casual’ as you can layer your clothes underneath to fit a more relaxed theme.
We hope these have given you a small burst of ideas for internships. It is essential to work with what you already have and don’t feel pressured to buy a new wardrobe for the office. Most likely, people have built up and paired random pieces themselves. Our rule is to follow the ‘smart casual’ golden rule. For every smart item, pair a casual. For example, if you’re wearing suit trousers, a jumper or pullover is fine, as is not wearing a button-up shirt. Alternatively, if you’re wearing a shift dress, boots or more informal shoes will help to balance the outfit.
Best of luck to all!