Your resume is a work of art, you nailed your interview, and landed that dream internship. Your school is psyched, you are psyched, everyone is happy. All set? Until you remember that you had to go the extra mile to dress for that interview, and the idea of putting that much effort and thinking into your clothes every day for the next couple of months makes you want to curl up and cry. And this is where we step in. Here’s a handy guide for internships for various industries.
The corporate gig
Banks, hotel PR management, and most big corporations are big on suits.
You’ll find a lot of them. But unless you’ve been explicitly instructed to wear one, you don’t necessarily have to follow the same route.
Invest in a lot of button downs, tailored pants, and lace-up shoes or loafers (NOT your pointed-toe formal shoes). If you want to ace the internship and get a job offer, please resist the temptation to wear jeans and your gym sneakers!
Structured kurtas with tailored pants and shoes with modest heels (or dressy ballerina flats). Or an impeccably tailored shalwar kameez that’s not too long, or too short. No cleavage, or skinny jeans, but also, no floppy gowns and palazzos, no matter how trendy they are!
Marketing, PR, non-profits and academics
These fall under the “business casual” category, so the rules are a little relaxed. There’s a little more wriggle room to express yourself, but don’t get carried away.
You can break out the khakis and the dressier jeans for this one, but make sure they fit well, and are impeccably ironed. You can even make do with the “office panjabi” for this type of environment. Please pay attention to the footwear, though. Tennis shoes, loafers, sandal shoes are all good options. Flip-flops and sneakers are still a big nope.
Fotuas, kurtis, kameezes, and even the occasional cotton sari are perfectly acceptable. If you’re wearing jeans, try a regular fit and not the skinny, low-rise stuff. It’s best to invest in comfortable shoes for this type of work, and a smart, sensible mid-sized bag, because there’s a lot of walking and moving involved.
Media, fashion, and creative industries
This one’s a balancing act. The rules are relaxed, the environment is chill, but there’s also that subtle pressure to look good and keep up. The list of don’ts is what you should be considering for this type of industry.
Yes, the media job isn’t a suit job, but don’t skip the grooming, please! And no jeans with panjabi, and certainly no flip flops. Or gym sneakers. See a pattern here? Experiment with polo shirts and chinos, well-fitted kurtas, sandal shoes, deck shoes. Invest in a handy backpack or messenger bag. And don’t skip the sunscreen.
Stay stylish, but don’t go nuts either. Avoid killer heels and too much skin. Pantsuits and kimono jackets are just some cool options you can bring into your wardrobe as are wedge heels and espadrilles.
The bottom line?
Be comfortable, be polished, be professional, no matter where you’re interning, and it just might result in a job offer.