July 12, 2011

What to Wear for the Summer Internship

It can get pretty HOT in the summer. So how do you keep cool, while still looking professional?

Luckily, most offices have air conditioning so you can continue wearing long pants and long sleeves without a problem. In fact, I find that the biggest problem is not keeping cool at work, but rather keeping cool during my commute, and keeping WARM at work! When it's 60 degrees inside and 90 degrees outside, it's difficult to dress for both. I find the best solution for this is to dress in layers during the summer. I often wear a tank top to work but I always keep my shoulders covered with a suit jacket (which I have in short sleeves, 3/4-length sleeves, and long sleeves). After work, I can then take off my jacket, and I'm ready for the summer heat.

Admittedly, though, I have an abnormally high tolerance for heat and a low tolerance for the cold. So, for those of you who start feeling uncomfortable once the temperature reaches 75 degrees, the jacket tip may not do the trick. So what else can you do?

First of all, before showing up to work dressed for the beach, I would take a look around the office and see how the other employees are adjusting to the summer heat. In order to best judge what's appropriate to wear, try not to just look at what the other interns are wearing but rather what the full-time employees are wearing (good rule of thumb: always dress one-step above your position!). There will probably be a bit of variation as some people tend to always dress well whether or not it's necessary while others may consistently under-dress. Use your best judgement to find the mid-point of what's acceptable to wear and use that to guide your style.

If you would wear it to the beach, it's probably not okay for work, no matter how casual your office is. Save the flip-flops, the short shorts, and the sleeveless tops for the sandy shores. If you've determined that shorts are acceptable to wear, keep them long (to the knee is ideal) and I would avoid blue jeans, which is considered to be more casual than khaki or darker fabrics. Girls, of course, may wear skirts or dresses but again make sure they are long (also at least to the knee). In general, choose clothes made with loose, light-weight fabrics.

Besides carefully selecting your wardrobe, you can also take periodic breaks to go to the bathroom and get a damp paper towel to put on your forehead for a couple minutes or to wipe away any sweat. And on the note of sweat, don't forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Katie Hazard | Digital Artist, User Experience Designer
khazard@internlikearockstar.com | @katie_hazard
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