One of the best things about college is you can wear whatever you want to class. Whether that be dressing up everyday or sticking to sweatpants and leggings, you’re free to express yourself through your clothing. Once you have an internship, it can be a big adjustment to adapt to the office environment.
All offices have different dress codes, ranging from the conservative business professional more common in law firms and the like, to jeans & t-shirts which can be okay at non-profits and tech companies. The most common professional dress code is business causal, a difficult to define combination of both.
On Capitol Hill the dress code can change from day to day depending on what you are up to, and it will also vary depending on the office you are in. Asking your intern coordinator about your office’s dress code before you begin your internship is a great way to show you’re going to be a proactive and prepared intern!
Building your wardrobe
When it comes to building a business casual wardrobe, start with what you already own. You probably have a sweater, button-down shirt, or blouse in your closet that can be business casual when paired with the right skirt, slacks, or suit. Then there are the bigger components you might need to purchase. These include:
- Dress pants
- Work-appropriate shoes
Once you have these basics you can switch out shirts, ties, and dresses with more fun colors and patterns to keep from being repetitive.
When shopping for these pieces, start at discount stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Factory, and Nordstrom Rack so you don’t break the bank. H&M and the J. Crew Factory can also both have some gems on sale!
Tips From the Experts
Seasoned Hill staffers will tell you, always keep a blazer or suit jacket at your desk. Band-Aids also might come in handy, especially if you are breaking in a new pair of shoes.
Most importantly wear clothes that make you feel confident, comfortable, and ready for Congress!