Now that I am in college, when I think summer, I think work. For some, it may be that cool internship with a startup. For others, it may be working at a local restaurant to save up money for the school year. Whatever it is, it is important to dress appropriate for the job, and hopefully we can give some tips to help you feel confident and stylish in the workplace, while also not breaking the bank.
This summer, I am working at a law firm in Long Beach, California, and as a hostess at a Pancake House. Both jobs have very different environments, and also very different attires. My job at the law firm does not have a uniform, however, they do require what many college students have heard as “business professional.” What does that even mean? I was pretty nervous going into the job but I realized it is better to dress-up than to dress-down. So the first day, I unwillingly asked my parents what they thought of my outfit, and was happy with the approval.
In a business professional environment and being a girl, I realized you can’t go wrong with a slight heel, a black knee-length pencil skirt, and a modest blouse. To perk myself up in the morning I usually try to go for a blouse with some color that isn’t too dramatic but is enough to not make me feel dull. I also found that taking care of my skin, whether it is a little foundation and eyeliner or nothing at all, and making sure my hair is combed and presentable, really makes me feel on top of my game. Just knowing I’m in control of my appearance makes me ready to conquer the day. I got most of my outfits from TJ Maxx and Kohl’s, and you can mix and match so much with just a few blouses, one or two skirts, one or two dress shorts, and a few pairs of shoes. I still put my own style in my outfits, though not quite like something I would wear to the beach.
Working at the pancake house, though a casual environment, still requires you to have appropriateness in your attire and care for your appearance. It’s important to think about what you represent and how you want to present yourself. Though I have a uniform ( I bought no-slip shoes at Payless and my black pants at TJ Maxx), I still have so many decisions to make in the morning. I have to put my hair up, but how do I want to do my makeup? What type of earrings, if any, would be acceptable? In a restaurant, anything dangly or showy really isn’t necessary and may not look as clean-cut. From personal experience, my female coworkers tend to wear makeup and have their nails done, but they don’t look like they work for Sephora or came from the MAC store after a makeover. Just remember your audience. Maybe if you worked at a bar there would be different expectations, but if you really aren’t sure if something would work, either don’t do it or ask your manager or other coworkers! I’m sure you aren’t the first to ask a question!