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Kim’s Casual Friday Guide for Fashion Internships

June 28, 2011

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Work It! is a series focusing on workplace wardrobe and fashion.  Each week, we will feature a new blogger offering their advice and answering your questions. This week, it’s Kimberly Pearl, whose blog, A Bit Coquettish, “presents her take on fashion & her perspective on life, love and style.”

Some fashion ideas for Casual Friday

By Kimberly Pearl

It’s an art. Is it a melodramatic statement? More than likely (life can be a bit boring otherwise). But it is valid. When they say “Casual Fridays” in the office, it’s not really casual. At all. Rather, it’s essentially the usual business attire sans black pants- or dress-suit. Think black pants or denim, tailored, dark wash denim, white denim. All done smartly. And instead of the usual sleek ’60s-inspired dresses, opt for something lighter like a sundress or class wrap a la Diane von Furstenberg.

It’s not to say that you should go in with your usual Monday through Thursday uniform; it’s not disallowed, per se, but there isn’t anything wrong with sprucing up the usual wardrobe choices and letting a bit of your non-work personality show through. Do keep in mind, however, that there is a time for a work and play: being serious is still of utmost priority here. You’re still in the office, casual Friday or not. Superiors – bosses – are still there, and if you dress too casual, you run the risk of conveying the wrong message.

“You’re still in the office, casual Friday or not.”

It’s unfortunate, yes, and superficial even, but in a world where appearances will always count for something, looking less of the part is an indication that you’re too young, too unprofessional, too frivolous to work full-time.

Don’t draw attention to your age; dress up, literally and figuratively, so they view you as an equal to everyone else in the office. You want to command their respect. Thus said, avoid jeans and sneakers. Light-colored and colored denim are a no if you want to look sophisticated; the one exception is, however, the ever-classic combination of a white tee and the blue jean, paired wither a nude or black pump or flat (no sandals – it’ll look too beach-y).

“Nothing should be above the knee, or the slightest bit see-through.”

Opt for pumps, flats and dress sandals; pumps with skinny or wide-leg jeans look especially smart. Chic. Sophisticated. Avoid graphic tees (words and otherwise), strappy tanks (follow the three-finger width rule). Nothing should be above the knee, or the slightest bit see-through. Just recently Teen Vogue beauty editor Eva Chen tweeted that an intern was spotted wearing a thin white tee, black lace bra showing – a current trend never renders itself acceptable, even in the fashion industry.

Linen or khaki shorts are lovely, but if you’re ever second-guessing the length, stick to pants. And as always, keep accessories to a minimum for a clean, polished finish.

The abridged version? Dress for the job you want, not that job you have.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sarah Says August 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Though we don't teach clothing and professional image in school, it's still surprising to hear stories about what some interns think they can get away with wearing in the workplace. Some more relaxed offices may allow jeans, but anything torn should definitely be saved for after hours.


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