by Natasha Martinez

Dressing the part for interviews and internships is an important factor that all hopeful employees should be aware of.

Some students come to class dressed like they just got off the couch in their apartment and could care less to comb their hair. On the other hand, some students are dressed in business wear in order to make the best impressions wherever they go.

Chapman Univerisity television broadcast journalism major Allie Freidman makes it a priority to look presentable for her courses. However, she has a pretty good reason to look good at school. She comes straight from her internship in Los Angeles to Orange in order make it to her Wednesday afternoon class at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.  

As an intern for NBC, Friedman sets herself apart from the messy hair buns and yoga pants inside the classroom by showing up to class in a sleel blazer and a pair of black heels.

Friedman once heard a couple of news anchors discussing a previous intern, and what they said impacted her views on fashion in the workplace.

“They couldn’t remember her name or where she went to school. The only thing they say they remembered about her was how she never dressed professionally,'" Friedman said.

Freidman isn’t the only student on campus who needs to dress well in order to make an impression at an internship.

Chapman’s Career Development Center and websites like Panther Connect help give students the right information to start applying for internships that could potentially launch their career. These sources explain that image is everything and how one appears at work truly matters. Whether or not a company environment calls for dressing up, interns are expected to always look their best. After all, the opportunity to get promoted is always possible.

Friedman has a few do’s and don’ts for dressing in the office.

“Always be over-dressed rather than under-dressed," Friedman said. "Cover the cleavage and wear skirts to the knee or right above the knee. Try to switch it up between skirts, dresses and pants.”  

For men, it’s just as hard deciding how to dress professionally in the office. Usually, switching it up between a blazer or a nice sweater is acceptable. Fellow television broadcast journalism junior Wes Rapaport agreed with Friedman's idea of being overdressed.

“Men typically don’t need a suit every day, and some situations call for more casual attire, but a nice button down shirt is always a good call,” Rapaport said.

Look at what the male employees wear in the office and try and imitate what you see. Sweaters, button downs, and dark jeans work well if you don’t feel comfortable suiting up every couple of days for work.

Conservative, stuffy, and boring are a few words that may come to mind when thinking of dressing professionally. Today’s world of fashion is fun and that shouldn’t have to be sacrificed in the work place.

OC Fashion Week correspondent Adrina Rose believes dressing for work should reflect your surroundings.

“The difference between dressing up for work and drawing too much attention to yourself is that when you dress up you should be dressing in a way that is always appropriate for the time and place,” Rose said. “It is perfectly appropriate to wear jeans/leggings with a cute top and wedges or boots. Always remember Fashion is about having fun and expressing yourself."

There are many popular stores that carry different pieces to create a professional and appropriate look. Both Rose and Friedman recommend Nordstrom’s to find what you need to dress for success but there are other stores that carry a lot of options such as Banana Republic, Express.

For those students who aren’t looking to break the bank, stores like H&M have office wear sections where you can find a blazer for a great price. Creating a polished look can be fun when dressing up in the real world.

“I always wear either a skirt, tights, flats and a cute blouse or a put together dress. I also like to change up the color scheme. I have all sorts of colored skirts, shoes and blouses,” Friedman said.

“I can't stand to see tank tops, flip flops, too short dresses and skirts and too high heels. I think it is acceptable to wear jeans if they are nice, do not have holes, and are not too baggy,” Rose said.

For men it’s can be a bit more casual. A couple of shirt options and some nice shoes and pants are acceptable basics for men in the workplace.

Women often have to deal with short skirts and shorts, so try and steer clear of them in the office. If you can’t resist the skirt or shorts, try pairing it with tights.

“I know it might not sound cute, but trust me! You can make [tights] cute,” Friedman said.

Trendy tights can be found at fashionable stores such as Forever 21 and Foreign Exchange. Pairing tights with a skirt or shorts saves the embarrassment of walking through the office and getting any disapproving looks.

Remember that the purpose of your internship is to learn and to do your job efficiently. It is not to dazzle your internship supervisor and other employees with your fashion forward style.

“A lot of students know what it means to dress up, but not everyone knows what it means to dress professionally,” said Sandra Robbie, who is in charge of getting internships for Chapman students at the Career Development Center.

“In addition to finding out your qualifications, employers are looking to see if you fit in culturally with the company. Students should think of their internships as interviews for a job,” Robbie said.

Robbie remembers when she was transitioning from becoming a stay-at-home mother to working for a public television station. She said that she felt frustrated and angry with herself after going shopping for clothes to wear to work, since she was so used to dressing in her sweats and burping bibs for her baby.

“I think students have a hard time dressing professionally because it signifies a change in their lives,” Robbie said. “The first time carrying a briefcase can be very awkward because you feel like you’re pretending. There was a time when I felt that way too.”

Robbie recommends asking your internship advisor what is expected of you when dressing for work. She also recommends paying a visit to the Career Development Center and bringing in some photos of what to wear and they can help you.

A positive outlook on your image can only help your confidence at your internships. Ultimately your work is what will carry you through from your internship to your first job out of college, but it doesn’t hurt to look fabulous along the way.

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