Female intern clothes

I have a spring week (well, spring 9 days) coming up in April and currently the only suitable clothes I have is one smart dress. We haven't been told anything specific from HR about any kind of dress code, what I'm reading online seems to say either wear a suit the entire time, or that everyone will be in business casual.

Apologies if the following questions sound stupid, I'm just an uninformed student who doesn't have anyone else in the industry to ask.

1) As an intern, should I be wearing business formal all the time? Do I need to wear a suit jacket every day?
2) Would I be alright wearing a smart tweed jacket or something similar? I can't post links unfortunately but I just googled 'smart tweed jacket/blazer women' and some examples come up.
3) Do I need to stick to traditional smart shirts/blouses, or could I for example wear a long sleeved turtle neck top with a smart pencil skirt? Or a pencil skirt/trousers with a reasonably smart top? Again, can't post links but with regards to 'reasonably smart tops' I'm meaning the kind of stuff that Rachel wears on Suits which aren't just plain shirts (again, Google images gives good examples)

Basically, I don't want to end up stuck in the white blouse, black/navy/grey skirt/trousers and suit jacket combo for two weeks. At the same time, I don't want to be the idiot who turns up in business casual when everyone else is suited up for the whole time.

Ideally, I'd like to just buy some black court shoes, a suit jacket, smart dress, couple pairs of smart trousers/pencil skirts, another smart jacket/cardigan/jumper and some 'formal but could also wear to a nice restaurant' tops - aka not just white button up shirts. I'd also like to buy all (or at least most) of it beforehand as I don't want to spend the whole time there stressed about when I can leave to go shopping for tomorrow's clothes.

Huge thanks to anyone who reads this and offers meaningful advice without making fun of the poor student!

Banking Intern Dress Code for Females

Most of the fashion advice is here is can be simplified into the following, match your tastes to conservative business attire. If you think you think a piece in the wardrobe is risky then air on the side of caution. Common sense advice out of the way here is a few specifics to consider. These are certainly not the only styles but they are the most common.

  • Skirts
    • Black pencil skirts are the most common
    • If a skirt can be considered skirting the edge of workplace decency then pair with leggings to safe
  • Tops
    • Dress shirt with or without cuff-links
  • Shoes
    • Conservative styling with a heel that generally does not exceed 3.5 inches

Some feedback from certified female sale and trading associate

Everybody (er, relatively slim) looks good in pencil skirts.. but the second it get close to the point of 'too short'... you will get bitched out behind your back from women unattractive or attractive. it's part of life.

though guys love it ... it still won't earn you brownie points b/c 1. you already pissed off the women 2. if you are working in the guys' group, then you can be too distracting to be hired; if you don't work in their group, there is NO way they would risk with HR and give 'positive feedback' to someone in your group.
I think shoes only get bitched about when it starts to resemble the ones your favorite exotic dancer wore last night

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Comments (30)

Feb 21, 2018 - 9:13pm
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Shoes are an important part of any wardrobe. What are black court shoes?

Feb 21, 2018 - 10:12pm
TippyTop11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I got cancer reading that.

Spend less time on what you'll be wearing and more on what you'll be doing if you want to succeed

26 Broadway where's your sense of humor?
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Best Response
Feb 22, 2018 - 8:53am
issyatuni, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Then don't read it. I appreciate that it may seem completely ridiculous for those on here who have been in the industry for years, however as a first year university student with no prior experience in these areas, I was simply asking for advice on this. I'm not sure what the problem is with not wanting to stick out like a sore thumb due to wearing completely the wrong clothes.

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Feb 22, 2018 - 9:45am
Auto, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your advice would be more effective if you weren't posting on the part of WSO where summer interns report being terrified that the wrong sock-loafer combo will keep them from getting offer of a permanent job.

Feb 21, 2018 - 11:45pm
ab-cd, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am a man and i have no idea what anything you said means

i rotate between a 10 dress shirts in different shades of blue/white 2 pairs of wool pants - gray & navy one pair black dress shoe.

looking to buy a pair of brown shoes next pay check.

Feb 22, 2018 - 1:21am
faceslappingcompilation, what's your opinion? Comment below:

just wear a crisp white shirt (every day) and a skirt/pant suit in 2 colors (grey and navy works well)

You can alternate the skirt/pant suits daily, and nobody will every notice...since you essentially have 6 outfits (skirt/pant/jacket). You are in finance...either wear a jacket or long sleeves every day. (of course, if you can be a little sexy, it won't hurt...but there will be other women there judging you)...if you look too slutty...the other women will ding you...guys won't mind (they actually prefer you look hot)...its the other women that will crucify you.

Zara is the typical place to get this stuff.

If you can pull off with a wide open shirt colar, then you can accessorize with chunky (and usually cheap) necklaces.

Black pumps...not the red bottoms...and not flats. You are a girl...you know how to choose good looking shoes. Know how to walk in them.

just google it...you're welcome
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Feb 22, 2018 - 9:04am
issyatuni, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you, Zara is actually a really good call and within my student budget. I'll have a look round for things to mix and match.

Feb 22, 2018 - 9:35am
faceslappingcompilation, what's your opinion? Comment below:

so on a whim i just looked at the zara website...and YUCK...i recall years ago a girlfriend of mine bought a couple cute skirt suits from there...but now its gotten very bohemian...and not the look you want for wall street.

I think you can just wear pencial skirts (variety of neutral colors...black, navy, grey, taupe/beige) and crisp longsleeve (that do NOT show your midriff) white button-down shirts every day (from the JCrew outlet store), and that will never steer you wrong. The JCrew factory outlet is probably your best bet.

just google it...you're welcome
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Feb 22, 2018 - 11:18am
Monkeyrella, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Be conservative. Wear heels, but not too high. Standards for girls are more relaxed than for guys. You don't need to be suited up every day, but your arms should be covered, your neckline not too low, and your skirt within an inch of your knees. Always have a blazer with you. You can show some personality and accessorize, but tastefully. Within a student budget I recommend Banana Republic.

Feb 27, 2018 - 6:37am
Ruhm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You might want to enquire regarding tights/ covered legs. A female colleague of mine once made a rather mean comment about a new girl who didn't wear tights saying "the informal policy here is covered legs."

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Mar 1, 2018 - 8:32am
Directress, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A tweed jacket is fine if it is toned down black/grey/blue/khaki etc.... think neutral instead of bright. You've hit the nail on the head - it will coordinate with more pants/skirts than buying several suits. I'm wearing a tweed blazer myself as I type this.

Whether you need to dress more toward "business formal" or "business casual" will depend on your firm and location, however, women can usually get away with a tweed blazer and dress/skirt in both environments. Just let the material of your dress drive the look more formal or casual.

Mar 16, 2018 - 6:17pm
tds2006, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To add, easiest thing to do here is to contact HR and ask for dress code.

If you've connected with any female bankers, they are great people to ask about what to wear as well obviously.

In general, your goal is not to stand out: not too sexy, not too flashy, not too expensive looking, not too cheap looking, etc... Err on the side of plain and conservative and mix and match as best you can.

Echo the comment above that you should always have a jacket available, even if you might not always be wearing it all day.

Mar 16, 2018 - 10:54pm
FWH, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone who's not a woman, I'm not really writing from the most informed perspective, but it seems to me like you have the right idea with that last paragraph.

Also, Net-a-porter has a "what to wear" section, and if you go to the "for work" section, theres a really nice selection of (mostly) very tasteful stuff that you can mix with cheaper more basic items to dress up an outfit.

Mar 18, 2018 - 10:36pm
ChloeOrc, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Blouse/Shell and Pencil Skirt/Dress pants, keep a blazer and an extra shirt at your desk.

Flats are fine, oxfords are fine, no one cares really. Stuart Weizman is a popular choice at my firm.

Mar 19, 2018 - 5:48am
travischubert, what's your opinion? Comment below:

To understand how a style should be in the business dress code, it is important to consider the scope of activities, the position taken in the environment and the level of contacts. the conservatives coefficient, shows how formal your image should be.

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:03pm
InfoDominatrix, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Lord & Taylor, Zara, Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft and even H&M will often have decent skirts [lined, they drape better, last longer] and not overly expensive.

I don't wear pants or pant suits and hardly wear button-down blouses [just not a fan]. For work, I primarily wear dresses, solid color t-shirts or print tops in nice fabrics with skirts and top them either cardigans, jackets or wraps.

I also shop quite a bit at Saks Off 5th and Century21 - they both carry a lot of high-end designer and other decent design brands for discounted prices - but SO5 and C21 are places that you may have to visit more than once [whether in-person or online] to find something very specific [such as if you're looking for a skirt or jacket in a certain color].

You can look sharp and dress inexpensively and look as classic or as trendy as you like - just avoid wearing anything too tight, too low-cut or too short or too sheer - you don't want to be remembered for being "that girl" that looked like she shopped for her work wardrobe in Victoria's Secret or Frederick's of Hollywood - their 'work outfits' are certainly fun and cute, but they're far more intended for the bedroom and not the boardroom. Good luck to you!

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:04pm
jasmine96, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Female interns: work attire? (Originally Posted: 05/16/2017)

Am hoping to start another discussion on summer wardrobe for female interns. I know that a lot of people wear suits, pencil skirts and blouses, so I was wondering if it appropriate for interns to wear sheath dresses? Would appreciate any insight/comment. Thanks!

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:05pm
Ruhm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think a conservative sheath dress can work fine. What you mentioned would all work in a formal setting. Accessorize with a couple discrete pieces of jewelry and a handbag.

The heel & flats debate could be interesting as well.

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:06pm
MonacoMonkey, what's your opinion? Comment below:

From an evolutionary perspective (and assuming your intention is to perform well / be liked) - dress conservatively if the office gender ratio is even - dress more revealing if it's (almost) an all-guys environment.

trust me on this.

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:08pm
SA_Student, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I personally dislike pant suits, so i opt for skirt suits and dress suits; the Theory dresses are obviously the best, but they can be expensive; I was lucky and bought some from Nordstrom rack for like $99 a piece so definitely check out that store. The Banana Republic skirt suits are also nice too! Heels obviously, but during your commute wear flats whether it be in uber or on a subway/train/etc.

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:09pm
studentsa, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Female attire for SA? (Originally Posted: 02/21/2017)

What is the typical attire for a female summer analyst? (BB bank for sales and trading)? Thanks!!!!!

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:10pm
Jamie_Diamond, what's your opinion? Comment below:

no attire ;)

What concert costs 45 cents? 50 Cent feat. Nickelback.

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Apr 2, 2018 - 3:11pm
Ruhm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bold, I like it.

Apr 2, 2018 - 3:12pm
My Name is Jeff, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dress as you did for the interview. Or read Liar's Poker for guidance

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."
Apr 2, 2018 - 3:14pm
CHECK6, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Apr 2, 2018 - 3:15pm
Monkeyrella, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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