Women's Dress

Women's Dress

Many businesses allow somewhat casual attire at least once a week, but dress codes vary. Here are some guidelines for dressing business casual, which is a notch below business formal. Let comfort and professionalism guide you when you're dressing for business casual occasions.  Also, check out our Pinterest page for visual examples!

  • Ask your internship supervisor for official guidelines. Business casual means different things at different companies. At a large corporation, it may mean slacks or a business skirt; at a smaller company, it may mean a cotton sweater and a floral skirt.
  • Before you go casual, check your daily planner to make sure you do not have any meetings that require formal business attire.
  • Select clean, wrinkle-free clothes. Your outfit should communicate professionalism.
  • Wear a good-quality blouse or knit shirt. Include a casual blazer or cardigan if appropriate.
  • If a dress is sleeveless, wear a blazer or cardigan over it.
  • Check your company's policy before you decide to wear jeans to work.
  • Wear shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for your outfit. Funky platform athletic shoes or strappy sandals might be formal enough for some companies; however, it is more typical to wear closed-toed shoes. Avoid worn-out shoes.
  • Keep the makeup and fragrances light. Accessorize with a silk scarf or classic bracelet to give your casual outfit a polished look.
  • Washington, D.C. has a highly professional atmosphere. Please be aware that within a conservative workplace, colorful hair, colorful clothing, piercings, tattoos, and other styles of identity presentation may be viewed as atypical. 
  • Limit visible body piercings to no more than two earrings per ear. When possible, cover any tattoos and other forms of body art with clothing.
  • Avoid showing any cleavage and make sure your stomach and lower back won’t be exposed when you stoop down or sit at a desk.

Tips:

  • A basic pair of black slacks is a must for any work wardrobe.
  • Business casual attire is more formal than weekend wear.
  • Faded T-shirts, shorts, torn clothing, and risqué attire are not appropriate.