What Should I Wear?
Last summer, when Regina Chien
’08 went to work at a nonprofit economic development
organization in San Francisco, it wasn’t clear to her
what she should wear in the workplace. Corporate business
pantsuit? Casual slacks and sweater?
“It is hard to figure out
what to wear on a day-to-day basis,” said Chien of her
experience at her Praxis internship. “Some colors are
not appropriate and some looks may not be flattering. I think
this was something that I overlooked until my boss gave me
more suggestions on what was appropriate.”
Thanks to Chien’s experience
and her subsequent suggestion to the Career Development Office
(CDO), a new workshop this week will provide the answers.
for Success," an informative presentation of various
clothing options for different work situations, will give
interns and those heading in to the workforce guidance on
what items to pull from their closets. The workshop, which
takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 24, is one of a offered this week by the CDO.
Confusion about how to dress
is a common problem for many interns and new employees heading
out to work environments with which they aren’t familiar.
They want to make a good impression, but new employees, interviewees
and interns often wonder: what are their options beyond the
basic black business suit?
“Considering that such
a large percentage of Smith graduates participate in internships
and go straight into the working world after they graduate,
and we have many recruiters coming to campus, we thought it
was a great idea to put together a workshop concerning this
issue,” says Ui-Jin Chong ’07, a CDO peer adviser,
who is coordinating the event.
Chien appreciated receiving honest
dressing tips from her Praxis internship supervisor, she says.
“She said that in any setting where there is client
contact, people will often judge you by your looks first,
and then your ability,” said Chien. “She told
me that sweater sets were a good bet, that wearing one solid
color instead of prints looked more professional. Basically,
she wanted to give advice so that I wouldn’t look so
much like a student.”
The CDO has coordinated the "Suit
Yourself" program for several years, which provides business
attire on loan to students headed out for interviews. But
beyond that program, Chien saw a need for a workshop that
guides students on daily clothing choices once on the job.
The "Dress for Success"
workshop, open to all students, will include a PowerPoint
presentation showing different ensembles for different environments.
Samples of clothing, provided by downtown Northampton clothiers
Cathy Cross and Talbots, will also be displayed.
Other CDO workshops this week
include: "Why Should I Hire You? A Guide to Successful
Interviews;" "Finding Summer Jobs and Internships;"
Personality, Majors, and Careers: Finding the Right Fit (MBTI);"
and "Junior Jumpstart: Planning for Graduate and Professional