Tips for Dressing for Your Work Study Assignment

Before we get started here, please let me say that this is not a treatise on how college students should or shouldn’t dress. My goal is to help you develop new ideas and rethink how your wardrobe can work for you and help represent who you are as a person. And while most offices won’t require you to dress in a business formal style, dressing for your work study assignment will most likely be your first exposure to dressing for the professional world.

I don’t want you to think you have to go out and shop and buy a whole new wardrobe, but you might use this opportunity to fill some gaps that you may have in your wardrobe.

Personal style is a way of representing your personal brand without even saying a word. Yes, we all know a person shouldn’t be judged on the way she dresses, but rather on the quality of work she produces. But, let’s be honest here – the first impression is the one that lasts.

I also hope that I don’t give the impression that you should have to change your personal style, either. I want you guys to be seen as the wonderful, smart and motivated people that you are, without others being distracted by poor grooming or low necklines.

Personal style also has very little to do with money. Great finds are available at a variety of price points. The key is to cultivate a curated wardrobe stocked with pieces that are versatile, durable and easy to care for. Here’s a run down of a few common items and how to tailor them to an office setting.

*If you work in the rec center or sports center, it may be perfectly acceptable and appropriate to wear university logo apparel or other sporty apparel. Other assignments may require a uniform. These tips mostly apply to the majority of students whose work study assignments put them at a front desk or places like in the library.

General grooming
Make sure your clothes are clean and free of odors and stains.
Please shower daily. Please.
If you don’t have time to do anything with your hair, pull it away from your face into a ponytail, french braid or bun.

Dresses
Make sure dresses are of an appropriate length. Also take into account how much your dress will ride up as you sit in an office chair.
Be wary of cutouts. Any cutouts should be covered with a cardigan or layered over a tank/camisole.

Shorts
Shorts inseams should be no shorter than 3”. Leave your overly distressed or cutoff shorts for off the clock.

Tank tops
If the straps on your tank are less than 1” wide, consider topping it off with a cardigan or light jacket, which will also help in what seems like a sub-zero air-conditioned building.

Shoes
Wear comfortable shoes that are appropriate for your work. If you wear heels, keep them less than 3”. This isn’t the club or the catwalk. For summer, consider adding a dressier pair of sandals to your wardrobe to allow flip flops to remain at home.

Leggings
They’re not pants. They’re just not. Pair your leggings with a top that completely covers your torso, front and back. Use good sense on this one. That dress that’s too short to wear on its own would be a great contender for an outfit with leggings.

Sports gear
Let’s leave the compression tights and workout shorts for the gym. School logo shirts or sweatshirts are usually perfectly acceptable (provided that they fit well and are clean).

Denim
Make sure jeans are not overly distressed and make sure all hems are finished.

And those are my suggestions! Do you have a dress code in your work study assignment? What do you normally wear to yours? Let me know in the comments.

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