The working world is stressful enough without the added worry about what to wear to work each day. With corporate jargons such as “business formal attire” coupled with the overwhelming number of “#OOTD” photos you see on social media, undergraduates who are starting on a banking internship may experience outfit-related panic on what they should wear to work.
Getting your outfit and appearance right for a banking internship is essential. It takes only a matter of seconds for someone to formulate an impression of you. As an intern hoping to score a job offer in the future, the last thing you need is to leave a lousy impression because you were dressed in the wrong outfit.
“I want to dress like a finance guy”, says nobody ever. Traditionally, the men and women of the banking industry have never been the beacons of high style.
# 1 Fitting White And Blue Shirts
Don’t be fooled by what you watch in the movies, the banking sector is generally a conservative industry when it comes to what people wear. That is why sticking to basic colour palettes for your top is important. Your main objective is to look neat and presentable, rather than to be detracting people from the business at hand. This explains why it’s common to see people in white or blue shirt whenever you are at the CBD area.
Dressing to impress does not need to cost you a bomb. There are affordable neighborhood tailors such as Ai Lee Tailor at Seah Im Food Centre, or brands such as G2000 that offers a 10% off their regular items for students to kick-start their internship. The trick here is to make sure the shirts fit you well.
# 2 Shoes
Unless you are confident in your innate fashion sense, keeping the shoes black and simple would be your best bet. To most employers, wing-tipped or square-toed shoes are a straight no.
There is no need to buy an expensive branded pair of shoes with matching belt from Bottega Veneta or Prada. In most cases, as an intern, you cannot really pull off the branded look yet. You can save the few hundred dollars by getting your shoes from Pedro, gives you extra cash for a decent shine kit and money to tide through your days as a poorly paid intern.
Remember as well that your belt should match the colour of your shoes.
# 3 Comfortable Pants
The skinny jeans and pants might be the fashion trend now, but they are a definite no for your banking internship.
For a job that requires spending long hours at your desk, the last thing you want is to be trapped in a pair of tight, skinny pant that you have to adjust every few minutes. On top of that, skinny pants usually undermine the amount of respect your superiors may have for you.
A comfortable pair of tailored pants is not as costly as most people think. There are neighbourhood tailors who can tailor formal pants and shirts at affordable price. Rock the side tabs if you find yourself a pretty decent tailor. Those side tabs may come in handy when your busy internship takes away time at the gym, coupled with a few nights of beer and overtime supper.
# 4 Dark Coloured Socks
Leave your bright and colourful socks at home. It may make you feel special at work, but nobody wants to be distracted by weird coloured socks that an intern wore to stand out from the rest.
Uniqlo or H&M make some great above ankle length socks at a good price. We recommend you get a dozen of those and remember to change your socks everyday. The “no sock” or “ankle socks look” is to be avoided at all costs, and more often than not, it actually violates the formal dress code. Remember, you are working at a financial institution, not a sneaker store.
# 5 Work Appropriate Bag
We have touched mostly on how to dress appropriately for work, but there is just one more item to complete the look.
Every career professional needs a work appropriate bag – for your laptop, notes, pen, umbrella and of course, breakfast.
A briefcase is usually recommended for a few reasons. It’s classic shape, sturdy build are sure ways to help a banking intern look the part. On top of that, it does not crumple your shirt unlike a backpack and it goes well with almost everything you are wearing.
Dress Smart & Work Hard
You are what you wear. The way an employee dresses shows how much he values the organisation. An intern will have to find ways to dress professionally without breaking bank, and we hope this article would help in showing you how.
DollarsAndSense.sg aims to provide interesting, bite-sized and relevant financial articles.
Learn together with like-minded Singaporeans at the Personal Finance Discussion SG Facebook Group by discussing a range of personal finance topics.
If you have not done so, subscribe to our free e-newsletter to receive exclusive content not available anywhere else.