Okay, this post is mostly going to be geared toward the ladies, because it unfortunately seems like we’re the ones who need reminding more often. Go check out this blog to see several instances in which female interns are ridiculed for dressing inappropriately. Also, as a side note, just read that blog. It’s all about what not to do as an intern in DC based on hilarious observations of interns who, well, haven’t listened.
First off, ladies, please, please, please don’t dress like you’re going through rush or going to a frat party. Yes, that skirt is really cute at a party. No, it really isn’t in the senator’s office. Just because it’s body-hugging doesn’t make it a pencil skirt. I have seen a shocking number of girls do this. Also, while you’re at it, check your skirt length. If you’re really tall, your skirt/dress could be really lovely and professional-looking, except that it’s just too short. Don’t walk about the door like that. My supervisor has told us that they’ve sent people home.
On a lighter note, if you really want to class things up, buy a couple of simple necklaces. A suit can feel really boring, but a strand of glass pearls can help you feel a little less dull. A lot of women in DC wear pearls, and they just look nice. Don’t make the mistake of going too far with this, though. If you break out some super expensive jewelry to wear to work, it’ll just look like you’re trying too hard.
Finally, and this goes for everybody, wear reasonable shoes. If you want to wear heels, bring them to work, but have another option. You never know when you’re going to be enlisted to run to the other side of the Hill, give a constituent tour, or get to the gallery to watch a vote. And since you’ll want to be ready to do anything, just make sure you have a pair of flats in your purse. You’ll never be asked to go anywhere until the one day you forget to bring them.