Fashion Friday: Jeans in the Workplace

Posted on December 18th, 2009 by

So you’ve been given the OK to wear jeans to work or your internship – awesome!  Whether an accepted part of the permanent dress code, available to you only on Fridays, or just once or twice a year on a “special occasion,” relaxing in jeans at work can be great and refreshing.  It’s important to remember though that just because jeans are alright, it doesn’t allow you to break out your entire weekend wardrobe at the workplace.
Here’s how to wear your jeans, but still look like a young professional!

For women, this outfit is perfect for running around town on a Saturday, but shouldn’t go near the office.  Hold onto the cardigan and change the rest…

Pick a dark wash tailored jean – No distressing, no acid wash, no huge bootleg, nothing that resembles a legging in fit.  With a cute, collared shirt underneath and a belt around the waist of the sweater, you’ll look instantly tailored.  Tone down the jewelry and bring a “bag with a shape” instead of the amoeba-like orange hobo.  Heels would be an ideal choice, but to give your feet a break while still looking like you can handle any assignment that comes your way, choose a pointed toe flat.  They are surprisingly comfortable and create a long, lean line – you’ll look taller and more confident. 

While this guy’s outfit would work for catching the game on a Sunday and then hitting the library, it won’t work at an internship.

Like the ladies, guys should wear a dark wash, straight leg jean.  A button-down layered under a sweater looks great.  As long as the shirt fits closely to your body and isn’t too long, tucking is unnecessary – particularly with a sweater or cardigan on top.  It also doesn’t need to be as nice of a fabric or as a thick of a fabric as your “fancier” dress shirts.  Today is the day to wear a watch with a leather band, rather than your typical metal watch.  Your shoes can also be a more casual leather version of your dress shoes.

Being able to wear jeans to work is a fantastic benefit, but do keep in mind that you still need to dress like you can be trusted to take on important projects, give presentations, keep confidential information, or whatever else your job or internship entails.  Your coworkers will respond to how you present yourself – consciously or not.  Even if they are wearing their beat-up jeans and ripped sports tees, please don’t follow suit!  As a younger member of their team, your coworkers will be watching to see what kind of example you set.

And that’s the last Fashion Friday of the semester!  Over Interim I’ll be posting a guys and girls business casual dress idea each week, and then get back to the “deeper discussions” in the spring.  Cheers!


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