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Posted at 1 p.m. on Jan. 21, 2014
Nothing says Capitol Hill like young people in suits. The speaker’s announced policy for the 113th Congress states that staffers must be in “appropriate business attire” on the House floor, so this ups the ante on how staffers dress on a daily basis. Confused about what to wear? Hill Navigator discusses.
Q. I will be starting a Hill internship soon and I wanted to know what I should expect to wear on a regular day. Will it be a suit 5 days a week?
A. Good news for you, inquiring intern. Most offices have dress codes and will happily answer the question for you about what to wear. Some stellar offices even have intern handbooks that address this directly. But just in case you aren’t sure or are reluctant to ask, here are some general guidelines that can help get you off to a good start.
- Wear a suit the first day of work. Even if it’s recess. Or Friday. Or hot outside. Your first day sets the tone of your internship, and a suit shows you’re taking it seriously.
- Wear a suit (or jacket and tie, or blazer/slacks/skirt for ladies) every day Congress is in session.
- Dress up every day the boss is in town. Most offices have a relaxed dress code when Congress is out of session, but if the boss is there, take the extra time to dress in business clothing.
- Follow the office’s lead. Don’t be the first one to wear jeans or break out into casual Friday polo shirts unless you see your co-workers doing the same thing. And by co-workers, I don’t mean other interns. Take the cues from the higher-ups in the office.
- Stay away from: jeans, sneakers, T-shirts, yoga pants. No matter how casual your office Fridays get, you’re better off in khakis or dress pants than something more comfortable. Wait for the weekends to wear whatever you want. Or wait until your internship is over.