It's exciting to finally find out where you will be working. What's the company's name? What do they do? Where are they based? How long is my journey going to be and what will be expected of me? Everybody knows that leaving a great first impression is important. This doesn't mean that you need to be fluent in English and perfect at everything you are asked to do. But turning up in appropriate clothing and abiding by the dress code stipulated by your work placement is a good place to start. It shows that you respect their company policy and aren't hellbound on breaking the rules from day one. But what if you are unsure about the dress code and the thought of getting it wrong really causes you distress? We understand. We've all been there and as always we are here to help.
So check out our detailed explanations below, finished with a link to our 'work-in-progress' FAQs about Dress Codes.
Pretty much your day to day clothes. For example jeans, t-shirt, trainers. Or skirt, shirt and open or closed shoes. Whatever is your style. Casual is the least strict instructions on what you can wear but please do keep a few things in mind regardless: Holes in your clothes, even if they are deliberate and trendy, may give the impression that you don't care to look after things. Cleanliness is always essential so if you do get to wear your daily pair of comfy trainers, please make sure they are clean. Even if what you are wearing is the latest fashion trend, if it looks like a pyjama or jumpsuit, that's not casual but sporty. So unless specifically requested, please don't turn up in your tracksuit or lycras.
No jeans, even if they are your 'nice jeans'! Definitely wear nice trousers (something you would wear for a festive gathering like a wedding, baptism or 50th Birthday party) and instead of a t-shirt pick a shirt with collar and buttons. Cufflinks are not essential but if you like them, go for it. A tie is not necessary unless specified but as this is the top category of dress codes you won't be overdressed. For girls, trouser suits are of course okay for you too but if you are more of a skirt or dress person, pick a nice business style instead of a party dress. The clothes you wear don't have to be expensive. H&M or Primark do some great smart clothing for very affordable prices. But let the business style influence your decision making. Say, knee length dress/skirt, tops with sleeves instead of thin straps and try not to show too much cleavage. You want to show off your skills and professional attitude and not your body. Closed shoes are also more suitable in a smart business environment than open toe sandals or heels.
A step up from casual and a step down from smart. So mix and match basically. Take the casual pair of jeans and match it with a nice, collared shirt with buttons. A formal skirt or dress and a not too revealing blouse or neat jumper. Stick with closed shoes to begin with and if you see lots of others wear open toe shoes at your work placement it will be okay for you too in the following days. This is definitely not a mandatory tie territory but if you like wearing ties it is also okay. Going above the level of dress code is always better than under.
If a company specifically requests you to wear a suit please stick to that. If you don't have one it's okay to borrow one from a friend or as mentioned earlier you can get cheap but nice looking ones at places like H&M or Primark. Trust me when I say from here on you will need that suit again and again as growing up comes with ever more occasions where a smart dress code is unnegotiable. If at all possible have 2 with you for changing. It can get stuffy and hot on the tube and busses and you don't want to wear a suit with dried sweat or food stains for 2 weeks.
This usually means the company will provide you with their (logo printed) outfits. Read over the full instructions carefully as often they ask you to wear your own casual or smart-casual clothes and they only complete your uniform with a logo-printed jumper, apron or similar. It could also be that they instruct you to wear black trousers and white tops for example. That too is considered a uniform. If you are thinking of wearing black jeans, please only do so if they don't look like typical jeans material but are made to look like smart trousers.
Some companies will only specify the things you should NOT be wearing. For example "no leggings, no sandals, no jeans" or even things like "no tattoos or piercings". Again, do stick to those requirements as you could be refused to start if your appearance clashes with company policy and this is not a valid reason to request a different workplace. There is usually a good reason behind these rules and not just a moody boss who has a personal vendetta against jeans or sandals. If you have tattoos on your forearms, simply wear long sleeve tops if tattoos are on the "No" list. Remove facial piercings during your working hours (if specified as not allowed) and put them back in after working hours.
This is not a point you will find on the dress code instructions from your work placement. However it has happened occasionally that students go to work for 2 weeks without washing their hair, changing their clothes or even taking a shower. Whatever their reason for it was, it is not a very hygienic thing to do so in the kindest possible way, please do look after yourself.
To sum it all up, overall it is a simple matter of applying a bit of logic and accepting that in the working world of Great Britain or Ireland dress codes can be a big deal.
Still got questions? Check out our FAQs about dress codes.
ADC College organises Internship Programmes in London and Dublin, eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.