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Tips for creating your first work wardrobe

How can students look and feel confident?

Whether it’s an internship, placement or seasonal job, work experience helps students to learn new skills and boost those all-important university applications.

We asked Step One counsellor Emma Gotz, who is also a certified Style Coach (how is that for a career idea?!), for her top tips on making an impression for the right reasons. Here’s what she had to say.

First impressions count.

Whether in person or via a video call, what you’re wearing will play a key part in the impression you make.

Being young, you’re likely to be discovering and experimenting with styles that appeal to and suit you and that’s a really exciting part of being a teenager and young adult.

However, when it comes to what to wear for a job interview, work experience placement or apprenticeship, it’s important to consider what is suitable for the industry or sector you’ll be working in.

Here are my five golden rules

  1. Different organisations will have their own rules, ideas and expectations of what their employees (and interns) should wear. In some creative industries, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear jeans and trainers, but in a law firm, you’ll be expected to wear a suit or similar. Of course, some jobs will require you to wear a uniform, which may help take the stress out of what to wear!
  2. If you’re not sure what is appropriate for the job you want, then check out the company’s website and social media to see if there are any pictures of current employees going about their day. What are they wearing? Take note of accessories too.
  3. Adopt the principles of a capsule wardrobe; experts say you can create up to 48 outfits with just 10 carefully chosen items. These can be worn in many different combinations. It helps to stick to a neutral colour pallet and to pick one base colour (usually black or navy).
  4. Be well presented: even if the dress code is casual, make sure your clothes are clean, ironed and fit you properly. Don’t wear too many accessories – jewellery can be distracting, and hats and sunglasses will rarely be appropriate at work. Keep make up simple and subtle, you can flex your creativity when you’re with your friends.
  5. Whatever you wear, make sure you feel comfortable. Wearing a suit or very smart clothes might be new to you, so pick a style that you will feel yourself in. Never wear anything that feels too tight, it’s a sure-fire way of making you feel uncomfortable and distracted all day long.

If you feel good about how you look, that will be reflected in your attitude and confidence.

Emma Gotz is a style and career consultant offering a range of services from one off outfit curation to full image makeovers.

Emma’s Top Tips

Download a checklist of Emma’s top tips here:

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