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Help me decode "business casual" for this internship!

ygi68592

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So I recently accepted an internship working for an analytics company, where I will be utilizing the company's proprietary software to procure marketing recommendations from social media data.

I asked HR about their work attire and had written to me, the following:
"Our work attire is business casual (jeans are okay but I wouldn't recommend wearing them on your first few days."

Considering that I often times like to dress "up", would dress pants, button down dress shirt, tie and dress shoes be okay?
Also, I definitely have seen people wear sportscoats or blazers with jeans so does this mean that I should also throw on a blazer/sportscoat?

thanks in advance!
 

sinfjotli

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Welcome to SF! To your question:
- wearing a tie without a jacket (or at least a sweater or cardigan) is usually frowned upon here
- not that you are suggesting that, but the same goes for wearing a tie with jeans, the difference in formality between the top and bottom throws this look off IMHO (although some people seem to pull this off on the internet; the cases I have seen in real world were usually less than stellar).

Other than that, your proposed combination sounds perfectly fine to me. If you can get away with wearing a sportcoat, go ahead!
 

ajmanouk

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ocbd + wool dress pants or dressy chinos and you'll look great
 

ygi68592

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Thanks for the quick response! I guess I can always wear a tie the first day (just in case) and take it off if inappropriate.

Secondly, I wanted to ask if wearing a watch is considered an "essential" for an internship. I can see how wearing a classic formal watch can come off as being "snobby" considering that I'm only an intern. At the same time, I can also see how wearing a watch will allow me to look at the time without having to pull out my "very old/not so trendy" flip phone.

What's the general consensus on wearing watches for interns and if so, what kind?
 

archibaldleach

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Nice wool dress pants and dress shirt (OCBD or oxford cloth button down are best for situations where you are not wearing a tie unless you're like me and dislike button down collars). Sport coat is fine and still within the definition of business casual. Once you add a tie, I think you've stepped out of the business casual range.

Nice leather soled dress shoes will work well here. I'd go with loafers, derbys or monkstraps depending on your tastes. Leave the more formal balmoral (e.g. AE Park Avenue) for suits.

Good luck and welcome.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Educated guess: that's the kind of environment where wool pants on a low-level employee would be perceived by some as overdressing. Cotton dress trousers would be safer. No sport coat, please.
 

Balfour

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Welcome to SF! To your question:
- wearing a tie without a jacket (or at least a sweater or cardigan) is usually frowned upon here
- not that you are suggesting that, but the same goes for wearing a tie with jeans, the difference in formality between the top and bottom throws this look off IMHO (although some people seem to pull this off on the internet; the cases I have seen in real world were usually less than stellar).

Other than that, your proposed combination sounds perfectly fine to me. If you can get away with wearing a sportcoat, go ahead!
Good advice. Especially about the tie.
 

Balfour

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Educated guess: that's the kind of environment where wool pants on a low-level employee would be perceived by some as overdressing. Cotton dress trousers would be safer. No sport coat, please.
I accidentally hit the thumb's up button for your post when I meant to do a multi-quote. I am horrified to hear what you say about wool trousers (same for the odd jacket - although sadly this no longer surprises me and is probably good advice).
 
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mensimageconsultant

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...
 
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mensimageconsultant

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Sometimes truth hurts. If it's true - it probably is (for such situations), but it would be hard to find out and this wouldn't be the crowd to ask. Geography would be involved. In London, however, wool pants should be fine.
 

msulinski

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Thanks for the quick response! I guess I can always wear a tie the first day (just in case) and take it off if inappropriate.

Secondly, I wanted to ask if wearing a watch is considered an "essential" for an internship. I can see how wearing a classic formal watch can come off as being "snobby" considering that I'm only an intern. At the same time, I can also see how wearing a watch will allow me to look at the time without having to pull out my "very old/not so trendy" flip phone.

What's the general consensus on wearing watches for interns and if so, what kind?
The issue with the tie isn't whether or not it is appropriate, it is whether or not it looks good. A tie without a jacket (or sweater or whetever) looks bad, so don't do it unless you plan on also wearing a sportcoat. Unless it is a requirement, I would avoid it. Since they specify that jeans are OK, I think you are fine with an OCBD and dressy chinos or wool pants and no tie.
 

Balfour

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Sometimes truth hurts. If it's true - it probably is (for such situations), but it would be hard to find out and this wouldn't be the crowd to ask. Geography would be involved. In London, however, wool pants should be fine.
For the avoidance of doubt, I wasn't seeking advice myself but expressing regret about how casual 'business casual' appears to be.
 

sinfjotli

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Thanks for the quick response! I guess I can always wear a tie the first day (just in case) and take it off if inappropriate.

Secondly, I wanted to ask if wearing a watch is considered an "essential" for an internship. I can see how wearing a classic formal watch can come off as being "snobby" considering that I'm only an intern. At the same time, I can also see how wearing a watch will allow me to look at the time without having to pull out my "very old/not so trendy" flip phone.

What's the general consensus on wearing watches for interns and if so, what kind?

I don't see any problem with wearing a watch at all, no matter your position in the company. For sure, if you have a very "showy" watch like a two tone gold Rolex, I'd reconsider, but a classic understated watch is always OK (and practical!) in my opinion.
 

add911_11

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I think all the suggestion is prefect for the situation. However, if you have a nice fitted suit, it never hurts to wear it in the first day just to give the right impression.
 

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