It’s Not You, It’s Your Outfit: How To Dress For Success in the PR Industry

You just got your first internship with a big public relations firm, now what? Go shopping, girlfriend. As much as I’m all about inner beauty, I have to be honest with you; what you wear is a major determinant in how people perceive you. This is especially true in public relations because you are branding other companies, products, people, etc. for a living. Therefore, how are people supposed to want to utilize your branding expertise if you can’t even brand yourself as a professional through your appearance?

PR is an interesting field because most work environments are typically business casual unless there is a client meeting. But what really even is business casual? To help define this vague term, I’ve compiled a list of essentials to invest in this fall. These pieces are very versatile and can be mixed and matched to create the perfect business casual looks. One last quick tip: always err on the side of caution when it comes to business casual dressing by emphasizing the “business” more than the “casual.”

Essential #1: Vest

This isn’t the typical sweater vest you wore in private school. The vest is hot this season, and essentially dresses up almost any outfit. Pair it with a dress and booties for a dressier look, or throw it over a pair of pants (leather preferably), long sleeve shirt and heels/flats for a casual work look.

Essential #2: Leather Pants

Suiting pants are on the outs in the PR/fashion industries, which means it’s time to get creative in terms of bottoms. Leather pants are the perfect alternative because they are much dressier than jeans, and really add a trendy feel to any look. However, be careful about how you style them. Since they tend to be tight, be sure 1. they aren’t too tight (no one wants an accidental mid-day rip at the office) and 2. a looser top is paired with them. My personal favorite tops to pair with them are flowy turtle neck sweaters or a classic silk blouse.

Essential #3: Silk Blouse

As you enter the workforce, silk blouses will become your new best friend. They are ideal in every season, and make you appear 10 times more polished than a sweater or knit top. You can spice them up by buying printed ones, or remain classic with solid colors. The types of pairings are endless as well, especially when you experiment with tucking in vs. leaving it flowing.

Essential #4: Booties

Booties make everything better. There’s something about them that makes every outfit just a touch more trendy than if you added a regular heeled pump instead. However, be cautious in terms of heel and platform height. I recommend three inches maximum in order to still appear professional as well as not feel like your feet are going to fall off two hours into the workday. Side note: PR jobs often require you to run around the city picking up and dropping off items and meeting with clients, so always consider this when choosing what shoe to wear to work.

Written by: Bethany Stokoski