Before Your First Day: Business Casual for Hollywood Interns

What is Business Causal? 

It is a question that interns have been asking themselves for generations. Wondering what to wear on your first day? To intern orientation? Well I can’t help you.  Okay…maybe that’s not entirely true. Every company has their own culture and hence their own dress code. The majority of Entertainment Companies employ a business casual dress code. However in some companies, such as ABC, this means nice jeans and a blouse. Meanwhile, at Discovery Communications, jeans are banned for interns. A nice dress and cardigan there goes a long way.

There are three types of “Business Causal” Workplaces:

1.Jean Friendly: Most production companies, ABC, Development offices, and Digital companies fall into this category. At these workplaces a nice pair of jeans (no rips!), a blouse (try Nordstrom Rack for some great ones), an optional cardigan, some accessories, and a pair of ballet flats, will cut it.

2. The Agencies: The agencies like to say they are business causal. THEY AREN’T. DON’T BE FOOLED. Brush off your suit and get some designer accessories. I would also suggest getting some nude heels.

3. The Standard Business Causal: Discovery Communications, most major studios, any Business/Legal department internships. This is perhaps the most confusing. Where’s the line between business and business casual? Why is this so hard! Well below, I’ll give you examples and everything you need (and most likely already have) to knock this wardrobe thing out of the park.

The Wardrobe Pieces You’ll Need (and probably already have) for a Business Causal Dress Code:

1.Black Pants
2.Colored Pants or Khakis

3.Slightly-Above-The-Knee Black Skirt
4.Slightly-Above-The-Knee  Patterned Skirts

5.Slightly-Above-The-Knee Dresses (Patterns okay!)

6.Nice Blouses


9.Pairs of Ballet Flats

10.Pairs of Comfortable Heels

11.Accessories: Scarf, Bib Necklaces, Bangles, Thin Colored Belts

Things to Keep In Mind While Planning Your Outfit:

1.FASHION CITIES: Hollywood/New York/ and most cities with Production Companies are fashionable. It’s just a fact of life. I’m not saying you need to spend a bunch of money following the trends! Don’t do that! If anything this gives you the freedom to wear bold colors, patterned skirts, and cool fun accessories.

2.DESIGNER BRANDS: Since these cities are so fashionable, Designer labels are appreciated. In fact, I would go so far to say you should have one ‘designer’ piece on at all times. I know…you’re freaking out right now. Don’t! Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, and Marshals are great places to get low-price designer outfits. They have especially great blouses and ballet flats for work. Also, trendy bangles (cost about $20-30) are a great way to glam up your outfit.

3.SAFE THAN SORRY: If you are unsure about if something is appropriate, don’t wear it. Hint: It shouldn’t be something you wore this weekend to a party. Or something that shows cleavage, your legs, or is see through.

4.DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT: You will often be the best dressed person in the office. Your boss might show up in ripped jeans and a t-shirt. But do not follow his lead! ‘Dress for the Job You Want’ is advice I have been given many times. I don’t mean show up in a suit! Just take pride in your appearance and your work. It will pay off in the recommendation letter. Trust me.

5.IRON: For the love of god, buy a $15 iron from Target and use it. Wrinkled clothes are very unprofessional!

Have a Production internship? Click here to find out about your very different dress code. 

Before Your First Day: Business Casual for Hollywood Interns Before Your First Day: Business Casual for Hollywood Interns Reviewed by Hollywood Interns on 6/05/2014 Rating: 5


  1. Anonymous2/04/2015

    I'm interning at Discovery and we are allowed to wear jeans! Most people do. So you might want to switch that company to the jeans business casual category :)

    1. Hey! Discovery Studios does, but corporate (AD Sales, Digital, Marketing) has a no jeans policy. I interned there last summer. At all companies, it really just depends on the department. :)


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