What to Wear :: A Dietetic Intern Style Guide

In keeping with Saturday morning’s post, I am going to continue with our foray into Dietetic Intern styling after receiving a comment from future intern, Meg (Hi Meg!). She says, “I have scoured the internet and have found little help in the ‘what to wear to a clinically based internship’ area.” Obviously, I am just beginning my journey as a Dietetic Intern, but from my experience as a Diet Tech at a large hospital in Rochester, I have picked up a tip or two regarding what to wear.

The goal is to to look professional, but be comfortable. With that being said, is my personal opinion to be slightly over-dressed, than too casual. As the saying goes, “dress for the job you want.”

Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up, shall we?


The standard shift at my hospital was a 10 hour day, which can pose a major challenge for those tootsies. To combat foot fatigue, I would frequently bring two pairs of shoes to work with me. A pair of reasonable, closed-toe pumps (3 inches or less with a sturdy heel) and a pair of supportive flats. A tip for choosing flats: if you can bend the sole backwards, you will not have enough arch support.  Also, make sure the sole is not too slick, as spills in patient rooms and kitchens can be hazardous.  I prefer something with a little rubber.  Here are a few of my favorites:

A bright, unexpected heel can brighten up an ensemble.  As my mother always says, “shoes make the outfit.”

Skirts, Slacks, and Smart Dresses

My work wardrobe includes several pairs of nice slacks and skirts in various styles and colors. As far as slacks go, I have a couple of heavier wool pairs for winter (which I probably won’t need in California!), many cropped ankle-length for the warmer months, and then some in between.  Make sure to have your pants tailored so as to not drag and damage the hem.  Some shops will measure in store (Banana Republic, J.Crew, Nordstrom, etc.) and send them out for you, so ask if they provide tailoring.  Generally, this will cost you about $12 or less.

Pencil skirts are probably my favorite work-related garments.  This season bright colors are in, so take advantage of exciting hues and prints.  Don’t forget flattering A-lines either!  Check with your hospital preceptor before coming to work with bare legs; nylons may be required.

Just keep them a modest knee-length.



Temperature regulation can be tricky at the hospital. Some patient’s rooms are kept very hot or bone-chilling cold; layering is key. Camisoles, light blouses, button downs (short sleeve!), cardigans, and light pullover sweaters are appropriate year round.

As you can see I am drawn to cream/neutral colored tops.

I also love the dressed-up tee look too.

As you can see, there is no need to go out and buy up a whole new wardrobe.  Dressing up what you already own is as easy as accessorizing!

And yes, that would be a pineapple belt.  Can you say perfect for a future RD?


Keeping hair clean and away from your face (and patient’s food) is a no-brainer.  Here are a few styles I am totally digging.

I hope this takes away a little of the what-to-wear worry!  For more ideas and where to purchase some of the items I’ve posted, check out my Professional Stylings Pinterest Board.

Here’s to Future RDs!


16 thoughts on “What to Wear :: A Dietetic Intern Style Guide

  1. Oh I remember the days of dressing for clinical work in the hospital! I get to be a little more comfortable in my current jobs, with one requiring not much more effort than my PJs (I teach online from home and write). But I do love it when I head in to the office and get to put on my “work” clothes and I can remember that I am a professional in the field. Good luck to you in your internship.


  2. Good luck with your internship! I LOVED mine and learned so so much. I also gained a wonderful friend who I still remain close to and who was also in my wedding 🙂 I get to wear scrubs or business casual to work now (I work at an LTACH) but sometimes I do dress up to change it up a bit. I love to hear how future RD’s are doing. Good luck!


    • Thank you! I am really looking forward to getting started and meet everyone in person. We’ve talked online (ahhh, the wonders of Facebook) and they all seem really nice. Hopefully I will be lucky and gain a close friend like you!


  3. I loved this post! This would have been so helpful when I was going through my internship.
    I lived in flats. Looking back, they weren’t always the most dressy.
    I usually brought a cardigan cause the hospital always seemed cold. We have interns come through my work and they always dress so professional. Too cute!


  4. Pingback: I am OFFICIALLY a Dietetic Intern | On the Road to RD

  5. Oh my, thank you so much for this post! I’m about 3 weeks into my clinical rotation and in need of inspiration for clothing and hair. I really enjoying “dressing up” after being a student for so long. Thank you!


  6. I am currently half way through my internship and came across your blog! I love it! It has been such an inspiration after many long weeks of feeling overwhelmed with projects, papers, studying, learning.. etc. Have to stick to the Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good motto, and this definitely gave me ideas for my outfit tomorrow!


  7. What would you recommend wearing to a University interview for a Dietetics degree & hospital placement program (in the UK)?
    I’m not sure whether it is safer to wear black and neutral colours or whether I can wear some colour!
    Also, trouser suit or dress?
    I want to make a mature, professional and friendly impression! Competition is high!
    Thank you so much for your help 🙂


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