April 27th, 2012
Spring Wardrobe, Style Inspiration, What to Wear, Work Wardrobe
Style Inspiration: What to Wear to a Summer Fashion Internship
By Claire

So my sister recently scored an internship at a fashion PR company for the summer, and of course tapped her big sis for a bit of wardrobe advice. She says, “I’m doing an internship in New York, but I don’t know what to wear! Should I buy a suit? Black dress? Help!!!”
Obviously as an intern you probably don’t have the funds to buy a full on wardrobe, so I’d say to invest in a few key pieces you can mix and match for endless options. As fashion is a creative industry, a basic black suit won’t work, though you can showcase your personality in a suit in a bold color or pattern. Get your internship wardrobe ready by plucking a few classics: a black shift dress, pencil skirt, white shirt, black pants, and colored tops. Add a bit of pizzazz with a printed blazer, like this Cheetah Printed Sateen Blazer from Tibi, along with the matching pants.

Accessorize with either studs or hoops, and keep a statement necklace and bright bag on tap to incorporate a bit of personality. In terms of shoes, I’d recommend you keep a pair of flats on hand, and invest in a couple pairs of heels. Don’t blow your budget on super high end brands, but get a sturdy pair with a reasonable heel, perfect for almost everyday wear. In fashion, however, it’s worth it to buy one ‘splurge’ shoe. Either take the plunge or keep your eyes peeled for sales:

Though some of the pieces above are splurges, please know they are only used for illustrative purposes. Hit up Zara, Express, or J.Crew for work separates at affordable prices.

Before I receive a deluge of requests for different outfits for different types of internships, please hit up our Work Wardrobe category, which includes oldies but goodies like Fashion Bomb 101: 10 Classic Wardrobe Basics for Work and Play, our Summer Work Wardrobe Guide, and Building a Fashionable Work Wardrobe.

*For my PR girls, get even more tips in this archived Breaking into Fashion interview with Bonnie Morrison. Regarding wardrobe, she said, “If you have limited resources, seek out very basic things that make you look polished. Too many people think that it’s important to distinguish themselves with a lot of personality in their demeanor or personal appearance, and that’s not really what anyone is looking from an entry-level person! I was always told to keep my head down and do my work — what my friend Phoebe calls “clean your spaces and know your places.” It’s not REMOTELY worth going into debt to keep up with people who can afford to absorb all of the trends of the season, so if you can’t pull it off, you’re much smarter to invest in basic, professional separates that fit you well — pencil skirt, white shirts, some black cashmere sweaters, a peacoat, pair of good heels, etc. — than trying to execute too many trends badly. A little goes a very long way.”

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11 Responses to “Style Inspiration: What to Wear to a Summer Fashion Internship”

  1. Dionne says:

    Very good post! Congrats to your sister xo

  2. Eb says:

    I can’t tell you how much of a coincidence and blessing in disguise this post is. I was searching through your ‘What to Wear…’ section this week because I also landed a summer fashion internship. I was on the hunt for appropriate wardrobe essentials and now you’ve listed them! Thanks a bunch for this post!!

  3. Necia says:

    This is good. But also know some PR firms are a little more laid back then others. I intern at PR Consulting, a really great firm that represents numerous high end brands, cosmetics, and fragrances. Our dress code is comfort, with creativity and office acceptable! I will add sneakers are def a must! Just do it in a cute, fun way! Research, or ask aound for your internships usual dress code through the observation of an insider or past intern. You want your I internship see who you are, let your creativity speak for itself.

  4. MsGrant says:

    I love these style inspiration… but the price points are killing me! I guess that is why it’s called inspiration, because if I am an intern I definitely don’t have that kind of bread…

  5. candylicker says:

    What intern has this much money to spen on clothes?

  6. Claire says:

    To everyone complaining about prices. Right below the widget, we say, “Though some of the pieces above are splurges, please know they are only used for illustrative purposes. Hit up Zara, Express, or J.Crew for work separates at affordable prices.”

  7. p says:

    very appopriate for working in a creative industry. i def think a colorful or interesting bag is the best way to show personality.

  8. binks says:

    Very lovely suggestions Claire!

  9. binks says:

    Love it! Heck I am going to try to incorporate this inspiration for my work wear

  10. Miss Smith says:

    Major EMPHASIS on the flats!

  11. Ideas says:

    Ive had three fashion internships….and these looks are all wrong. This is exactly the advice I found too when I did my first internship and I felt really silly when I got there dressed like this. if you’re interning, you need flats, no questions asked, because you will be doing a lot of grunt work, and heels will eff up your feet in NYC. The looks are way too formal, interns are always very chic and stylish, but more casual chic than business casual. And the quote is right in that you shouldn’t try to compete with those than can afford high fashion and luxury products however, all the rest of the advice is wrong. If you want an internship for the sake of an internship with no benefit or value where you will be totally ignored then forgotten, sure…go ahead and dress boring and keep your head down. But if you want people to notice you even exist (because on average, no one notices interns) you should be unique in your style and personality. Trust me when I say you don’t become editor in chief of a fashion mag by being a wall flower. Fashion doesn’t respect wall flowers. So on average, where whatever you want that is stylish and professional enough for a place of work! Trust me on this pleaseeee

    Also, on the prices, it really isn’t that helpful if you show expensive items that people can’t afford but then tell me to go buy it somewhere else, that may or may not have those items

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