Style Inspiration: What to Wear to a Summer Fashion Internship

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.”


Claire Sulmers is the publisher and founder of Fashion Bomb Daily, the #43 most influential style magazine in the world.

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