Now that you’ve got that internship, it’s time to look the part and add some work gear into your regular wardrobe. It’s important to appear professional and polished, and wearing something sophisticated commands an extra bit of respect. Some say a good rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Feel lost? We’ve got some tips that will help you like a refined workingwoman.
Wait and see. If you don’t have a few classic pieces like a blazer and pencil skirt, it's fine to buy them so that you have something to wear on the first day. But resist the urge to go on a shopping spree before your internship starts. It's a better idea to get the lay of the land and see what the full-timers wear each day. If the ladies wear nice jeans and cute blouses, you’ll be glad you didn’t buy ten suits. Plan a shopping trip after your first week, and you’ll be able to do a little copycatting.
Keep it classy. Whether your work environment is business casual or high-powered corporate, it’s always important to look like a classy broad. That’s why you need to avoid outfits that make you look like ho-fessional. Make sure the skirts and dresses you buy don’t ride up too much when you are sitting down. When in doubt, go for a more conservative cut. Buy a staple piece like a cool cropped blazer that you can wear over tanks and tees. When it’s super hot, you can get away with less clothing (again, look to the rest of the staff to find out what will fly), but offices are almost always air conditioned, so they’re never a place for a halter top (even if the lady at Express says you can pull it off). Dresses are usually an easy way to stay cool in the summer—just make sure they’re more suited for an office than a club.
Go for patterns. While everyone associates black jackets, skirts, and pants with the work wardrobe, don’t be afraid to put some spunk into your threads. An easy way to do this without coming off as inappropriate is to incorporate fun print and bright colors into your tops. A leopard printed cardigan is fun, but still within the right lines. To brighten up a black ensemble, add bold hues, like hot pink or cobalt blue (that’s a very in color this season). It’s OK to stand out a bit, as long as the attention is on something positive, polished, and pretty.
Accessorize. Adding a thin belt to your waistline not only gives you a nice shape, but it adds a little flair to a basic pencil skirt. Jewelry is a fun way to add some flavor—maybe splurge on a rose gold watch or a wrap bracelet. Headbands and barrettes might make a work bun look super stylish. Remember, your nails are accessories too—always keep ‘em clean and, if possible, polished. You can add a little flair to these too—it's not necessary to stick to clear polish, unless that’s what you prefer.
Be smart. Forgo the stilettos in favor of loafers or low heels—otherwise co-workers will wonder how you walk to and from the train in those Jessica Simpson pumps. Your shoes say so much about you, and six-inch heels at the office make you seem kind of stupid, so try a smart wedge. Other smart things to have: a nice umbrella, the perfect rain jacket, rain boots, sunglasses, a leather bag, and flat shoes. You don’t need multiple of each item—in fact, that will get too expensive. Just buy one nice version of the thing you need. Tip: TJ Maxx has name brand sunglasses and bags for less. Keep a black cardigan and an extra pair of nondescript shoes at your desk. You never know when you might need them.
Got any tips for being a stylish intern? We want to know what you keep in your work wardrobe!
Related post: How to Look Cute in Business Apparel