How to Create a Summer Internship Wardrobe on a Budget

So you’ve been hired for a summer internship. Congrats, the hard part is over! Now you’ve just got to worry about looking your best and presenting yourself professionally. College students are notoriously strapped for cash though, which makes this a lot harder than it sounds. But with a little determination, you can easily dress to the nines without breaking the bank...here’s how!

Hit up the clearance racks

Honestly, who doesn't love finding a great bargain after rifling through the clearance section? Picking up a few things on sale here and there will quickly build your professional wardrobe and help you save the big bucks!

Use student discounts

Sign up for student discount sites like UNiDAYS, where you can find lots of deals for stores that sell business casual clothes (like 15% off at Express!). If you’re shopping online, do a quick Google search to find student promo codes that you can apply to your order. When shopping in-store, don’t be afraid to ask the cashier if there are any student discounts---a lot of stores offer them, but keep it on the down-low.

 

Shop at affordable stores

Just because you have to have fancy clothes for your internship doesn't mean you have to shop exclusively at fancy stores. Stores that first come to mind when you think of business casual (Banana Republic, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Express) can also be extremely pricey. Catch these stores when they’re having sales, or try looking at budget places you wouldn't normally consider for work clothes. Old Navy, Target, H&M, Forever 21 and more all have lots of professional clothes at affordable prices.

 

Look for versatile pieces

Choose quality over quantity, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend! An easy way to make the most of a small number of clothes is to make sure you’ll be able to easily mix and match everything. Think of it as a “capsule wardrobe”---a minimalist approach to maximizing the number of possible outfit combinations with the fewest number of items.

Incorporate pieces from your existing wardrobe

Building a professional-looking wardrobe doesn't mean you have to start completely from scratch. You can use things already in your closet and dress them up. For example, you can make an everyday shirt or sweater look super classy by pairing it with nice bottoms, shoes and jewelry.

Invest in staple pieces that will last

When buying clothes for your summer internship, don’t forget that you’ll be able to use everything for your first job! That means it doesn't hurt to splurge here and there when it comes to things that will last a long time like blazers and pencil skirts. In the long run, you’ll save more money because you won’t have to replace cheap, poor-quality clothing. On a related note, try to avoid things that are super trendy since they might be out of style after graduation...look for timeless, classy pieces instead!

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