Internship Outfit Inspiration (for the business casual workplace)

So you’re done with the toughest part of the summer internship process – getting an internship – but you have absolutely no clue what the human resources intern guide means by “business casual attire.” To some, it could be jeans, a cute blouse and a blazer. But, to others, it could be a straight up pant-suit. Last summer I interned for a management consulting firm and we were expected to dress according to our client’s workplace’s dress code. Guess what it was? Business casual! So, below is a rough guide of how I went about my pre-summer-internship-business-casual-clothing-shopping.

First things first – get a solid pair of black pants that you can wear with almost any blouse or top. This makes it extremely easy to get dressed on those mornings when you don’t feel like putting any effort into thinking about your outfit. I am obsessed with my black Minnie Pant from J. Crew. They’re not only extremely comfortable and adorable, but they also look sleek and professional.

Also get a few skirts that are appropriate lengths and styles. Note: appropriate length does not have to mean below the knee (if you’re short like me that would just look silly). No, by appropriate length I mean something that doesn’t hike up your thigh more than 4 inches (max!) if you are sitting down and crossing your legs. Places like LOFT and Banana Republic have some great options.

Now all you need are some cute blouses that you can mix and match with your skirts and pants to keep your outfits looking fresh and stylish every day. I like to make sure I have a good balance of long sleeve and short sleeve blouses. This is because if I want to wear a jacket or blazer in the office, it could get too hot with a long sleeve blouse underneath. So on days that I want to wear a blazer I would wear a short-sleeve shirt. But, on days when I don't feel like adding an extra layer, I would just wear a long sleeve blouse. Ann Taylor and LOFT have a ton of options. Note: make sure the blouses aren’t too see-through! Sometimes they can be so see-through that your bra will be visible and you just don’t want that.

Is the pant/skirt and blouse look not for you? That’s ok! There are tons of professional (and cute!) dresses out there. Try to find ones that are an appropriate length and don’t show too much cleavage. Another thing to consider when buying professional dresses is how they might look with a blazer or sweater (sometimes offices are freezing from the AC during the summer so you will want to make sure that if you’re wearing a sleeveless dress you can match it with a cute cardigan or jacket). LOFT dresses are perfect because they’re youthful and comfortable – and they come in petite!

Shoes. Personally, I think it looks more professional to sport a cute pair of low-heeled pumps in the work place (but that could just be because I am only 5’1” and want to pretend I am taller…). I would start out with a simple black pair because they will go with everything. But if you want a change, then definitely get a pair of tan/nude heels! And, of course, if heels aren’t your thing flats are comfortable and reliable! Kate Spade, Zara, H&M and Forever 21 have good options.

Feeling like you’re going to be stuck wearing a lot of black, white and gray? Spice things up with some colorful accessories! I love adding a bright statement necklace to a boring black and white outfit, and tons of places like Bauble Bar, J. Crew and more have great pieces like the ones pictured above.

 

 

Photos courtesy of: Polyvore.com

 

 

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