30 HR-Approved Summer Internship Essentials
You’ve scored the internship of your dreams and put down the deposit for your first month’s rent, and now all that’s left to do is figure out what to wear. If only it were that easy! Since you obviously want to make a good first impression on the higher-ups (namely, your boss), throwing on the same old button-down and black trousers isn’t always going to cut it. The last thing you want to do, after all, is appear sloppy and careless — especially in a cutthroat Devil Wears Prada-esque setting. At the same time, you don’t want to show up in something that would best be reserved for the club (read: towering platform heels and a plunging neckline). While what’s considered HR-approved may vary between work environments, we’ve uncovered 30 summer work wardrobe essentials that deserve a spot in your capsule wardrobe STAT.
1. ASOS Candy Stripe Split Front Wiggle Dress ($78): Blending in has never been your forte, and you’re not about to start now. A blasé day at the office simply doesn’t exist when you’re dressed in head-to-toe candy stripes.
2. BaubleBar Hokkaido Pendant ($32): While you should steer clear of distracting jewelry (hello, body chains and ‘90s-esque chokers), there’s something to be said about a beaded tassel necklace that’s equal parts playful and elegant. At the very least, this beach-inspired accessory will add some personality to a plain white blouse.
3. Zara Printed Trousers ($50): For every pair of snoozy black slacks, you need a pair of look-at-me printed trousers on standby. If you’re interning in a creative environment, then these colorful botanical printed pants are totally game with an architectural top or a striped tee.
4. Mint Patent Tieks ($195): First things first: Invest in some commuter flats that can be tucked into your tote for safekeeping at all times. (You can thank us later.) These mint patent Tieks made from Italian leather need to be on every intern’s summer shopping list. Anything to keep the blisters away, right?!
5. J.Crew Short-Sleeve Popover Shirt ($78): Calling all cool girls! Don’t let a boring Oxford shirt cramp your style. This warm weather-approved short-sleeve popover will look ah-mazing with a minimalist necklace and cropped flares. #ProTip: Leave it slightly unbuttoned and tucked in for an I-woke-up-like-this look.
6. Club Monaco Ali Crop Pant ($160): If even the thought of wearing trousers to the boardroom makes you uneasy, then a tailored pair of cropped pants is the way to go. Less uptight, more daytime-casual, these koi fish-printed pants would look cute with a lightweight cardigan or a ruffled blouse.
7. Zara Blazer With Elbow Patches ($100): Is it just us, or do elbow patches have a way of making everything better? Be one of the cool kids by pairing this laid-back chic blue blazer with an accordion-pleat skirt or high-waisted shorts for a classic look.
8. Oasis Floral Print Pencil Skirt ($78): Dominate the corporate world with this gorgeous floral print pencil skirt that could work even in the most conservative settings. The flattering fit and well-placed side slit will have you channeling a girlboss ‘tude in no time.
9. J.Crew Elsie Bow-Tie Pumps ($278): You know what they say: Behind every savvy intern is a killer pair of shoes. Feast your eyes upon these preppy striped bow-tie pumps that will add instant flair to your nine-to-five style.
10. Mango Striped Cotton Jumpsuit ($70): As it turns out, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for an office-appropriate look that means business. Gear up for Memorial Day weekend by teaming this lazy girl-approved blue and white striped jumpsuit with “ugly” glove shoes and a structured white blazer.
11. Wilfred Sheer Stripe Triangle ($50): Say buh-bye to overly frigid office cubicles and hello to this lightweight white pom-pom embellished scarf that will instantly become your new security blanket. Wrap it around your neck, drape it around your shoulders or toss it over your legs for extra warmth the next time the air conditioner strikes.
12. BaubleBar Main Squeeze Studs ($32): Too much office bling? No way — not as far as these citrusy studs are concerned! For a pop of yellow and some much-needed whimsy, do sport these summery lemon squeeze earrings on the daily.
13. & Other Stories Oversized Twill Shirt Dress ($95): You wake up after your alarm and need to get to the office in record time — all the while looking impeccably chic, might we add. Enter the oversized white shirt dress that requires zero effort. Toss it on alongside a streamlined black blazer, ankle strap heels and a top knot for a foolproof look that works every time.
14. Henri Bendel Uptown Satchel ($498): Executive boardroom meetings and meet-and-greets with industry insiders? No prob! This ladylike satchel means business on every day of the week. You could even style it with jeans on an off-duty day and still look like a boss.
15. Equipment Signature Silk Shirt ($268): Fact: A summery berry print breathes new life into an everyday silk blouse. While this one’s a bit on the splurge-worthy side, you’ll appreciate having a playful blouse in your line-up to keep dreary Mondays away. Besides, when you factor in the cost per wear, it’ll totally pay for itself.
16. Banana Republic Long Notch Lapel Blazer ($198): Blazers aren’t normally your jam, and that’s okay. But we have to admit, this effortless hero piece just may be the exception. Comfortable enough to be a cardigan but polished enough for back-to-back-to-back meetings, this slouchy long blazer will easily be the first thing you reach for in the morning.
17. Nomad by Morgan Carper Jacquard Mini Skirt ($148): Swap out your uniform of black and gray pencil skirts for this colorful jacquard mini that will add instant cheer to your day. Depending on your office’s dress code, you could maybe even get away with a cold-shoulder top and wedges.
18. Mango Straight-Cut Boyfriend Gilet ($80): Keep the sweltering summer temps at bay with this sleeveless sandy-hued boyfriend blazer that won’t have you sweating before you even make it to the office. It’s effortless enough to slip over a dress and tailored enough to dress up a pair of high-waisted trousers.
19. Solid & Striped The Long Skirt ($218): When the material and print is right, long skirts have the potential to look incredibly regal. This sophisticated button-front gingham maxi is a cool-girl staple that can be styled along with classic ballet flats for a Parisian-chic look.
20. Ted Baker Damica Tribal Stripe Fold Tunic Dress ($295): No matter where you’re interning, there’s bound to be a post-work networking event or after-hours function to attend at some point during the summer. Skip the wardrobe change (and save yourself the sprint back home) by investing in this sporty striped dress that can take you from desk to drinks — just accessorize it with simple pearl studs and lace-up ghillies.
21. Industry Standard The Simone Highrise in Black ($95): Play it by ear, but if you can get away with sporting black jeans in the workplace, then we highly recommend doing so. Just say no to distressed jeans — and steer clear of overly trendy bell bottoms — to avoid looking like you’re heading to a rock concert. Style these streamlined jeans with a crisp button-down (try a half-tuck) and patent loafers.
22. Marc Jacobs New Classic TBD Watch ($225): This goes without saying, but you can’t be a rockstar intern if you don’t have some arm candy in your collection. Splurge a little on this menswear-inspired timepiece that will make everything — blazers, LBDs and pencil skirts — look 10 times more cutting edge.
23. ASOS Premium Satin Culotte Suit Trousers ($61): The day your office decides to have a spontaneous dance party, you’ll be more than prepared thanks to these satin tie-waist trousers. Not only will they look sharp with a tuxedo blazer and pointy toe pumps, but they could just as easily be dressed up with a silk cami for happy hour.
24. M.Gemi The Stellato ($198): Two-tone smoking slippers, where have you been all our lives? Whether you style these bad boys with a structured sheath dress, free-wheelin’ culottes or skinny jeans, the end result will be equally stunning.
25. ASOS Shirt Detail Shift Dress ($65): At the core of every girlboss-approved wardrobe is a conservative shift dress that can double for the boardroom and after-hours. This versatile navy dress with a pristine white collar is guaranteed to make a stellar first impression, especially when power pumps are in the equation.
26. Eva Franco Ribboned Plaid Dress ($178): Your internship capsule wardrobe isn’t complete without a cocktail dress that you can confidently wear to the office (and beyond). When topped with a leather jacket or an oversized blazer, this strapless knee-length plaid dress could totally double for the office — no questions asked.
27. The Atelier The Icon Tote in Noir ($225): Leave the crossbody sacs and of-the-moment saddle bags for the weekend. This timeless black leather tote is roomy enough to carry all the essentials (think commuter flats, phone charger and a laptop)… and then some.
28. Kate Spade Watercolor Shirtdress ($348): For unpredictable days spent running errands all over the city, you need a shirt dress that’s functional and polished enough to take you from AM to PM. This girl doesn’t have time to worry about pesky wrinkles or gusty winds! Not only can this painterly shirt dress be styled on the go (just add ballet flats and sunnies), but it won’t sacrifice your on-point style one bit.
29. Reformation Kensington Jacket ($198): Unfortunately, rainy days do exist. Avoid spontaneous downpours (and showing up to work looking like a wet dog) by investing in an elevated all-weather trench that’s stylish enough to be worn on its own. No rubber ducky yellow rain slickers here!
30. ASOS Textured Large Floral Blazer ($89) + ASOS Textured Floral Tapered Trouser ($65): If you’re going to get all gussied up in a power suit, then you might as well take it there with this matching floral set. (Sassy specs not required, but definitely encouraged.) Whether you wear the blazer and trousers together or mix and match them with other separates for a slew of sartorial possibilities, you’ll easily be the best-dressed intern around.
What internship essentials do you swear by? Follow us on Pinterest for more boardroom-approved style inspo!
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