Girls: Your 8-Piece Capsule Wardrobe for your InternshipBy Rhiannon @ GKBC Writers Academy
You want to impress during your internship but as a student you probably can't afford to buy a whole new wardrobe. Here are eight must-have items of clothing to look smart during your work experience.
The delight you feel when you find out you’ve been accepted on an internship can quickly dissolve when you’re hit with the ‘smart-casual’ dress code. It can be so difficult to decipher and even when you have, it can end up expensive. One of the best pieces of advice I received was that a statement bag, coat and pair of shoes would set any outfit off. This is of course true, until you step foot in the office, take off your coat, put your bag down… you get the idea. With that in mind, here are eight must-have items for your interning wardrobe that are simple, elegant and smart and can be mixed and matched.
1) A good-quality coat
Especially at this time of year, a great coat is essential and though they can be expensive, it’s important not to skimp on price since 1) You want it to last and 2) There is nothing more unprofessional-looking than shabby outwear.
When buying a coat, there are a number of things you should consider. Learn what shape works for you. For example, for me, a straight cut with a strong collar works really nicely for my body shape. Also, consider buying a coat that is long enough to be suited to both trousers and a skirt. Simple colours such as black or navy are perfect as they look smart and can be worn with most outfits (plus, if you get a little bored of the monotony, they’ll also go with most hats and scarves). Finally, buy a coat with easy-to-reach pockets that are practical in size. It sounds obvious, but for easy access to your phone and train or bus ticket if you’re running errands or running late, pockets are essential.
2) A handbag
Because sometimes, pockets just aren’t enough. Choose a handbag that is big enough to fit the essentials you will need for the role (for example, if you’re working in editorial or social media, enough room for an iPad or equivalent and magazines). Choose a handbag with separating compartments for ease of access to make-up etc., and choose one you can put over your shoulder. No matter how fashionable a clutch, at the end of the first week of 9-5 you will regret it. Again, choose simple colours and try to avoid ‘trends’ if you’re spending a fair amount.
3) A cream blouse
Cream is a fantastic colour, since it is both classy and simple. It can be dressed down for a work day but instantly dressed up with jewellery for a drinks or networking event in the evening. Choose a blouse that is long enough to be tucked into a skirt or trousers, one that is not too sheer and finally, one that is not easily creased – the last thing you want at 6am is to be ironing your clothes because you forgot to hang them up!
4) A new pair of black skinnies
Black skinnies should be a staple of for any girl’s wardrobe; they’re incredibly diverse and they look smart. The reason I specify ‘new’ is because your old favourite pair may fit you perfectly, but faded greyish-black is not a good look, especially if you’re wearing with something else that is black, making discolouration show up even more.
5) A cropped jacket
To be worn under your coat, with either a high-waisted skirt or jeans, a cropped jacket instantly smartens up an outfit. Again simple colours are best, and choose a light, thin material so that you don’t get too hot or feel restricted when it is underneath your coat, or you’re in the office.
6) A high-waisted skirt
You knew this was coming. Fashion and office attire may have moved on, but the high-waisted skirt is still an absolute must for any intern’s wardrobe. It has been re-invented that many times that you are bound to find one that you like. Key rules: not too short, not too tight, and a simple colour or at least a block colour if you have patterned tops. If you tend to wear simple blouses, you could opt for a patterned skirt, provided it isn’t too garish: you make the call.
7) Smart ballet-flats
No matter how many beautiful pairs of heels you own, those really shouldn’t be making a look-in until you get to the office. Wear a pair of flats for your commute, and make sure they’re nice and smart so that if you need to run an errand in the middle of the day/your feet are killing/you break your heel etc. that you have an acceptable alternative.
8) A watch
I got feedback from an employer once who said they had a great interview with someone but didn’t hire them because they had not been wearing a watch. It can be just as easy to check the time on your phone, but remember that phones can get lost or run out of battery – and constantly checking your phone in some offices looks unprofessional!
Plus, there are so many fabulous designs to choose from, why would you not? Something simple and dainty can make as much of an impression on an outfit as a pretty bracelet (and demonstrate to your employer that you’re organised and reliable).
As cliché as it sounds, the most important thing you can wear to your internship is your attitude. That means being enthusiastic, attentive and confident in your abilities.
Do you have any essential items for internships? Share them in the comments below or tweet us!
Rhiannon is a student who wants to go into fashion editorial, and studies in London. She’s gained great experience for internships by working for GKBC Inc.