Entries Tagged as 'Intern Advice'
Today, we’ll be covering the 15 pieces that you can use to build a professional wardrobe. These are the foundation of a wardrobe that is versatile, feminine and chic.
Tomorrow, I’ll turn these pieces into outfits. So if you already have your wardrobe together, you can get some ideas for how to mix in accessories to create different looks. But let’s start here, shall we?
1. The Suit. (J.Crew Stretch Wool Blazer $288, Skirt $118)
Even though I’m not as in love with the new J.Crew suits as I was with the old ones, I still think they’re the best suit for the money if you’re looking to make an investment. This is especially true if you can catch them on sale. Other stores to check for suiting include: Limited, Dillard’s, Nordstrom and Banana Republic. I recommend buying navy if you’re interning or starting work in the spring/summer and black if you start in the fall/winter.
2. Two Skirts. (J.Crew Telegraph Skirt $138, Topshop Pleated Skirt $96)
If you like pants, feel free to sub-in a pair of grey pants for the grey pencil (I like these), but I prefer skirts. A longer pencil skirt, like this Telegraph skirt, is a sleek way to bring a hint of vintage into your wardrobe. I chose the second skirt because I wanted to bring in a more relaxed, printed piece. If you’re anti-print, you could try a colored pencil or a solid pleated skirt.
3. Three Pairs of Shoes. (J.Crew Miri Pump $198, Nine West Andriana $79, Edelman Patent Flats $100)
You can make it the entire summer with just three pairs of work shoes: a black pair, a “nude” pair and a pair of colored flats. You should also add a pair of commute flats if you’ll be in a city where you walk a lot. If you’re not crazy about red, feel free to choose another color (like coral or green), but red is my go to.
4. Three Dresses. (Lace Inset Dress $97, Mint Pleated Sheath $55, Faux-Wrap Dress $25)
My wardrobe is heavily dress-dependent. They’re the easiest summer outfit imaginable. You just pick a dress, choose the shoes, add a couple of pieces of jewelry and you’re off. I like sheath dresses like this lace inset dress and this cap-sleeve mint dress because they can be dressed up or down. And wrap dresses are great for casual Mondays or days when you need to be in the office but don’t have meetings.
If you’re looking for a few more dresses, I like the Antonio Melani line at Dillard’s. I’m also a huge fan of hitting Nordstrom Rack online and Neiman Marcus Last Call. And if you’ll be working during the August recess, you might want to invest in some casual dresses like this printed shirt dress and this short sleeve jersey dress. I highly recommend stripe jersey for recess attire.
More pieces after the jump…
I’m not interning on Capitol Hill, but I’m hoping you can help me with a problem I am having.
My supervisor allows me to sit in on a lot of client meetings, but she requires that I wear a blazer. Our firm handles public relations and advertising, and a traditional suit is just too stuffy. Can you help me find some alternatives to basic blazers that cost less than $150 or less than $100?
I really appreciate the help, and love your blog. Thank you, Nyla
Your question reminded me of a post on Who What Wear that I featured a few weeks ago. Their interview outfit for someone in a creative profession was right on the money. The perfect mix of professional, cool and fashionable. And there are a number of inexpensive blazers on the market that could help you achieve a similar look.
From Left, Kut Moto Jacket ($47) // Vince Camuto Notch Blazer ($84) // Tahari Eyelet Jacket ($139) // DKNY Shawl Collar Jacket ($65)
A Moto Jacket. Check out this photo from Pinterest; I love the way the woman mixed the leather moto jacket with more traditional pieces to create a modern, edgy look. The knit jacket above is a more affordable version of the leather jacket she’s wearing.
If you like the idea of a moto jacket, check out this bright raspberry jacket or this under-$30 moto-sweater jacket from Victoria’s Secret. Petite? This mandarin collar jacket is cool. Plus size? This tweed moto jacket is really chic.
A Longline Blazer. A longline blazer is a blazer with one button and a longer cut. The cobalt blazer above is a longline with an inverted notch for an extra bit of style. If you like this look, Mango has a great longline blazer in a soft blush color and this white Madewell blazer is lovely as well.
Plus size? Vince Camuto makes the inverted notch blazer in plus sizes. Petite? Ann Taylor has a white longline blazer that’s cut for petite ladies.
A Textured Jacket. Whether you like lace or eyelet, a lightly textured jacket is a nice option for summer. This Tahari jacket has a more traditional cut (similar blazer here for under-$50), and this Pendleton collarless blazer has a slightly softer shape.
Plus size? Coldwater Creek has you covered. Petite? Try this Ann Taylor jacket.
A Brightly Colored Jacket. Bringing a burst of color into your office attire is a great way to spice things up, while still keeping it professional. The bright purple jacket above is a great choice, as is this bright yellow short jacket ($50!). Plus size ladies should check out this pretty green blazer, and petite ladies will love this sleek coral jacket.
These are just a handful of the shapes, styles and colors you could consider. I’d also look into peplum blazers, waterfall blazers (so chic) and cropped jackets.
I start my internship in less than three weeks, and I am so excited to come to D.C. for the summer. I’m searching for a pair of comfortable black heels that I can wear day after day. Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you for the blog! Audrey
Finding a pair of comfortable shoes is all about knowing where you need support or padding. So I always buy shoes online so I can test out their comfort on a multitude of surfaces (carpet, wood, concrete, tile, etc.), and gently wear them around for an hour. That being said, I’ve been really impressed by a handful of shoes that can be worn hard and last all summer.
J.CREW. The Miri pumps ($198) are really comfortable, which is amazing since they have zero padding in the front. They’re just under-3″, and have a real sleek and soft round toe.
Ann Taylor. I ordered a pair of AT pumps, and loved them. I ended up returning them, however, because the “nude” color looked a bit off next to my skin tone. But I will definitely be buying them in another color because they were THAT comfortable.
From the moment I put the shoes on, they felt soft and comforting. There were no hard seams or edges rubbing into my skin. My arches felt well-supported, and the padded footbed was sublime. They come in a 2.5″ version and a 3.25″ version. I also bought this ankle strap sandal in the beige-colored snakeskin for all of my evening events.
Corso Como. If you need a heel that is a bit taller (3.75″), the Corso Como Del pump is your best bet. They have a reinforced gel insole in the arch and footbed, and a classic style. Best of all, they’re available in a ton of colors.
Ivanka Trump. I own two pairs of IT pumps and I find them to be fairly comfortable. I add a Dr. Scholl’s insole to ensure that I don’t have to worry about unexpected walks to the coffee shop or an unplanned meeting on the other side of the Hill. Plus, they have such cute styles, from these basic black pumps, to these Mary Janes to these perforated leather sandals.
Naturalizer. I don’t mind being a little uncomfortable in my shoes at the end of the day. If I get a solid six hours, I’m happy. But some women aren’t willing to sacrifice even a minute of comfort. For those ladies, I recommend Naturalizer. The Clava pumps ($79) have an almond toe and don’t look the least bit clunky. Proving that you can find a super-comfortable work shoe that is also feminine and classic. I also like these peep-toe pumps with a block heel.
When you’re talking about a pair of every day pumps, you need to kiss a lot of toads before you find your prince. You also need to be willing to spend a little of money (it’s all about cost-per-wear). So shop around and pick the pair that is right for you, hopefully, I’ve narrowed down the list for you.
I just found your blog and I am so glad I did. I’m starting my internship in the Senate soon and your blog has been a lifesaver. I don’t own any dressy work shoes and I need to know which ones you think are must haves. I found another post you did on spring shoes but there were too many pairs. Could you whittle down the list to just what I need?
Oh, I remember when I was just starting my internship…I rode a Brontosaurus to my interview and faxed over my resume…only one of those things is true. But I digress…
From Left, MK Flex Mid Pump ($99), Rockport Lendra Black Pump ($100), Rockport Ashika Flat ($90), Acorn Ballet Flat ($78)
The truth is that an intern could easily get by with two pairs of shoes, one structured flat and one heel. Take a look at your wardrobe, what color appears most? If you’re wearing a lot of black, then you need black to carry you through. If it’s navy and fun colors, you need nude or grey or snakeskin. But for a shoe stash with just enough versatility that you won’t get bored, I think four pairs should do the trick. And since they’re for interns, all of the shoes referenced in this post are under-$100.
Nude-to-You. If you’re going to be wearing a lot of skirts and dresses this spring/summer, then you need a pair of flesh-toned pumps or flats. Make sure to buy a comfortable pair and take care of them (new heel caps, cleaning, re-soling, etc.). And if the patent gets scuffed, a Q-tip and some acetone will take that right off.
Other options include these Ellen Tracy pumps with a small platform, these kitten heel slingbacks and these Nine West pumps that come in a light and somewhat darker shade. Prefer a round toe? Try these Corso Como pumps or this inexpensive pair from Famous Footwear.
Black Pumps are an absolute essential. I used to own a pair of Rockport pumps and they were amazingly comfortable. Their styling is occasionally hit or miss, but this simple pair are perfect for the office (and this pair is pretty chic too, I think I need them).
Not crazy about this pair? I like the dramatic vamp on this pair. This almond toe Nine West pump is nice. And, of course, we have a low-heeled Ivanka Trump shoe as well.
Colored flats. I think a pair of colored flats can really jazz up a business suit or a pair of jeans. I also like this suede pair with the open side and this pair with a little embellishment on the front. I chose red because it goes well with navy, but you could easily choose another color to suit your taste and the colors in your closet. Some options include: cobalt, mint, emerald, coral and yellow. Or you could go with a metallic, either silver or gold.
Walk-Around Flats. As an intern, you’ll be giving a lot of tours. This task requires a lot of walking. You may also be living walking to and from work, or at least, walking significant distances to the Metro. This will take a serious toll on your feet, so you need a pair of foldable ballet flats that you can commute in, give tours in and just throw in your bag.
I’ve heard good things about these Acorn ballet flats. I also recommend the Yosi Samra flats (love the two-tone cap toes, the metallics and the snakeskin).
I’ve also known interns who liked to use driving mocs or Sperry’s as walking around shoes. I’m not the biggest fan of the Sperry option (unless they’re their new flats), but as long as their not Crocs, $4 flip-flop sandals or athletic shoes, I consider it a victory.
I like to walk through the National Gallery’s Renaissance collection on occasion and stare at the portraits, not because I’m nostalgic for a time before comprehensible memory, but because I like to look at their clothes. I really enjoy it. Its indirect inspiration gleaned from staring upon hardened generals in ruffled collars and turquoise lapels.
These paintings comprise the ultimate look-book for any season. The portraits of regal men in immaculate dress looking at you through their oil-paint eyes can make anyone look down at his or her khaki shorts and feel a little embarrassed. The grace and feeling of a time before socks and under shirts could wick sweat from your body, and when suits were truly custom made, is truly something to behold.
This gentleman, depicted by Joseph Wright in his 1770 work, Portrait of a Gentleman, is a great example of power conveyed through grace as well as attitude. The first thing that catches the eye is the wide, turquoise lapels, bordered by golden ribbon leading to the subject’s face. And while the lapels, brass buttons and red collar are elegant on their own, it is his gaze that should inspire you. This is a man looking towards the future with an unshakable confidence that never goes out of style. Coupled with the nonchalance of his folded arms, it seems he’s not only confident about the future, but also pretty certain about the present.
That attitude will always be modern.
I selected this piece because its style is hyper-masculine, yet refined. One should try and replicate this attitude every day, but also reflect on other elements of his dress. The playfulness of colors can be applied the modern man’s business dress. Despite the propriety conveyed by his suit, the color palette would be considered bold by today’s standards.
For a more modern frame of reference, take this look from Prada’s Fall 2010 collection. Notice the color and confidence. While this look might not be appropriate for the office every day, it would be perfect for more casual Fridays and could easily transition into happy hour and well beyond. While most of us won’t be able to look at a Prada price tag without a quick twinge of nausea, this is a look that most men can put together with pieces they already own. Try different colors, khaki suit with a light weight pastel sweater for summer, experiment with shades until you find a look that suits you. And then, by all means, wear it with confidence.
This attitude is evident in the style of many portrait subjects at the National Gallery. So, take a long lunch, or set aside a Saturday afternoon, walk to the museum and stare into the unshakable eyes of the past. Admire their clothes, the tailoring, the individuality and the grace. But, more than anything admire the refined confidence that is evoked and take that back to the office.