Guide to Your Summer Internship Wardrobe

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School is out and the sun is shining but instead of indulging yourself with pool visits and multiple naps a day, you’ve decided to take on a summer internship or job. Yay you! Internships are a great way to explore career paths and sometimes even different cities.

This summer, my sister Catalina traveled to Washington D.C. to intern for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. I am incredibly proud of her. This internship is a step towards her career goals, and it is a highly selective program; only around 25 students in the country get it each year. I am continuing my internship with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Columbia, MO, and I am excited to assume a new position as Public Affairs Student Trainee.

Naturally, Cata and I had the summer internship wardrobe conversation. We discussed comfortable shoes, renting clothes and thrift shopping. Here are my best tips for your internship wardrobe:

Invest in good-quality basics
I was rushing to an event job one morning and needed a pair of black slacks. My old ones didn’t fit and the only thing open was… Walmart. This was an emergency, so I bought the slacks. To my surprise, the pants were really comfortable, but the fit was weird. The back faux pockets were lumpy and made my butt look weird.

Don’t do this to yourself. Getting new clothes for a job can be expensive, but try investing in a few key pieces. Find two pairs of slacks that you like and at least one blazer. You can find acceptable-quality pieces at affordable stores like Gap, H&M, Old Navy and ASOS. (I like H&M’s Conscious line).

Consider a clothing subscription, but think of your location
(Full disclosure, I have been a Rent the Runway campus insider. The content below is my honest opinion, and I am not being compensated for this review).

I’ve had the chance to try subscriptions from Le Tote and Rent the Runway, and I absolutely love them. Getting to wear amazing pieces for a fraction of the cost seems like a no-brainer.

However, I think the location you are in is really important. If you get an unlimited subscription (you can wear and switch as many pieces as you want each month), you’ll have to allow some time for your clothes to be mailed back to the warehouse before you can order new pieces. My experience with Rent the Runway while living in Missouri was a 4-day wait, two days for the clothes to get to them and two days for me to get my new items. This was in 2018, and RTR has been introducing faster shipping so this might be different now.

However, if you live somewhere where RTR has a physical location (D.C., Chicago, NY, etc) you can walk into the store with the items you have used and walk out with new ones. Being able to do this really enables you to use as many items a month as you would like. It also makes the subscription cost seem more affordable.

Go thrift shopping
If a clothing subscription is not the option for you, I recommend that you buy your good-quality basics (slacks and blazer) and get your tops and accessories at a thrift store. Reusing clothes is more affordable and sustainable than buying $5 tops at a fast fashion chain. One of my favorite thrift stores in Columbia, MO is Upscale Resale.

Give your feet some love
My go-to work shoes are a pair of black Skechers BOBS with memory foam footbeds. They might not be the prettiest shoes, but they are feet heaven. I am also into loafers and oxfords; I just love the comfort + style combo. I rarely wear high-heels to work, but if you prefer to do so, Cata bought some Dansko platform shoes that seem very comfortable.

Do you have any other tips for summer internship/work outfits? Share below or tell us where you are working this summer!


Story: Aurola Wedman IG: aurola.wedman  

Photography: William Viquez  IG:willviquez