Your Help Needed: What to Wear to a Summer Design Internship

April 17th, 2007

Design Office

A fellow Omiru reader, Christina, needs your help. 

Christina asks: What should I wear to a humid New York City summer internship in a design-related field?

Now we have our ideas about what Christina should wear, but the beauty about style is that there’s no one right answer.  And we believe that together, we can come up with a better answer for Christina than we at Omiru could by ourselves. 

So, tell us, what do you think Christina should wear this summer to her design internship?  You can leave your advice in the comments for this post.

Oh, and we’ll sweeten the deal and throw in a treat from Omiru’s giveaway closet for the person who gives Christina the best advice by Sunday, April 22. 

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Women's

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Briana  |  April 17th, 2007 at 8:26 am

    The beauty about this (but also the problem) is that there really isn’t any one right answer. That said, as a college student who’s been doing plenty of interviews and internships lately, I have some suggestions.

    1.) You might have to rough it a little. We all know you can’t get away with showing a lot of skin at work, so you probably won’t be your absolute coolest every day. However, you will undoubtedly have the benefit of air conditioning, so I wouldn’t worry too much about sweating all over the place.

    2.) Buy lots of pencil skirts! They are stylish and chic, and will keep your legs nice and cool. Make sure they aren’t too tight and go at least to your knee. I’d suggest beige and gray for summer, but it won’t hurt to invest in a good basic black one if you don’t have one already.

    3.) Layer. At least on your first day, wear a button down long or 3/4 sleeve blouse and bring a blazer to put on over it when you get to the office. (The blazer should match your skirt.) If you see other women at your office wearing just a blouse, then you can take a cue from them and lose the jacket. Also, if you see other women in short-sleeved blouses, you can probably incorporate those as well. In business, it’s always better to over dress than under dress - you can always take layers off.

    4.) Wear pantyhose at least for your first day. A lot of businesses don’t find bare legs appropriate in any situation, so use the over-dress rule again. If you see other women at the office without hosiery, you can probably assume its fine for you to do too.

    5.) No flip flops! I know that should be obvious, but I just wanted to clarify. Wear heels (preferably conservative and closed-toe) at all times. You might be able to get away with flats. Again, take your cue from what the other ladies at the office are wearing.

    While it might be unpleasant at times dressing for the office in hot weather, it’s a necessary evil. Just remember the rule for your first few days - its better to over dress than under dress. Hope that helped!

  • 2. Rachel  |  April 17th, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    The suggestions above are great. I would add that offices in creative fields generally have a slightly more casual dress code. However, it’s still advisable to make a good impression by dressing in professionally for your first week or so.

    A simple pair of black pants is an essential. They don’t have to be expensive to look nice. There are plenty of options at Ann Taylor Loft and Express.

    A lot of offices are air conditioned to the max, so think about investing in a light cashmere wrap to bring with you every day.

    Be careful with the heels — nothing too high. The last thing you need is to trip on your way to the subway in the morning.

    Err on the conservative side with makeup and hair. If you have long hair, a low ponytail usually works. If you find the office is more casual, after a few days you can wear your hair down.

  • 3. Jenna  |  April 17th, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    There was actually just an article about that in the may cosmo girl…you should look at that!

  • 4. Maureen  |  April 17th, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Those are some excellent ideas. Also don’t wear tanktops or anything low cut or revealing. Keep the skirts to knee length and try and wear fabrics that breathe like linen or cotton.

  • 5. Maureen  |  April 17th, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    And wear pantyhose even if they don’t. Any tattoos or piercings take them out or cover them up.

  • 6. Lynda Fernandes  |  April 18th, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Hi. Great Ideas from everyone. I would add simple wrap dresses in cotton fabrics, would keep you cool and chic at the same time. They look smart enough for the office and you could accessorise accordingly. All the best at your internship.

  • 7. colleen  |  April 18th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    I would recommend one good crisp linen suit and use the jacket and skirt as seperates, a good black skirt with a few blouses, comfortable heels, a wrap dress, a khaki skirt and two cotton or silk cardigans. You may want a leather tote for work related items, water bottle or a newspaper. The heat on the subway can be murder so if you tend toward oily skin, carry some blotting papers so you can look fresh upon arrival at the office. Have a fabulous summer and enjoy NYC - it is a tall glass of champagne.

  • 8. Krista  |  April 19th, 2007 at 12:22 am

    I would suggest that you go for an elegant, classic look on your first day so you will be able to get an idea of how the other women in the office dress without taking too many risks with your own look. I would definitely recommend a skinny silhoette pencil skirt, or perhaps a pair of dress pants with a blouse and blazer, as many others have recommended. To keep your hair out of your face I would go for a sleek look with hair pulled back (maybe with a nice barrette or skinny headband to accessorize), and impeccable (but not overwhelming) make up (try smashbox’s “cooling tint” to give your face some cool sensation during the head), and subdued accessories.
    As you begin to observe the dress code of other women, you may find that you’re able to wear less “businessy” such as short sleeved tops without a jacket. You will also probably find that your position in a creative design atmosphere will allow you to show off some funky accessories such as bright jewelry, trendy heels, and (tastefully) loud handbags. Keep in mind that as a lowly intern, you should strive to look very professional no matter what you’re wearing in order to be taken seriously by your co-workers.

  • 9. Krista  |  April 19th, 2007 at 12:23 am

    Oops typo! “during the heat,” not “head.”

  • 10. cindy Wong  |  April 19th, 2007 at 2:11 am

    you know what, this is a great post topic. i think people should post their best fashionable work outfits, especially if they work in a creative field, like myself. it would be inspiring to see some photos! btw, I work in Miami and the humidity here is killer. Everyone’s posted really good advice and what I can add to that is definitely get comfortable foot gear probably after you assess your work dress environment. If you work in a creative design environment, they’re more relaxed, at my workplace I can’t exist without my diesel sneakers and black flat boots.
    A-line dresses along with wrap dresses are chic and easy to wear. Also, don’t be afraid to integrate color/prints/patterns into your outfits at your internship. How you dress in a creative environment often expresses your personality and how impressions are made. After my first internship, I threw out all my khakis because I grew to hate how corporate it looked.

  • 11. H.P.  |  April 19th, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Hey Christina,
    If by “design-related” you mean creative then by all means don’t hold back in using a bit of originality to spice up your work wardrobe. Skirts and dresses are a given in hot and humid weather, but mix it up by using colours and patterns to not only flatter your body but to reflect a little bit of why you were hired as an intern in the first place. A good way to avoid burning a hole in your pocket is to focus on the small details, such as a bright hairband to push your hair back (and help keep your face cool) or a pair of unique earrings. It’s not a question of what but how!

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