You’re about to begin a summer internship in a new city, meet new friends, and embark on a summer adventure—but with so many upcoming adventures and summer activities, how exactly are you supposed to bring enough outfits to keep up with that much stuff? While it may be tempting to throw your whole closet into a suitcase and call it a day, you’ll quickly realize that’s not a good (or affordable) plan when you show up alone at the airport with five suitcases in tow. And even if you’re not traveling, buying tons of new office-appropriate clothing isn’t something a lot of people can afford. Which is exactly why we’ve put together a summer internship capsule wardrobe of everything you need to look great at your new job for the next three months. The key to looking stylish and polished every day is mixing and matching basic, versatile pieces, so keep reading for a strategic list of all the easy-to-style things you should buy or build off of to create a professional capsule for summer. Pro tip: Be sure to hold onto these pieces, because they’re all perfect for building a long-term work wardrobe for future internships and life post-college.
A white button-down: This is a classic wardrobe piece, and can be paired with anything from culottes to a wrap skirt. Choose a lightweight option to make sure it’s comfortable in summer weather.
A midi skirt: For super hot days when you need to look like your most professional self, a midi skirt is the perfect solution.
A printed skirt: Add a pop of color and design to your daily office look with a fun printed skirt paired a basic blouse.
A jumpsuit: If you’re looking to switch up your regular pants-and-blouse combo every once in a while, invest in a chic but polished jumpsuit.
A wrap dress: You really can’t go wrong with this classic piece. Opt for a longer length to make it office-appropriate.
Tailored pants: Invest in a quality pair to make this a staple in your work and internship wardrobe for years to come.
Culottes: Both comfortable and stylish, these flowy trousers are a comfort-lover’s answer to tailored pants.
A sleeveless button-down: On hotter days, forgo your regular blouse for a cooler option. Pair it with a skirt for maximum breeziness.
A knee-length dress: Choose a super simple option so that it’s versatile enough to pair with every accessory in your closet.
A midi dress: We all have a lazy day now and again, and when it strikes, you need a polished midi dress that requires zero thought or effort to throw on for work.
A shirt dress: Throw this on with some bright red lipstick and a basic pair of flats for a look that screams chic.
A linen blazer: Swap out your wool blazer with a lighter linen one to make a dress or white button-down tank a little more serious.
A printed dress: Go for a summery pinstripe design or a bright floral to up your dress game one more level.
Slip-on mules: Opt for a pair in a neutral color to ensure they work with essentially every piece in your closet.
Simple flats: Buy a durable, basic pair, because you’re going to wear this closet staple more than you think.
Kitten heels: A pair of shoes with a one-inch high heel is ideal for a work environment where you’re running around, while also kicking your style up a notch from your everyday flats.
Polished sandals: You’ll inevitably find yourself wishing for a cooler option on one of those 100-degree days, so get yourself a pair of sandals that will work with the majority of your wardrobe.
Tennis shoes: If you’re in a big city, you’ll likely have to walk quite a bit to get to work. Our suggestion? Wear your sneakers on the way there and back, and stow your actual work shoes in your bag to save your feet.
Rain boots: Don’t get caught on a rainy day without these. You may not need them a lot during the summer, but you’ll thank yourself on those occasions when it’s pouring outside and you have to walk through the puddles to the office.
A clutch: A straw clutch or a tan leather one is the optimal work staple to carry your phone, wallet, and variety of Glossier products, of course.
A structured tote: For days when you’re carrying more than your usual load, opt for a structured tote that can fit your laptop, your necessities, and everything in between.
A statement necklace: Whether paired with a dress or skirt-and-shirt combo, an eye-catching necklace will bring any look to the next level.
Bold earrings: If you skipped laundry day one too many times and your outfit’s looking a little sad, a bold pair of earrings will help distract from your look in a stylish way.
Simple studs: Choose a pair that you can throw on without too much thought—because you’ll find yourself running out the door with seconds to spare more than you expect.
Classic sunnies: A tortoiseshell pair is perfectly classic and timelessly chic. Don’t leave home without them!
Now that you have your summer internship capsule wardrobe sorted, it’s time to put it all together with some work-appropriate looks. Be sure to show us your #OOTDs on Instagram by tagging @cfashionista!
Featured photo by @trulyleesh.