Landing your first internship means many things for the young collegiate woman. It means you are now a professional woman. It means that you have the skills and experience a professional company is working for. It means that you’ll be working long hours, typically for no pay. But what does it also mean? A new wardrobe!
With a new wardrobe comes new responsibilities and an internship wardrobe is an especially tricky one, since you must plan around the demands of your internship and your own personal comfort level. Of course, you’re going to look fabulous no matter what, but there are a few mistakes every intern makes at least at some point…
1. Dressing for the office and not the commute and vice versa
If your internship is in a city near your home or college, you have to commute. This means squeezing yourself into a crowded public transportation vehicle, bag tightly clasped to your chest, while looking around desperately for a seat. You may have to walk a few blocks. If it’s the summer, you may go for that loose, sleeveless dress that you look totally rocking in. In the winter, you never forget your turtleneck — yes, turtleneck! And this is all only to arrive at the office an hour later, settle into your cubicle, and be immediately assailed by the office’s brutally chilling AC or blazing hot heater. Or maybe you do the opposite: forgo wool tights because they don’t go with the dress and walk out of the office to snow later on. Just remember to pack layers and adjust as you go. Never forget your essentials: a cardigan, an extra pair of tights, and extra socks/shoes (rain and flats don’t mix).
2. Letting your hair down… and looking like Hermione by 5
You spent a half an hour last night curling your hair so it would look fabulous out of its usual bun in the office. You’re going out to dinner right after anyway! But, of course — because who really checks the humidity index anymore? — it’s 5 p.m. and you’re about to leave the office when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and see that you look like pre-Yule Ball Hermione Granger. Yikes! How long have you been looking like this? Of course, the remedy to this is to check the weather and plan your hair accordingly. Always keep a hair-tie on you and don’t underestimate the power of coconut oil as a hair mask to keep it from getting here in the first place. If all else fails, just work it. You got this.
3. Wearing the skirt that looks good standing up…
Standing up, your skirt is definitely sexist high school dress code approved: the hem goes below the tips of your fingers. But then you go to sit at your desk and suddenly it’s turned into a mini-skirt. If that makes you uncomfortable, get one of your essentials out of your bag: a pair of comfy shorts to slip underneath. Keeping shorts with you at all times can serve a purpose even outside the office: it can save your day on a particularly windy walk home.
4. Wearing heels…only heels.
You’re so excited about your new heels that you completely forget the coffee that you need to get around ten, the stacks of papers that you need to carry to the copier at eleven, and the meeting across the building that you need to trek to at twelve. It’s a no-brainer to always pack a pair of flats with you, but it’s easy to forget. Don’t have any moleskin with you to quickly slip into your heels? Changing your posture is one way to make your heels more comfortable, quickly.
5. Forgetting to wash off the Xs from last night at the club
It happens to the best of us. You’re chatting amiably to your supervisor and as you turn to reach for your coffee, you catch sight of the ugly black sharpie marks across the back of your hand. It’s not the end of the world; your supervisor has to have gone to the club at some point, too. But if it feels unprofessional and embarrassing to you, try the hand sanitizer you dip into every time you ride the bus! Rubbing a liberal amount on might just do the trick and if you carry lotion, try some of that too to get the last few black streaks off.