With summer internship season getting started, the time to “dress for success” is back. If your professional wardrobe is in need of a summertime overhaul, the following style suggestions will help you stay cool on a budget and with flair. It’s crucial to abide by the dress code of your place of employment, but if you do have flexible outfit autonomy, then these suggestions may be just what you need.
Lightweight bright-colored blazers
Business professional attire usually requires neutral or subtle colors and patterns. If your place of employment gives you a break from classic blues and grays, seek out vivid colors to brighten your day while rushing to the office.
One way to add color into your outfit while maintaining a professional style is through a lightweight blazer over a neutral colored dress or shirt and pants. Consider a red, blue or even a yellow plaid blazer to be the perfect combination of business and boldness.
Price range: $49.99 - $89.95
Find them at: Nordstrom, Amazon, Forever 21, New York & Company
Necktie scarves and patterned ties
A must-have statement piece for your next summer internship outfit is either a necktie scarf or patterned tie. When paired with light pastels or dark neutrals, a necktie scarf or long tie can stand out as the centerpiece of your whole ensemble.
To make a tie the focus of your outfit, consider choosing one with a floral or polka dot pattern. A perk of including a necktie scarf to your wardrobe is that it can also be dressed down for less formal fun on the weekends.
Price range: $7.99 - $19.99
Find them at: Old Navy, Target, Banana Republic, Madewell
Ditch the buttons and eye-hooks this summer and welcome paperbag pants into your wardrobe. Don’t let the name fool you —these trousers fasten tightly to your waist using a built-in belt instead of buttons, and can still be form-fitting like other dress pants.
Paperbag pants add an understated accent to an outfit without becoming the focus of an ensemble. Due to its similarity to other dress pants, this style can allow people working in business professional environments to express themselves more. While these pants can come in a variety of colors, simple neutrals may be the best.
Price range: $29.50 - $70
Find them at: Loft, Express, H&M
Floral Blouse or Shirt
If you find yourself daydreaming of vacations and Hawaiian shirts as you get ready for your internship, try to mimic that idea with a professional flower-patterned blouse or dress shirt. Choose a white- or cream-based shirt with small or faded flowers to bring dimension to a rather dull outfit.
If you’re feeling bolder, seek out a floral shirt with a colored base that features flowers with bright oranges or purples. To ensure you’re getting as much as you can for your money, you could also choose floral patterns that feature more autumnal colors, such as rust or mustard, so that shirt can be used beyond the summer months.
Price range: $24 - $59.90
Find them at: Nordstrom, ASOS, Express, Target
Classic flats can be stiff and painful if they’re not chosen carefully and broken into immediately. To avoid blisters on your first day, consider buying a pair of mule flats. They are a hybrid between flats, flip-flops and loafers, which allow your feet to breathe while remaining professional with a closed-toed look. Depending on the rest of your outfit, you can make the choice on whether to be daring or subtle in color and style.
Price range: $17 - $56
Find them at: ASOS, Lulus, Target
If the following products are not in your price range, look for similar styles at consignment or secondhand stores to build a bright, bold outfit combination on your own budget. Mix and match any of these outfit and accessory suggestions to not only look fabulous but also show your employer that you can be professional and creative at the same time.
All products featured in this article were independently selected by Stephanie Mirah. Featured clothing stores do not equal endorsements.