Now that graduation season is upon us, it’s time for your first ever job interview for that summer internship you’ve had your eye on. Things are going well. You got the meeting. You’re feeling good. Or you already got the internship, but forgot to ask about the dresscode.
Ensue a freak out: You’ve got nothing to wear. And we forbid you from asking your mom about what to wear. We got you covered.
Our seven point program for how to approach internship style is budget friendly, and entirely easy to pull together. As always, just pay attention to the details, invest in the best stuff you can afford and don’t be afraid to spend a little money to (hopefully) make a lot of money.
GET TO THE POINT
Here’s a quick education on how to wear a great work shirt in two sentences. Shirts with a button down collar (known as oxford collar button downs or OCBDs in the business) are more casual. Shirts with a pointed collar are more formal and traditional and are a must have for a job interview. The good news is chain stores like H&M are making point collar shirts polished enough to win over any potential employer. On the big day, make sure yours is freshly cleaned and stark white.
HOW TO ROCK BUSINESS CASUAL LIKE A PRO
Take the risk out of business casual by styling like a perfectly put together start up employee. Lose your hoodie and dirty high-tops and swap them out for a chambray button down shirtand some clean minimalist sneakers. And if you really want to slay them, top that look off with a classic blue blazer and consider the job done.
Wearing a black suit to a job interview implies that you are either moonlighting as an undertaker or that you only own one suit. In business culture, grey and blue are the standard bearers for modern suiting. When shopping, you can ask the store’s staff if they have a “standard two button notch lapel suit” in navy or grey. That’s the most classic works every time kind of suit, with two buttons on the front and a notched (as opposed to peak) lapel. Suit Supply makes a great one for under $400 bucks. Can’t beat that.
POLISHED, NEVER PRIM
As we’ve mentioned before, a oxford lace up shoe is the perfect dress shoe. It’s formal enough for an interview, but also plays well with blue jeans and a casual button down. For the budget minded, we’d recommend this version from Aldo. Not in the market for new kicks? Be sure to at least invest $5 in a killer shoe shine before your big interview, and don’t forget to leave a decent tip.
Think of your tie as an opportunity to show a little bit of your inherent swagger. You can go the Andy Warhol route and rock a [very classic repp (aka striped)tie from a classic brand like Ralph Lauren, or you can go with something hipper that has a subtle pattern like polka dots or abstract lines. Be sure to get a tie that is classically cool width-wise. You want something between 2 ¾ and 3 inches. And remember please: no red ties. You don’t want to look like a struggling political actor.
STRONG SOCK GAME
Like your tie, gourmet socks are a good way to add some pizazz to your internship look. You can never go wrong with a chill pattern like dots or stripes. You never know, your future boss might be a capitalist buddhist who doesn’t permit shoes to enter his or her sacred chamber.
SHOW AND SMELL
Cologne can be a tricky thing. You definitely don’t want someone to smell you from across the room, but you do want to make a discreetly positive impression. Instead of rummaging through your bathroom to find that bottle of Cool Water your aunt Phyllis gave you for your 15th birthday, invest in a nice new scent that speaks to your sense of style. Personally, I love colognes from NYC menswear masters Odin. They’re the perfect blend of sweet spice and leathery musk.
Now that you have a classic two button notch lapel suit, freshly polished shoes and all the right accessories, it’s time to nail your grooming. Your best bet? A nice lightweight pomade that allows you to subtly sculpt your hair into a slick shape. Just remember, a little grease goes a long way. Start small and add more product as needed. If you need some inspiration, check out Cary Grant’s classic side part. Every dude looks presentable with that hair cut.