Internships are an important part of career development, and like any job, acing your interview is one part of getting the position you want. Making a great first impression - coming across as polished, professional and attentive - is important when it comes to your internship search.
Whether you're interviewing in a formal environment, at a casual workplace, or at a startup company, this guide to interviewing attire will help you get started planning just what to wear to an interview for an internship.
Dressed Up Without a Suit
If you're interviewing for a professional position but you don't think a full-suit is required, a crisp white button-down and a sleek, solid tie is a great option. It looks dressy, professional and polished, without appearing stuffy. But, if you're going to forego a jacket, take the extra effort to make sure your shirt is wrinkle-free, stain-free, and otherwise pristine.
Classic, Polished, and Professional
Looking for an outfit that's simple but classic, polished but professional? Consider a fitted white button-down. Details like the pin-tucking here offer a nice update to the basic button-down look, resulting in an outfit that is modern and fashion-forward, but still appropriate for an internship interview.
Interviewing in a more casual environment for a non-professional position or at a startup company? Throw on a pair of khakis and flats. Seeking an internship at a large, top-notch company? Opt for a pair of black slacks, or a knee-length skirt, with classic pumps.
Sweater Over a Button-Down Shirt
A sweater layered over a button-down shirt is a great go-to look that spans both business formal and business casual, making it a great option for when you aren't positive just how dressy you should be.
A nice, tailored sweater adds a touch of class, dressing up your button-down, but looking more relaxed than a suit coat or blazer might. Pair the combination with dress slacks and you're ready to go.
Lighten Up Spring and Summer Interview Attire
If you're aiming for a summer internship, chances are you'll be interviewing in the spring, when the weather starts to warm up. A light-colored blazer, a tailored blouse, or a cardigan and shell, paired with cotton slacks or a skirt are all solid choices for a warm-weather interview.
Plus, you'll be a lot more comfortable - and thus ready to perform well - in lightweight, light-colored clothing than you would be in a dark, heavy suit.
Business Casual or Casual Work Environments
If you're seeking an internship at a startup company or in a business casual environment, you aren't confined to the basic suit-and-tie combination.
Don't be afraid to experiment with modern, fashion-forward hues, like this sweater paired with a coordinating shirt, or pants. Although you shouldn't go too crazy, casual environments give you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and express your personality - so long as you look professional.
Blazer With Skinny Pants
Pair a fitted blazer, white button-down, and grey "skinny" pants together for a modern look that's also workplace appropriate. The outfit is finished off with a pair of loafers and a simple statement necklace, which pulls the look together without looking overdone. This is a great go-to interview outfit that's easy to pull together but looks stylishly polished.
Business Internship Interview Attire
If you're interviewing for a professional-type position at a company that requires business-formal dress, you'll likely need to wear a suit.
But, you don't have to wear the bulky black suit typical of older employees. While it's definitely imperative that you have a well-fitted suit jacket and slacks, adding a stylish touch - like a layered cardigan, sans tie - looks modern, yet still professional.
That Little Black Dress
A tasteful "little black dress" is the hallmark of a simple yet refined business wardrobe, perfect for interviewing in a formal environment. Invest in a quality dress that skims the knee. A dress with a structured fit and nice details (like the capped sleeves here) is professional yet still modern.
To give your outfit some life, pair the dress with a pair of textured tights, like the ones shown here. Make sure the pattern is subtle, though - a sheer stripe, cable pattern or ribbed look adds texture and interest, but anything that resembles outright fishnets is not workplace appropriate.
Finish your outfit with a pair of black heels for a classic, timeless business formal look that you can continue to wear even after you get hired.
Use Accessories to Dress Up Your Outfit
If you're interviewing for a business internship position, but think the environment might be veering towards the "business casual" end of the spectrum, add a fun touch to your outfit.
While you don't want to overdo it with accessories, adding one statement piece - a stylish scarf, a necklace, a cardigan, a pair of shoes - makes for an outfit that is professional without seeming stuffy.