What Did You Wear on the First Day of Your First Internship?

by Leandra Medine
August 5, 2014
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Outfits, man. They infer so much but say so little. They mark events as momentous as a woman’s losing her virginity, or first getting her teeth cleaned (what?) and can often function as a memory bank for forgotten events that still somehow live and languish in white space that remains peppered by a pair of gloves here, some red printed shorts there.

In the history of outfits, at least a dozen have amounted for someone’s promotion. Double that toward his or her demotion. And this isn’t even considering the dexterity of the clothes we use to cloak our bodies when we work in fashion, which ironically enough seems to place the emphasis not on what you wear but how you wear it.

See, when I obtained my first internship, I was a senior in high school. The night before I was set to walk through the magical doors that were 11 West 42nd Street, I spent at least 35 minutes considering not what I would wear — that was clear: high waist jeans and a leather jacket from Forever 21, a purple cotton long sleeve dress with black spots all over it by Ella Moss and blue and green snake print pumps, which I had found on sale at Scoop at least a year earlier — but whether I would tuck this cotton dress into my pants or leave it out to run and flap like the Annie that it is.

Eventually, I settled on both. Until 2PM, I would wear a dress over my jeans and after that point, I’d perform a tuck-check and transform the outfit. I’m not sure what I was thinking or why I found it appropriate to “change looks” midday but I was also 17 and potentially had this warped view about the way fashion PR worked, which is to say that it wasn’t work so much as it was a perennial fashion show. As it happened, no one noticed the tuck I’d fabricated, which led me to wonder if anyone had noticed the outfit to begin with. The answer was probably no but I disregarded that, if only to keep my morale high.

I can’t remember what I ate, or who I met, or a single task I had to complete that day, but the first day of my first internship will be forever immortalized because of that tuck.

Do you remember your tuck? Please, tell me everything there is to know about what you wore on the first day of your first internship. If you can’t remember, just ask what Amelia wore on hers. I’ll give you a hint: one authority had to tell another authority not to try to “bang” the intern.

Image by Tyrone Lebon via T Magazine

REPLIES
  • Mariana

    I think I remember… but the second day was waaaay more memorable because I was wearing my brand new white leather chucks. There was a day by the end of the year that I was wearing my beautiful pair of golden glitter flats. I still miss them…

  • http://rightternes.com/ RightTernes

    Day 1 of my internship was at a music label so I’m absolutely positive I wore a leather jacket. Even though this was in North Carolina in June and it was 100 degrees I wasn’t about to abandon my Ideal Intern Outfit.

  • Lauren Ann Long

    My first day as an intern was at Chanel, so I thought to myself, I must wear black and white. Decided upon a black zara dress upon which I layered a white blouse and some pointy flats I found in some weird boutique the night before (which ended up giving me massive blisters). Come to find out you can wear colors there, lots and lots of colors. My b.

  • Libby

    Wide leg charcoal high waist trousers with a dirty rose Victorian-esque cropped-top with mutton sleeves and a full back zipper. It was with a hunting apparel company in the mid-west, and I was always overdressed and proud. I was the “in-your-face-I’m-a-fashion-student” intern.

  • Quinn Halman

    A patterned pair of harem pants that would have made all of you proud, then a plain black tanktop and blazer. Made a bold hair choice and wore an anthro seQUINNed headband hippie style. No regrets besides the wedges because I didn’t realize how much walking I’d have to do

  • Anna

    Well, I remember what I wore to my very first internship interview…It was May in the south, so I picked a light dress with a somewhat plunging back that required a sticky bra I promptly sweated completely off walking to (not from) said interview (it was a longer walk than I anticipated). Two chicken cutlet-like pieces of bra hung awkwardly inside the top of my dress for a majority of my walk before I was able to subtly elbow them back into place once in air conditioning. Ah, yes. Memories.

  • Esther Levy

    I thought I wanted to be lawyer until the first day of my internship at a firm. I couldn’t figure out what to wear and have since abandoned that pipe dream.

  • meowcait

    i’m tucking right now.

  • Charlotte Fassler

    I wore a pencil skirt from H&M circa 2006, it was a navy/grey tone and had buttons up the front and a slit in the back. It looked like a chic flight attendant get up and was borrowed from my friend who has a cool 6 inches on me. Looking back, it was definitely awkward in length. I wore flats and a thin white cotton short-sleeve button up that had some sort of ruffle action happening. I’m pretty sure I also brought a cardigan.
    I soon learned that the office was not as strict as the dress code made it seem and remember being made fun of for some of my choices (i.e. pants with suspenders).

  • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

    I haven’t yet had an internship, but if I did I assume I’d wear my favorite white, calf-length Mexican dress and a pair of Nike Air Force 1s, or my beat-up white adidas superstars.

  • keta

    I haven’t really worked a day yet but i think the best outfit for the first day would be white oversized shirt black pencil skirt and oxfords or black boots like Balenciaga’s , something smart and fashionable

  • rachel

    all i can remember are the pants, those damn pants. They were two sizes two small but i had to have them. I think the fact that they were rather uncomfortable took my mind off how nervous i was.

  • http://voguebeach.blogspot.co.uk Grace Cottrell

    I haven’t interned yet but I feel like you can’t go wrong with a white shirt and a big layered statement necklace, if in doubt stick with monochrome!

    – Grace

    http://voguebeach.blogspot.co.uk/

  • camille

    As an intern at the MIT Museum, I wore blue jeans and a white T-shirt. Can’t beat that right ?

  • Mairzi

    I remember what I wore for my interview for a summer internship at a Wall Street law firm. It was an beautiful raw silk suit with a straight skirt with a slit, I was so nervous, I didn’t notice until the interview was over that I had the skirt on sideways. I also have friends from childhood who remember what I wore on the first of kindergarten and that they begged their mothers to get them an outfit like it.

  • DY

    I wore army green high-waisted, wide-legged dress trousers and a light pink silk shirt. I thought I looked amazing. I arrived to find everyone else was in dark suits. (It was a foreign investment advisory firm). Eventually the hired me for real and I found the right balance – I kept the clothes a bit kooky but wore more neutrals. Repelling while client-facing!

  • http://mayashawcollection.tumblr.com/ Maya

    1st internship was Junior year of high school for a local fashion designer in Richmond, VA. I wore my hair (long then) slicked back in a low pony, black blazer, plum knit tunic, gold chain necklace, black tights and black knee high boots. It sounds like work stripper but, think NYC Prep (remember that show?) When I think of it I looked really cute and all the people in the office were impressed by my outfit and the work I accomplished.

  • Mary

    I don’t remember my first day, but what I wore to the
    interview. This is probably because I wore it to all the interviews around that
    time. Picking an outfit for a fashion internship that is interview appropriate but not a total
    snoozefest is hard. Anyway, I also interned at the magical 11 W 42nd.
    Each interview I wore a silk blouse and H&M high wasted, wide legged, black
    plants. I got the internship and will forever be grateful to those $39.95
    pants.

  • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

    Speaking of interns, my friend, Chris (who currently interns at Nasty Gal), has a write-up on Vogue.com today! His Instagram, CopyLab, combines very traditional art with very pop culture-y fashion pieces. Here is the article because I’m such a proud friend!!!!!!! Go friends! http://m.vogue.com/culture/article/copylab-instagram-fashion-photobombs-art-history/

    • Guest

      That’s like my favorite Instagram!!!!
      Say hi to your friend from an Art History major all the way from Moscow, Russia))

      • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

        Will do!

  • Aimée Grant Cumberbatch

    I wore a black leather skirt, cream sweater and tan suede bomber jacket, an outfit I like to call ‘How Many Different Ways Can I Wear Cow?’

  • http://letmeseeyourwears.com/ Cyrena Monique

    I was a fashion PR intern, I remember I wanted to look like the female Karl Lagerfeld! I wore black cigarette pants, a white shirt under a black blazer, tied a lil black ribbon around my neck as a feminine bow tie (had a thicker one around my ponytail) and wore patent pointy brogues. I left the glove, thought it was a bit much! C x

    http://letmeseeyourwears.com

  • Sophia

    Birmingham, Alabama, the height of summer 2012. On the first day of my internship I wore a pink/yellow/black skirt (already out of character), a black T-shirt (TUCKED IN!!!) and a grey-ish, 3/4-sleeved blazer from Topshop over that. The shoe of choice was a brand new black leather Sperry boat shoe with fuzzy lining (imagine the sweat. Or don’t.) I was kind of proud. It was “professional” and “fun” and “young” all at once. I worked at a small magazine office and wanted to be the best dressed there. After a pleasant conversation with my boss (she, clad in lightwash jeans and football T-shirt) told me “not worry about being so nicely dressed every day.” But I did anyway.

  • andrea raymer

    My first major internship was in Indianapolis for Drum Corps International (basically, the NFL of marching band). I was one of the 2 merchandise interns, so I felt that it was my duty to dress better than anyone else. It was may in the midwest and had not yet gotten too hot, so I wore grey tights, tan brogues and a blue knit t-shirt dress, belted. I was thankful for the tights because that office was freaking freezing. I eventually started working in our un-airconditioned warehouse and I broke my toe, so I ended the summer wearing shorts and sneakers every single day.

  • http://dolceandgabriella.wordpress.com Gigi Gastevich

    My first day as an intern was at the beginning of this summer. I wore a denim shirt tucked into black skinny jeans with a black blazer on top. Black booties with a heel that said, “I tried but not too much.” My biggest worry the night before was that my favorite pair of black jeans were giving me a camel toe I had never noticed before–I was alone for the first time in this shitty apartment in New York City texting my mom and best friend pictures of my crotch with the caption, “Do you see the camel toe?? Do you see it?? I need new pants!”

    Come to think of it, I wrote a blog post about it. On Wardrobe Confidence

    Love, Gigi
    Dolce and Gabriella

  • Nikki

    I don’t remember what I wore on the first day, but I do remember what I wore to my interview, which was two days before the first day: a light blue button down blouse with a scalloped button edge with a cameo right at the top button, a brown wool high waisted flare skirt, brown tights, and these crazy brown leather Jeffrey Campbell heels with a chunky block wooden heel. I think I looked absolutely adorable, if I do say so myself :)

  • http://twitter.com/tanybrown Tanya Brown

    My first day at WWD I wore a completely inappropriate pair of Marc Jacobs platform black and white tap shoe inspired bootie heels, about four and a half inches, for a fourteen hour day on set. My editors cackled upon sight and handed me a pair of flip flops. SUCH GLAMOUR YOU GUYS!

  • http://twitter.com/tanybrown Tanya Brown

    And then there was the memorable Annie Hall inspired vest, fedora, and skinny scarf as tie I wore to my interview at Teen Vogue.

  • Hanne

    what exactly did Amelia wear? haha i love it!

  • Lina

    Today was the last day of my internship don’t make me get emotional

    • Amelia Diamond

      a more dramatic person would call it a swimsuit

  • leon

    On my first day interning at Christie’s ( in Europe) I had no idea what to expect, so I went for a black blazer, black dressy shorts (this was a couple years ago) and a shirt and heels. I’m 5’11”, the heels made me tower over everyone and I had no idea why I though the shorts were a good idea, I spent the whole day feeling self conscious… The internship went super well though !!

  • Kenzie

    As a rising senior, I’ve come to notice that interning suddenly became the “in” thing at my school. Of course, we all know the primary reason for that, is to make up the lack of community service our lazy bums neglected to do so since freshmen year… But hey, no one is judging, right? Just like the rest, I chose to intern for my Congressman. Despite knowing that fashion shouldn’t be a concern for the job, I went with a casual denim shirt (rolled up sleeves, as usual), tucked into my high waisted maroon jeans with a belt as an embelishment , and paired it off with my favorite tan oxfords. Like the wise saying goes: Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.

  • Joseph Pineda

    Blue gingham shirt, dark denim jeans, and those damn brown Clarks every guy and his dad own! I also realized that outfit was the pinnacle of startup-wear.

  • marybnew

    Let me just say, this is damn good timing. My first day of my first internship recently occurred at the beginning of July and I couldn’t have been more proud of my badass, effortless outfit. Who’s to say I can’t claim my own look was effortless, but it definitely took under 5 minutes to create and my badass ass rocked a pair of Stella McCartney denim culottes. Paired with my J.Crew tan leather moccasin platform clogs and a Forever21 navy blue razorback tank, there was no other way I would have been more comfortable..unless I were naked.

  • Tripp Potts

    Day one of my internship I wore a blue and cream glen-plaid linen blazer, with ripped APC jeans, a white oxford I found in the lost and found the year before, and a pair of Stubbs and Wootton loafers that I had once worn while walking in puke. I received a few compliments and was told at the end of the day to never wear ripped jeans again. Who knew the art world was so picky!

  • Adrianna Grężak

    This topic brings up an interesting, larger issue – I attended NYU (super expensive) during the recession and came from a single parent, working class home – I couldn’t afford to intern.

    My first college job was copy clerk at Staples, so that included a giant blue polo shirt (size “small” that fit like XXL) that I carefully cinched my waist in with the mandatory black apron. My main memory is that I had little time between my summer classes to buy black slacks to fit the dress code, so I ran into KMart before running to the 6 train.

    My First Day of Work outfit – in publishing, fashion, tech – has always been the “better safe than sorry” approach – a pair of chinos or colored denim and a button down shirt or silk blouse. Since I do come from a blue collar background, my mother has ingrained in me from a young age that what I wear says a lot about how seriously I take the job. I could have pushed the boundary in my fashion job, but I worked as a photographer and did a lot of physical work. My current job (I work as a photo editor/production specialist for a tech company) seems informal, but I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever receive an e-mail from HR to stop wearing mini skirts.

  • http://jaguarzinnias.blogspot.com/ Jas

    OH MY GOD, how do you all remember your outfits with such crazy detail!?!?! I’m sitting here trying to figure out what I wore and can’t for the life of me remember. I seem to remember everything vividly except for what I wore?

  • http://www.joellehyman.com/ Joelle

    I wore black Cheap Monday jeans with mauve patent Ferragamo flats (I don’t know why I bought that color either), a white T by Alexander Wang t-shirt, topped with a navy Ralph Lauren school blazer for little boys. My wrists carried many a neon friendship bracelet as it was 2009 and that was very much a thing. I also found out very quickly that my blazer had no place at the SoHo building I worked in.

  • Mack

    Day 1 at John Hancock: power suit.

  • Meagan

    My first day at my internship at Brooks Brothers, I thought that I had to be preppy. There was a snowstorm the night before so my glamours vision of heels was out of the question, so I settled on Black ankle boots and threw a pair of black loafers in my purse just in case. I wore the jacket I wore to my first interview (praying that no one notice) that was a J. Crew zipper front jacket in a colbalt blue tweed with black trim. I wore it with black stretch pants and a simple cream top. It is a great outfit, but not nearly preppy enough!

  • Keely Craig

    Day 1 at Discovery Channel was on January 11. I wore a sweater. It was freezing.

  • T_Denaé

    On the first day of my internship (at a contemporary art museum) I wore a long sleeved pastel gradient jersey knit dress by Jonathan Saunders. I wore the dress with the hope that someone remembered my name, since I had worn it as actually dress while volunteering at an event that employees from the museum attended. It was tucked into a pair of cropped regular washed skinny jeans that were cut/frayed on each side of the waist. I wore a pair of transparent jelly flats by Marc Jacobs. No one remembered my name, lol.

  • http://goldengilt.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    I interned with Jamie Drake ( Interior Design firm) in NYC and remember it being so unbelievably hot especially in the summer on the subway. Therefore deciding on what to wear was often difficult. My first outfit I bought vintage while in New York. It was a white dress with small blue polka dots. The front neckline was high while the middle back of the dress was cut out. Made me feel like Serena on Gossip Girl when they stole Blair’s mothers clothing from the fashion shoot and ran around the city taking pics. Oh and I wore it with flats being that you have to run everywhere as an intern. Loved that dress..

  • Tara Edie

    Totally rocked the tuck on my first day. Black high-waisted skinnies + a vintage white top with black ballet flats, plus of course, the non-negotiable accessorizing. It’s a tough thing, dressing to work in fashion…(ohhh the first-world problems we suffer).

    http://www.southbysunset.com

  • Georgia

    Slightly off topic, but I am about to apply for my first internship and have no idea what to put in the email! What did you guys put in yours?

  • http://www.kristywho.com/ Kristy W

    I should start looking for internships soon hahaha
    xx
    http://www.kristywho.com

  • Marina

    I wore red shorts, greek sandals and T’shirt – that was in editors office) But that was very hot summer!

  • Jess

    First day at Wonderland Magazine I wore cropped black jeans with quilted knees, woven silver brogues, candy pink leather jacket. Was just missing a Harley-Davidson apparently.

  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

    I never had an internship! WILL I EVER HAVE ONE? I could pull a Chandler Bing and switch careers. Then I’ll get back to you with my outfit choice.

  • Lucy

    AMELIA WHAT DID YOU WEAR?!??!?!

    I hate being customer facing….. I try to repel while staying “professional”.. usually just means I hate my outfits.

    • Amelia Diamond

      shorts that were more or less underwear with heels that were more or less stripper poles

  • Anna

    I remember the first-day-of-my-internship outfit perfectly well. As the company had a strict dress code I was obliged to wear a simple white shirt and dark denim jeans. I think I’ve bought about at least six white shirts at Uniqlo at that time (I must admit that they make really perfect ones). And I’m pretty sure that it was at that point my strong dedication to all the “Parisian chic simplicity” philosophy was developed, as I had no choice but to wear a white shirt every day. And even after my internship ended I couldn’t help wearing those perfect white shirts and simple outfits. So that tuck of my own was a huge game-changer for my personal style!

  • http://www.mystilettolife.com/ mystilettolife

    First of all, those ‘interns’ in the pic look miserable! I guess that’s somewhat realistic? Ha. I don’t remember what I wore on my first day but I do remember what I wore to the interview: a strapless Theory dress and my first pair of Christian Louboutin (still have them to this day!). It was summer in NYC–so no need for layers. Ahhh, what an exciting time–anything seemed possible, right? Ha! http://mystilettolife.com/style/2014/8/6/summer-trend

  • Cosima

    I interned at Vogue, I wore a brand new white dress with cap sleeves from Banana Republic, Dior tribal earrings and black and white Nikes. I was called “sharp” by Grace Coddington herself!

  • Natasha Daniels

    It was at a record label, and I wore pink denim jeans and a polka dot shirt with a blazer to try and exactly replicate the Alexa Chung school of formal. One of the execs said ‘when you walked past then I thought you had no trousers on!’. I never wore said jeans again…

  • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

    tee and black jeans, to work admin and backstage at the first fashion week I had ever gone to in 2011. That week changed my life. :) We started on Monday and when the shows began on Thursday, we all got staff tees. I still have mine, but I don’t wear it anymore so I can preserve it.

  • http://qworterlifecrisis.com/ Maddie

    I wore a pencil skirt and ankle boots and an oversized grey jumper and my (female) boss slapped me on the ass. Now I work for money and noone hits (on) me.

  • ShanIsRad

    My first, and only internship was at a fragrance house. I was so excited that I didn’t have to wear black (my retail job required an all-black uniform), so I might’ve gone overboard with color. I wore a greenish blue dress from H&M, a blue floral print blazer from Madewell, grey and pink Topshop heels, and a light pink wool coat from Free People (I started in the winter).

  • http://harry-charlesworth.tumblr.com/ Harry Charlesworth

    I wore wedge sneakers, coated biker jeans, and a woman’s waterfall cardigan…they offered me a full time position within the week lmao

  • Yvonne

    I took an internship at a museum, in another state, while in college. Before I flew out to my new temporary home (California), I asked about office dress code, to make sure that I packed the appropriate items. I was told that everyone in the office dressed “business casual”. I learned first hand that business casual in California and business casual in Texas are two completely different things. I showed up for my first day in new brand new slacks, an old Ralph Lauren blouse that I swiped from my mom and my best “I’m a professional” heels….my supervisor was wearing jeans. We all looked fabulous, but I never wore that outfit to the office again.

  • rachel

    it was a winter intercession internship, so I think I wore a black silk rag and bone button up, a coated vest thing from urban outfitters, black pants and combat boots (because my only other winter boots at the time were rubber haha).

  • http://www.twitter.com/georginawootton Georgie

    I wore navy silk wide-legged trousers with white polka dots with a sherbet orange crew neck jumper (sweater/knit) tucked in. Everyone else in the office was wearing exclusively black. Oh well! I’m interning at an international real estate office in Germany whose dress code is “casual smart” so there weren’t that many concrete clues to go by…

  • Patricia Mello

    I remember the clothes I wore in my first day of my internship (which coincidently was about a week go), and I spent the whole day before thinking about it. Until I chose a simple blach long sleeves shirt with a black and white stamped kimono I had just bought and to complete a necklace. In my legs I wore a skinny jeans all ripped and a new black H&M ankle boot. By the end of the day I was very satisfied with my outfit and I was able to send my message about my style.

  • Tiffany

    High-waisted beige shorts from H&M that I didn’t consider would wrinkle so much when I sat down. I looked like a kid coming home from summer camp by the time I got done with my commute and was terrified to go to the bathroom all day because I was officially Wrinkled-Shorts-Girl.