“College” and “easy” aren’t words that are often seen in the same sentence. But one easy thing about college is that you have the option of getting dressed in the morning.
Now, don’t get me wrong, your birthday suit is not appropriate (regardless of the word ‘suit’), but your favorite sweatpants and high school sweatshirt are definitely okay as 8 a.m. class attire.
But now it’s summer and you’re doing an internship. Phrases like “business casual”, “pumps” and “loafers” are being thrown around and, if you’re not in the business school or a J.Crew groupie, you might be feeling a little confused.
The trend of late seems to be, if you have a question, check a blog. There’s a great selection of style blogs out there written by anyone from the girl in the dorm next door to TLC’s latest fashionista. However, one of my very favorite blogs is Cupcakes and Cashmere, based in California and run by Emily Schuman.
Emily, who was bored with her job at AOL, decided in 2008 to begin blogging about two of her favorite things — food and fashion. A Business Insider feature highlights her continued success: “‘Cupcakes and Cashmere’ exploded when Coach asked Schuman to design a bag for their line in June 2010. She then went on to win Best Fashion Blog in 2010 from Bloggie…Following her brand partnerships with Coach and Juicy Couture, Schuman’s been approached by Abram’s Publishing to write a book.”
I had the privilege of asking Emily Schuman some questions about her best tips and style advice for summer interns:
How would you define the difference between casual, business casual and professional?
There’s a fine line between casual (think: weekends, hanging out with friends after work) and business casual (what you’d wear in an office), but I think the differences are all in the details. Take jeans, for example: they’re typically acceptable in a business casual environment, but they should still be tailored (no rips, tears, or stains and make sure they’re not too tight).
Business casual should still feel polished — so that you never look like you’ve just come from the beach. If you feel like wearing a sun dress, make sure to add a cute little cardigan on top with a belt.
I’m a bit old fashioned, but I always think that everyone should be dressed in “professional” attire — the saying that you should dress for the job you want and not the one you have is a good one to remember.
Professional doesn’t have to mean stuffy or serious though — a great blouse tucked into a pencil skirt with pointy toe pumps looks great when you add some key accessories (like a bib necklace, a skinny patent belt and a structured bag).
What’s the best piece of style/fashion advice someone has given you?
To pay attention to what works best for you. Instead of focusing on trends or colors of the moment, know your strengths (and weaknesses) and play to those accordingly.
What’s one piece of clothing that should definitely be left at home when packing up for your internship?
Flip flops. They’re really only acceptable by the pool, but in L.A. people seem to think they’re appropriate in the office.
What are three signature pieces every female intern should have?
A well tailored blazer (J.Crew has a great selection), a classic bag (in a neutral color),\ and an accessory that ties together a whole outfit (like an oversized gold watch).
What are three signature pieces every male intern should have?
A great pair of jeans (dark wash, good fit, no embellishments whatsoever), a pair of nice shoes in black or brown (Aldo has some affordable options) and a cool belt (it’s something you can use every day and helps pull together an entire outfit).
What is one way that you think style is important to success as an intern and beyond?
First impressions are everything, so if you look put together, professional and stylish (and have the work ethic to back it up), people will remember you. It’s important to set yourself apart so that when a full-time job opens up, you’re on their mind as someone who’s right for the position.
What are some male-specific fashion tips that you think are often overlooked?
For guys, it’s all about having great basics — a couple pairs of jeans, nice button-downs, a tailored blazer. I think sometimes men tend to try to get flashy with their fashion choices (for example: embellished jeans, loud printed shirts, etc.), but instead they should focus on the accessories — sunglasses, a watch, nice wallet, shoes and even a key chain — those are the little details that people notice.
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