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3 Office-Appropriate Outfits for Summer Jobs & Internships


Summer workwear 1Summer workwear 2Summer workwear 3
Photos: ELLE

When I think summer, I think beaches, BBQs, and bikinis… anything but work. As much as I want to just wear denim shorts and lay by the pool every day, like most college students, I’m spending this summer working. This begs the question: how can you welcome the summer season while still looking work (or internship)-appropriate?

Below, I’ve put together three outfits that bring in summer through colors and textures, but still would work for work (mildly terrible pun intended).

Of course, every workplace is different, and what is appropriate for one office may not be for another, but hopefully these looks give you somewhere to start! (For more on this subject, be sure to check out our guides to dressing professionally in the summer and business dress code basics.)

Outfit 1: Linked In

Summer office outfit linked in
Bag, Skirt, Blouse, Necklace, Heels

The most conservative of the three outfits, this look is classic, but brings in a lovely peachy-pink pastel hue, which is great for summer.

Start with a basic black pencil skirt and add a lightweight white blouse. Top it with an awesome oversize rose gold statement necklace, then finish with a sleek bag and trendy ankle strap heels. This ensemble is a polished and feminine choice for the work day!

Outfit 2: Peachy Keen

Summer office outfit 2 peachy keen
Earrings, Skirt, Belt, Blouse, Purse, Heels, Hair Photo via Urban Outfitters

This colorful look would work well in a more creative, relaxed workplace.

Start with a gorgeous, statement-making printed pencil skirt, which provides the color palette for the rest of the outfit. Pair the skirt with a sheer turquoise blouse (remember to add a cami if necessary!), then pick up on the skirt’s colors with cool druzy earrings. Simple peach heels that won’t compete with the pattern of the skirt, while a tan belt and bag add a much-needed dose of neutral.

Outfit 3: 9 to 5

Summer office outfit 9 to 5
Trousers, Necklace, Tank, Blazer, Flats

The most casual of the outfits, this look will carry you from 9 to 5 without killing your feet by the end of the day!

These bright printed pants pair beautifully with a tucked-in vibrant orange blouse and fun turquoise flats that are not only cute, but practical. With a white boyfriend blazer over top and a bold art deco necklace, this look is cool and youthful - great for an internship or job in a creative workplace!

What do you think?

Would you wear any of these looks to work? What’s your go-to summer work outfit? What are you working as this summer? Leave me your thoughts, questions, ideas and suggestions in the comments below! 

Posted on on May 2, 2013 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , ,

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18 Responses to “3 Office-Appropriate Outfits for Summer Jobs & Internships”

  1. 1
    May 2nd, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I’d always love to see more of this from CF – these are incredibly useful. What about for a highly conservative office, say a federal government department?

  2. 2
    May 2nd, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    yes yes to rachel’s comment. that is exactly what i need! i really love the first outfit though :]

  3. 3
    May 2nd, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    All of these outfits would be overkill at my internship. And the third one with those pants would be downright inappropriate. For first time interns, beware. I would check the office culture before stepping out in anything like that. Cardigans and well tailored pants with flats are really all you need. I know it’s boring, but you’re not there to for the fashion anyways (unless that’s your internship, in which case, ignore me : ) .

  4. 4
    May 2nd, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Ooh I like that 2nd outfit!

  5. 5
    May 2nd, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Love these posts as well! That first outfit is <3. I would also like to see more outfits for ultra conservative workplaces. :)

  6. 6
    May 2nd, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Ditto about the ultra conservative – unfortunately, I think many of your readers don’t get to actually work in fashion, so floral pants in a work place probably wouldn’t cut it ;) In saying that, LOVE #1

  7. 7
    May 2nd, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Professional but so chic

  8. 8
    May 2nd, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Can we please have an article on lab appropriate clothing (long pants, close toed shoes, no sleevless shirts). It’s so much harder to look cute/fashionable and requires a lot more creativity, especially in the hot summer months.

  9. 9
    May 2nd, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    On the first pic of the girl in the pink dress… fyi be careful of the length of your dresses and skirts. I worked in HR and the last thing you want is to get called in by your supervisor/manager due to inappropriate lengths.

  10. 10
    May 2nd, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    love the first two! but really, really loving the collage at the top. those women look awesome and as if they’re dressed not only for work, but for their personalities too

  11. 11
    May 2nd, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I am doing an internship this summer and was looking for something like this, so I’m glad CF did this article! But I have to agree with some of the other readers. Why not feature more outfits for a conservative work environment, or have a series for different type of work environments? I personally feel conservative is hardest to dress for creatively (there is more freedom in other environments), so would definitely like to see more.

  12. 12
    May 3rd, 2013 at 4:41 am

    Hey ladies, awesome points- your tips are actual really useful for me as I’m just starting an office job! I guess outfits are super dependent on the workplace- I love your suggestions for an article on ultra-conservative workplaces- hopefully a CF writer with a little more experience with these kinds of workplaces will be able to help y’all out :)

  13. 13
    May 3rd, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    very nice outfits, though i have to agree with most of the other comments that some of these would not go over very well in a lot of industries.

    definitely always wear a cami underneath any sheer tops & preferably not in nude. you don’t want to look naked under your clothes. that’s an HR problem waiting to happen!

  14. 14
    May 6th, 2013 at 3:29 am

    i loved this article, but I was hoping for outfits for a more conservative work place. I am working as a secretary at a lab this summer. Blouses, trousers, ballet flats, pencil skirts, heels, cardigans, blazers etc. Basic rule of thumb is that the shirt has to have a collar. Skirts can’t be above the knee. Closed-Toe shoes. Normally this would be pretty easy…but it’s in the desert and it will be super hot! I wish CF would write an article about ultra-conservative office outfits that include lighter fabrics/can be worn during the hot summer climates. Look #1 is close, but I would have liked more ideas. Thanks!

  15. 15
    July 14th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It actually used to be a amusement account it. Look advanced to more brought agreeable from you! However, how could we keep up a correspondence?

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