Monday, June 27, 2011

What To Wear As as Fashion Intern (Hint: No Heels)

Whenever I tell someone that I’m a fashion intern, the response I get is usually something like this: “Cool! So do you dress up and wear heels every day?”

Trying to keep my eye from twitching at the very mention of the h-word, I force a fake smile and say, “Nah, not really.”

So why does the very thought of a high heel make me cringe? Why does the mention of what was once my favorite kind of shoe practically bring me to tears? Let me explain.

On the day of my interview, I was dressed to impress in a chic, simple dress and a pair of classic black pumps. I wanted to keep up my image on my first day, so I chose an outfit that was sure to fit in with the atmosphere of the fashion closet, or so I thought. I went for a classic look with a high-waisted black pencil skirt, a ruffled top and a pair of strappy heels. I looked professional. I looked stylish. I looked confident.

I looked like the clueless new girl.

The moment I walked into the fashion closet I knew I was overdressed. The only high heels were the ones waiting to be worn by a model on a photo shoot. Not a single intern was as dressed up as I was! And I quickly found out why: runs.

Runs are the quickest way to ruin an intern’s day. And if you’re wearing sky-high shoes, they’re the quickest way to ruin your feet as well. A run involves walking many blocks to pick up a sample clothing item or accessory in a heavy garment bag from a designer’s headquarters or from a PR showroom. Wearing heels? Forget it.

However, every fashionista knows it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, so I kept my head and my heels high and called it a learning experience. For day 2, I chose a simpler outfit – dark bootcut jeans, a nice top, a cardigan, and most importantly, flats.

So what should you wear? Interning at a fashion magazine is not a game of dress-up.

Ladies, aim for polished comfort. At the mag I intern for, jeans are okay – just no holes in the knees please! Trendy tops and dresses are a definite must, but remember, you’re still a professional. No cleavage or exposed stomachs, this isn’t a day at the beach. And most importantly, comfortable shoes.

Gentlemen, jeans work for you as well. Cuff them at the bottom and pair them with a pair of nice loafers or boat shoes, you can’t go wrong. Add a collared shirt with a few buttons undone and you’ll perfect your look.

Time to get dressed for another day! Tell me, what do you wear to your magazine internship? Stuffy business attire or trends right off the runway?

Till Next Monday,
Fashion Intern


  1. Last semester I wore heels everyday without fail, but I didn't typically go on more than a few runs in a week. The key is to carry flats in your bag. Roll away flats (like Gap's "City Flats") are perfect to pull out of your bag and slip on while riding the subway.

    The mag I worked at wasn't very casual, so I really never felt comfortable enough to dress down. I only wore jeans once with heels! But that is another good point, know your environment and dress for it.

    First day dressing is impossible. I had no clue what to wear that first day! I played it by ear and eventually got the hang of the office style. I also definitely got inspired by the style of others in the office.

    For my next go at interning at a fashion mag, I'll probably stick to my heels for the office, but I will DEFINITELY rock my flats on the city streets.

  2. That was so helpful, thank you for that advice! I'll be interviewing for positions or internships soon (I just graduated from school so I'm not sure which I'll be offered), and though I love wearing heels, I wondered about runs. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for this. What you described for your first day is exactly what I would have worn. I made the same mistake on my first day at a small newspaper, however I thought my coworkers were too underdressed. So although I started to leave my heels at home, I'd never be seen at the office in jeans. Some of the things my coworkers wore were disgracefully casual. I also like what Emily said about wearing heels but keeping roll away flats in your bag. That is definitely something I would do. I like Dr. Scholl's for Her Fast Flats. They can fit into even the smallest of purses, and people will think you're just really good at schlepping around in heels!

  4. This is a typical question but when you worked in the fashion closet are you ever given clothes are shoes?

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