Summer Internship Capsule Wardrobe

summer internship capsule wardrobe

So I’ve got a summer internship I’m totally in love with. It’s fun, it’s busy, it’s on-your-toes, and it’s EXCITING. I’m a digital media intern and I totally love being on the Internet 24/7, waking up to news alerts that will soon be stories that I will socialize for our media pages, and taking 6 flights of stairs in heels to my desk because the elevator here is SO slow.

But anyway, what I really want to share with you is my summer internship capsule wardrobe.

I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to create a capsule wardrobe – it just has always seemed so minimalist chic. Sadly, I’ve yet to be offered a month-long backpacking trip around Europe or a hike up Machu Piccu that would require me to get crafty with my outfits. But when I landed the internship, I knew I didn’t want to blow all my savings (and future paychecks) on clothes that would get dusty once summer was over and I went back to attending lectures in my favorite workout leggings.

So without further-ado, here’s how I created my capsule wardrobe. Use this as inspiration for your summer job, full-time job, or any future internship or corporate work you may have. I’ll be sure to link what I can as well as explain where I splurged and where I saved.

Ready, set, go!

summer internship capsule wardrobe

summer internship capsule wardrobe

My work’s dress code:

It’s somewhat casual here. Most people wear slacks and a nicer shirt. (Men have collars, women have blouse-type tops.) My first couple days, I took notice of what the other women around me wore. Some prefer dresses and skirts with flats, but some will even wear dark jeans, a nice blouse, and some simple heels. I tend to air on the dressier side, but that’s just a personal preference. I really like getting all done-up in the mornings and I love wearing heels because I never wear them at any other time!

Pieces I bought specifically for my internship:


-A nice pair of slacks

I actually bought these in October when I started going to interviews. They are a nice dark gray from JCrew and I’ve linked some similar. (For reference, I am a size 0 in regular.)

-A pair of Old Navy pixie pants

They look like slacks but they feel like PJ’s. Basically, they are everything you need for office wear. Plus, they’re affordable, so if you really wanted to, you could buy several pairs in several different prints and colors. I just have a black pair because I wanted something that would go with everything. (For reference, I wear a 00.)


-A nice blouse

I also bought this at JCrew in October while looking for an interview outfit. It’s a simple black blouse with flutter sleeves that has a bit of embellishment on the front. I thought it had personality to it and loved that with the bit of sparkle, I wouldn’t really need to purchase additional statement jewelry. (Cuz I definitely didn’t already have any of that – I just wear my A-List Greek bar necklace every day!)

-A nice blazer

If you choose to, this will be the most expensive piece you buy. I got mine at JCrew and it was definitely a splurge, but a well-warranted one. I’m linking similar options in lower price rangers, because if it fits you well enough, it doesn’t necessarily need to cost you an arm and a leg to look great! Mine is navy and goes with many of my outfits.

Pieces I already had that I added to my summer internship capsule wardrobe:

-3 “nice” tops

I mentioned before that blouse-like tops work well here. I had two long sleeve sweater-like tops I scored on sale at Old Navy many seasons ago. I recall one even being around $3. I saw them hanging in my closet and decided they’d be dressy enough with slacks and heels, so I added those to my capsule wardrobe. And by the way, the third “nice” top in my collection is a $25 button down from Target in a beautiful blue pinstripe. It’s insanely comfortable and works with almost anything else I have.

-1 skirt

I got this skirt last February from Francesca’s for my Thrive conference. Since then, I’ve worn it to confirmations, church services, parties, and now – work. It’s girly, feminine, and fun, but it can be corporate with a crisp button down and blazer, so I added it in the mix. Linking some similar options!

-2 dresses

I had two dresses I loved and already wore a ton. One I refer to as my “wedding-guest dress” – a $15 Show Me Your MuMu look-alike from Charlotte Russe. I wore it to not 1, not 2, but 3 (!!!) weddings this winter and now it’s my favorite work dress. It works perfectly with my navy blue blazer, but it’s also dressy enough for the office without a blazer.

The other dress is a hand-me-down from one of my sisters. (She’s actually younger than me…it just didn’t fit her right. Does that make it a reverse hand-me-down? Hand-me-up??) It’s a beautiful royal blue color-blocked dress that also looks great with the navy blazer.

-2 pairs of heels

One brown. One black. You know, the essentials. The black pair is super old…probably from Famous Footwear for a high school homecoming or something like that. The brown pair I bought for my sister’s graduation from Target, so I’m linking those. I think the wrap detail shows my young and trendy side in the office!

-1 pair of nice flats

I bought these at the beginning of the school year for interviews and career fairs and didn’t realize how much use I’d get out of them. They are black and have pointy toes (yay for being trendy!) and they’re from Old Navy so they didn’t break the bank. These go with most outfits as well.

If you’re counting, that’s 4 tops, 1 skirt, 2 dresses, 2 slacks, 2 heels, and 1 pair of flats. Most of those items were already in my closet, too! So it’s not as hard as you think and it definitely won’t cost you all your precious paychecks.

Now, a few tips for creating your summer capsule wardrobe;

-Find versatile pieces

If that cute dress you’re eyeing in the store is going to require you to buy a special bra or it only matches one pair of shoes that you have…look again. You want that piece that goes with most pairs of shoes and can be warn with different blazers, sweaters, and accessories.

-Keep comfort in mind

You don’t want to be fidgeting in meetings or just feeling miserable at your desk all day in your ensemble. Be comfortable. Lightweight fabrics, and ones that don’t wrinkle easily, are always best.

-Set aside your capsule wardrobe

I have one bar in my closet that is only for my summer internship capsule wardrobe. All other pieces hang elsewhere. You may even consider an exterior clothing rack for yours….super trendy and would be great decor for your apartment or bedroom!

-Even though you’ve got a simple, minimalist wardrobe….pick your clothes out the night before

I still do this to save time in the morning. If I know what I’m wearing, then I know what lipstick I want to grab to put on and how I want to wear my hair. In the morning, I just get up and start getting ready…there’s no wasted time.

Oh, and one last thing…a bag!


I wanted to share that I bought a “work bag”. I’ve always been more of a satchel and cross-body bag girl, but I knew that since I’d be lugging my laptop, planner, and notebooks back and forth, I really felt it prudent to go ahead and purchase a tote bag.

Luckily, I hit the jackpot at a sale at Bass at my local outlets. I got a big reversible tote bag (one side is black, one is brown…I coordinate with my outfit!) for $25 rather than $68. However, now that I’ve taken it to work every day, I totally would have paid full price for this bad boy. It’s so helpful!

Have you ever tried to create a capsule wardrobe? Would you try this for your summer job?



  • Molly O’Connor

    Such great tips and LOVE those bags! I found a fabulous work bag at Target for super cheap. I’m still working on building my work wardrobe since it is business professional, but having several solid tops and bottoms helps!

    • Thanks, Molly! Target is the best for affordable work-wear. I’m definitely wanting to add some more pieces as I’ll continue to work into the school year!

  • Where did you find such a cute scarf? I have a super funny question: do you get hot wearing pants and longer sleeves in Houston to your internship? I’m moving there in August and am super nervous about wearing business professional in hotter weather than I’m used to.

    • The scarf is from Madewell! They have the cutest ones! So, basically in Houston it is SO hot that anywhere with AC keeps it super, super COLD. So the trick is to layer up. On a weekend, you should wear shorts and light shirts, but bring a jacket if you’re going to the mall, the movings, out to eat, etc. For work, my office is SO FREEZING. So I only feel a little warm in long sleeves/pants walking from my car to my office building, but that’s like a 30 sec walk, haha. Hope that answers your question! (I do sometimes wear skirts though, especially on extra-warm days.)

      • That totally answers my question. I was a little worried I’d have to find a bunch of work appropriate dresses and get rid of my beloved pixie pants. Thanks!

  • Old Navy pixie pants are so underrated!! They are legit the comfiest pair of non-denim pants that I own! It’s kind of crazy! This is such a quality capsule collection; definitely a good idea to buy pieces that can be easily mix and matched!

    xo, G

    • Wore them yesterday and they were super comfy for a long day at the office! I’d love a couple more pairs 🙂

  • Brooklyn W.

    I have that Old Navy bag!
    <3 Brooklyn
    | |

  • I love my Gap Outlet Slim City pants… I’m sure they’re almost exactly like the Old Navy pants! They’re so comfy and just the perfect length! I really need to go shopping because once I start grad school I’m gonna have to be dressing nice every single day!

    Kayla |

    • I’ll have to try those on! I definitely want another pair for the fall as I will still be working. I’d love a printed pair – I’m on camera a lot, so I feel like that would show my personality and still be comfy. Thanks!