Hey there gents. I'm a college student and this summer I'll be doing a part-time internship. I really don't have a suit that fits, so I'll soon need to update my wardrobe.
The internship is only 3 days a week and I don't have much to spend, so would I be better off with two cheaper suits or one nicer one? Thanks for the help.
Unless you're in DC, it's hard to imagine a college internship requiring a suit every day.
Do the nicer one you'll be proud to wear after graduation.
haha it is in DC actually.
Friends in law school interned in New York and DC. Only in DC would a college student need a suit.
Though MAYBE Boston or Chicago, but there aren't too many college summer internships in Boston or Chicago.
In the long run you're better off buying quality, and that might also be true in the short term, since you'll look better at work. Here are a few suggestions that might help you.
If you buy one suit, keep it simple. A solid grey or navy would work well. People will pay less attention to a simple suit than to a distinctive one, which means that they'll be less likely to notice that you're wearing the same suit every day.
Another tip is to change up your shirts and ties. You don't need much to pull this off. Get a light blue dress shirt and a white one, grab a few ties that go with both, and you'll have a fair number of combinations to work with.
If your workplace will allow it, consider buying a sport coat (again, in a basic color like navy, tan, or grey) as a cheaper alternative to a second suit.
Finally, you can try to get quality at a cheaper price. Whether it's buying off eBay, thrifting, or finding great sales, you can get quality clothing at a fraction of retail. They key is usually patience and an eye for the gem among the dirt.
D.C. in the summer...welcome to hell, kid. It's hot, it's humid, and it's a terrible place to drive. Given this, I'd change my advice a bit to emphasize lighter fabrics and, to the extent you can get away with it, colors. Your suit should be linen, poplin, or cotton, preferably no more than half-lined. Navy or tan are good colors. Seersucker is acceptable in DC, but perhaps not on an intern. Make sure that your shirts are lightweight cotton; I don't care how cheap it is, a cotton/poly blend will be miserable to wear.
One bit of good news for you is that summer fabrics are usually cheaper than wool (though they tend to wear out sooner as well) so that might stretch your budget to cover more. If you check the Brooks Brothers website right now they have a fair number of cotton and poplin suits on sale, though obviously with limited size selection. The shop on Conn. Ave in DC will tailor them for you if you order them off the website and bring them in.
As someone who has been there, done that regarding the DC internship, this is my advice:
1. I'd buy a couple of blazers and mix them up with various pants, shirts and ties.
2. You will need one nice suit to wear to special events.
3. Washington is a very conservative place, sartorially speaking. Whatever Republicans and Democrats disagree on, they both put their pants on one leg at a time, and they bought those pants at Brooks Brothers. Avoid anything too fashion-forward. By this, I mean do not buy your internship clothes at Express.
4. Washington in the summer is very hot. It's hot when you're walking down the street. It's hot when you're standing on a Metro station platform waiting for the train. It's just really damn hot. Make use of lighter fabrics where possible (linen, seersucker, etc).
5. Your tie should be tasteful and understated. It should not have piano keys on it. It should not be one of those solid-colored rayon monstrosities that make you look like a high schooler trying to coordinate with your prom date's dress. When in doubt, diagonal stripes are acceptable. Tiny whales are also acceptable.
6. If you are issued some sort of staff badge and lanyard as part of your job (i.e. as a Congressional staffer), do not wear it around town when you are obviously not at work. It makes you look like a self-important jackass (which seems to be a requirement for getting such jobs).
7. Make use of the following where possible: sales at Brooks Brothers and Jos. A. Bank (Father's Day is coming up and there are usually a lot of menswear sales); outlets (J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren), eBay, thrift stores in the really nice part of town.
Re 6. Really? To me those people always looked lazy and unimportant. Security recognizes the important people, who must also be always presentable.
Intern to what job?
One great suit. And a few pairs of slacks that work with the jacket will get you further.
Also keep your shoes polished and your shirts Ironed. Those details will not be expected but will set you apart. They are the marks of someone who really want a job.
Okay, so what I'm getting from people is one decent suit, one or two sport coats, and a few pairs of different color trousers (along with shirts, shoes, ties, etc.) Sound about right?
Oh and if it matters, I'll be working in the private sector, not for a senator or something in the federal government.