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Menswear on a budget - Intern Wardrobe

Menswear on a budget
Robert Nixon

There is a paradox that arises as an intern and this is the fact that you are unlikely to get paid much, if at all, yet you are expected to turn up to an interview and to work dressed well.

Although it would be fantastic to suggest a whole new wardrobe to accompany your newfound success, that is simply not practical and likely to be rather detrimental to your bank account. So what do you do?


Unfortunately my advice is not as simple as going to a charity shop or buying your suit cheaply from George by ASDA (If only). Although you want to work on a budget, you will also want to both look and feel good. My first piece of advice would be to use anything you possibly can from your current wardrobe; there’s nothing better than spending nothing when working on a tight budget. It seems obvious but there is an undeniable temptation to buy something new for an interview or a new job, avoid this where possible.


Contrary to this, if you have changed sizes recently then opt for new clothes. The whole idea of going to an interview or starting a new internship is to make sure you seem more than competent and impress, agreed? The first things your interviewer or new boss will notice are your clothes (shallow but true); so if you can fit your fist between your collar and your neck, buy a new shirt. Well-fitting clothes are not going to get you a job, but they certainly won’t lose you one.


Naturally the dress code is dependent upon the internship at hand, if you are aiming to work in an office then a full suit may be necessary, whereas if it is a PR office, jeans, a shirt and a blazer will likely cover it. But how do you know the dress code? This is a chance to use your intuition and research skills; I cannot give you this answer. All I can say is that overdressed is always better than underdressed. Know the company inside out and you’ll know how to dress.


To give some idea of what to wear to your interview or to your new internship, here are four outfit ideas on a budget (£200 maximum):


Look 1:


Full suit – £85
 Shirt – £29.95
Shoes – £40
Lapel pin – £5
Belt – £13
Tie – £10


I’m afraid that if you are going for the full suit and most formal option, there are few chances to make-do on a budget. Combining an ASOS slim fit suit with a T.M. Lewin slim fit shirt is the perfect way to get a well fitted suit at low cost, especially if you go for T.M. Lewin’s four for £100 deal. You can get shirts cheaper elsewhere but these are the best cross between quality and cost. Finally, adding a lapel pin is a great way to standout and add personality to your outfit, which can be a difficult task when everyone else is wearing a suit as well.



Look 2:

intern magazine

Shirt £33
Blazer – £65
Trousers – £35
Boots – £30


This outfit is likely to be suited to the majority of interviews and jobs. For any job where a full suit is not a requirement, denim is a potential option. Make sure to keep the jeans in a dark wash and a good fit; nothing skin-tight and nothing baggy, a slim or slim-tapered fit is ideal and compliments blazers well. Furthermore, denim alongside a light blue shirt will allow you to branch into a black jacket, without looking like you are off to a funeral. Feel free to add a lapel pin or a pocket square at your own discretion.



Look 3:


Waistcoat – £32
Jeans – £35
Shirt and tie – £25
Shoes – £53
Belt – £10


Not necessarily less formal than the second look, but one to consider. Waistcoats are a strong statement and don’t always have to be paired with their matching jacket. Maybe even go tie-less, with the top button undone and sleeves rolled up, if you’re bold enough. This may be more of a work look than for an interview, but take away the idea to mismatch waistcoats to jackets and trousers, it’s a great way to look formal, quirky and a bit daring – Many employers will respect such qualities.


This goes to show that you can easily make up an outfit on a budget to suit your needs. Even more savings are to be had through sales and through a bit more digging, alongside being able to save money with things from your own wardrobe. If you have an interview coming up or start an internship soon, good luck to you and I am sure you will dress accordingly. I hope that this has served as some insight as to where to buy on a budget, or at least inspiration in regards to what to wear. Wearing a great outfit isn’t going to get you a job straight away, but it certainly won’t lose you one.


Things to take away:

–       If you can avoid spending money then do so

–       Ensure your clothes fit properly

–       Know the company inside out

–       Try to stand out with the details

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