No matter how many internships I take on, the first-day-on-the-job nerves still get to me easily. You would think the practical things would make me most nervous: meeting co-workers; taking on large workloads; the anxiety-inducing possibility of making a mistake so disastrous that it would require me to flee the city immediately, never to be seen or heard from again.
In reality, though, it’s picking out a first-day-of-work outfit that makes my heart pound hardest. As everyone knows, first impressions are everything. That, combined with my Virgo-fueled need for perfection, sends me into a night-before frenzy every time without fail.
Beginning my editorial internship at Away on their new publication Here Magazine—both known for their collaborations with fabulous influencers and presence in the fashion and travel industries—I knew I needed a first day look to give me a confidence boost.
I decided to go with a clean, minimal look, the highlight of the outfit being my most recent favorite piece: a simple midi-skirt. The white button-up channeled both professional and relaxed energies, the loose fit making the look seem effortless. A pop of red lipstick added a bit of fun; the ankle boots, a bit of drama.
But the true beauty of this outfit? Its main components are secondhand; not a single item was more than $35. Both the boots and the sunglasses came from Forever 21 (both currently sold out, but I’ve included alternative options!); I purchased my bag from H&M; I found the blouse and skirt at a Goodwill in Georgia, both for about $6 each.
The first time I interned in New York, I worked in a building on Fifth Avenue. Coming from the south, where most people wear running shorts and t-shirts every day, watching gorgeous Manhattanites strut down city blocks in such incredible looks fascinated me. However, the abundance of expensive, high-end clothing intimidated me; I felt as if I would never fit in because I couldn’t afford the same brands as many of the people around me.
With time, though, I learned that it is possible to fit in with even the most stylish New Yorkers without spending two months’ worth of paychecks on a single blouse. I realized that it is not the name on the label, but rather the look and quality of the clothing that makes the biggest difference. Even the simplest outfit can become a great look when the clothes are clean, pressed and in great condition—and that, dear friends, is the true key to it all.
All photos by Alexis Hinnant (@alexishinnant)