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Stylish suggestions to strike balance between trendy, professional

Avital Glibicky for WSN

During the summer internship season, it is often difficult to strike a balance between stylish and work-appropriate clothes. Here are some outfit ideas that are not only budget- and office-friendly, but also trendy.

The popularity of television shows like “Mad Men” have brought back ’60s-influenced looks such as the pencil skirt, which can easily become a staple in a professional closet. Pencil skirts flatter a wide variety of figures and can be paired with many top styles. One possible look is to pair the pencil skirt with a classic collared shirt. To liven up your outfit, sport a patterned top or a shirt with unique structure, such as a peplum. For versatility, go for neutral-tone skirts.

Wearing a long pencil skirt ensures a clean, professional look. H&M offers a perfect-length pencil skirt for only $25. Remember that office skirts should be longer than those worn casually.

For a younger twist on the collared shirt, try a sleeveless button down such as the Urban Renewal Prepster Button-Down shirt at Urban Outfitters ($49). This shirt is perfect for the long, hot days of a summer internship in New York City. If $50 is out of your price range, try pairing the pencil skirt with a sleeveless top that has delicate embroidered paneling such as the Ethereal Crochet Trimmed top from Forever 21 ($16).

Peplum tops also give a fresh silhouette. This sleek, bold cut pairs well with a fitted pencil skirt and is offered at many retailers including Zara ($60). If you are not a fan of the pencil skirt look, try a wrap skirt — it is not as high-waisted as the pencil skirt but will still flatter your legs. A good option is the Hyperfemme Wrap Skirt from Forever 21 ($18).

Wearing skirts every day is not for everyone. If you would prefer an alternate look, consider a slim-fit dress pant, specifically one that is cropped at the ankle for a flattering summer look. Try Zara’s Superstretch Skinny Trousers, which feature edgy gold zippers on the front pocket ($60). For a cheaper option, consider H&M’s Slim-Fit Pants, which offer the perfect amount of stretch for a comfortable fit ($13).

Dresses are also a classic go-to for any wardrobe, especially in the summer. Wearing a dress requires little to no extra styling and can have you quickly out the door on busy mornings. Simple dresses in classic cuts are ideal for an internship, as they can stand out while still looking sleek. Affordable dress options include H&M’s Fitted Dress and Forever 21’s Sleek Fit & Flare dress ($35, $12). Both garments come in neutral blacks and greys — perfect for the office.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, March 5 print edition. Bailey Evans is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]

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Stylish suggestions to strike balance between trendy, professional