10 Essential Tips for Fashion Interns in NYC

12:46:00 PM

It's week 1 of my fashion internship at a big magazine in NYC.  From running in high heels to squirming through crowds without getting pick-pocketed -- I have learned a lot so far.  Being a "fashion intern" might sound glamourous, but it's only glamourous if you remember a few simple staples.  Here are my tricks thus far:

1) Take the free napkins at Starbucks.   Why?  No, it's not "cheap" it's "resourceful."  You will be thankful to have them when you are about to run into a designer's studio and you realize your face is covered in a mixture of soot, sweat, and who knows what.  Hey, this is NYC.  Just reach into that purse and dab the sweat off your forehead with a fresh napkin.
2) Wear a different pair of shoes each day.  I do this for two reasons. First, you want to avoid repetitive pressure/rubbing on the same spots on your feet.  Once you get blisters you're screwed.  Second, letting your shoes dry out for a few days will prevent your feet from becoming a walking stink bomb.  We all know that person who walks by, and you can tell who they are without looking because of the foot odor stench trailing behind them.
3) Pack your Bandaids.   If you're in an industry where heels are a *must*, then you better be carrying some bandaids in that sassy little clutch of yours.  It's inevitable that either you or your friend will end up with battered feet.
4) Gigantic black sunglasses.  Wear these shades everywhere the moment you step outside your department.  Wear them indoors.  Wear them in on the metro.  Wear them when it's raining.  Why?  First, people will not bother you or try to talk to you as much.  Second, if you're ever lost in the streets and in tears, no one will even notice.
5) Stay perky with protein!  Some people say that women in the fashion industry are either b-words or fake-happy people.  I disagree.  These women work ridiculously long hours and put extensive thought into every detail.  It takes a toll on your mind. .  And for the interns who are running around delivering and picking up samples-- it takes a toll on your body.  I always carry a turkey sandwich and an iced coffee (that I make in the office) with me while running around the city.  Rice cakes and coffee don't cut it.
6) Babe with the business cards.  When there are two dozen other interns, you might feel like you're getting lost in the shuffle.  Think of this as an opportunity to stand out and market yourself.  Don't be shy.  Try to schedule appointments with people you would like to speak to.  An internship is a learning opportunity, and if you take the initiative to exchange cards with your higher-ups, you'll be opening the doors for the learning opportunities that you really want.
7) Be the nerd with the notebook.  This is when my William & Mary student instincts kick in.  As an intern, your higher-ups will tell you something once, and often not want to repeat it again.  When you're learning 100 new things each day, chances are you're not going to remember everything two weeks later.    Just remember to keep it classy with a solid color notebook, or even better, a leather-bound notebook.  Because "Hello Kitty" doesn't exactly scream "professional."
8) Liven up with lipstick.  Sometimes you only get 5 hours of sleep.  Sometimes you wake up late for work.  Sometimes you end up running down the streets with a pair of Christian Louboutins in your hand.  Whatever the case, your lips will likely look dry and chapped at some point throughout the day.  Breathe some life into them with a bold red lipstick or even a moisturizing nude shade.  It will take you from hot-mess to glamourous!
9) Unlimited metro pass = Unlimited opportunities.  Your higher-ups will often ask you to go places quickly, with urgency and efficiency.  It's easiest just to buy your own unlimited monthly transportation pass.  You will never have to think twice about running errands for someone.  After all, you never know when you'll have to pick up Jimmy Choo shoes or an Oscar de la Renta evening gown.
10) Perfume, Lotion, and Hand Sanitizer.  These three travel-size essentials are a *must* for any fashion intern's tote.   Hand sanitizer after riding the subway is essential.  Lotion doubles as both a lip moisturizer, smoothing creme for frizzy hair, and a fragrance for your body.  And trust me, at about 4 o'clock you will be wishing you had a little spritz of perfume to cover up the dirty city smell that has bonded to your skin.
Here's to week one as a fashion intern.  
Comment below if you have any questions about my internship, interning in general, etc!

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