One thing I love about college is the freedom to dress how I please. I can go to class in sweatpants and a sweatshirt and (theoretically) no one will judge me. But unfortunately, my days of dressing down are numbered. I graduate in May and will, hopefully, have a full-time job waiting for me when I walk across the stage. Like a lot of people on this campus, my field requires me to wear something dressier than sweatpants and leggings.
Thankfully, I lucked out and my internship has prepared me for this transition. I was required to dress in a “business” style, and through lots of trials and texts with my mother about what is and is not appropriate, I think I have got it down. But I did not go out and buy a whole new wardrobe; that would have been really expensive. Instead, I bought a few new pieces and found ways to modify clothing I already owned.
Here are some basic wardrobe guidelines to follow in the real world.
- Basics: Basic clothing is your best friend when you are in your twenties. Basics are very versatile. Being appropriate for class, work, and going out. Fill your closet with basic shirts and cardigans. Men can wear plain polos or button-up shirts. You can find these at H&M or Forever 21 for some great pieces. They are relatively inexpensive as well.
- Colors: Neutrals! Neutrals! Neutrals! OK, I think you get the point. But here is my reasoning: It won’t overshadow YOU. When you wear a visually distracting outfit, with bright colors, or sequins, or sparkles, it will detract the attention from what you have to say.
- Layers: Also your best friend. It allows you to transition clothes from casual to business, and also from season to season. Have a nice tank top? Throw a blazer over it. Even a classic button-down cardigan would work. If your shirt is not conservative enough for the workplace, add a scarf.
- Things you actually should spend money on: This is where I regretfully inform you that you will actually have to spend a little bit of money. But you will spend that money on some key pieces that will really bring your wardrobe to a new level.
- First: a blazer. Blazers are awesome. They class up any outfit. They are good for turning those nice tank tops into something that is work appropriate.
- The second thing – and the last thing – is a pair of black pants. Yes, that simple. A nice pair of slacks will do wonders for your closet. Black goes with everything. (This tip goes for men as well!)
That’s it. Pretty simple, really. These obviously are not the only tips out there, but they are some of the easier ones to follow. I wish everyone luck in their future careers and outfit choices.