Is it Time for Your Wardrobe to Grow Up?

Transforming your look from college to career

After spending semester after semester in shorts and a hoodie, it seems like a daunting task to even think about putting on a dress and heels or a suit and tie. But there are ways to blend comfort and your own unique sense of style into your new adult wardrobe. This transformation becomes especially important when you enter the world of job interviews and internships. You certainly can’t sit in front of your future boss in what you’ve been wearing to class. Here are some helpful tips on how to dress like a grown-up and still ‘keep your cool’ and some money in your pocket.

Dress Appropriately For the Environment

Whether you’ve been invited to a fun networking event or you’re headed to your first job interview, it’s important to dress the part. You don’t want to wear a black cocktail dress to a job fair or a stuffy business suit to an after-work event. The key to successful dressing is to know where you’re going and what is expected of you. If the venue is upscale, you will definitely want to pull out your finest attire while still keeping in mind that you are representing the ‘adult professional’ version of yourself. Nightclub party dresses are usually never a good idea at any event where you are mingling with potential employers or colleagues. Stay true to your personal style, so you feel confident in what you are wearing.  Don’t just run outside and ruin your nice new clothes, pack a rain jacket like an adult. If you are the casual comfortable type, you can find natural fabrics like cotton and linen to give you that mature but relaxed look. If form fitting attire is your usual style, try wearing a structured blazer or an elegantly tailored wrap dress that flatters the figure in a more professional and conservative way.

Spend Money Wisely

Needless to say, college is expensive. This is probably not the wealthiest time period in your life. And if you are just graduating, it can be even more economically challenging, because usually that means you’re jobless at least until you find one. Rarely is there a lot of money for buying a new wardrobe. The best thing to do is to first look at what you have that can be transformed into work attire, such as blouses, sweaters, the forever versatile black dress, and any neutral colored items like khakis or a white shirt. After you have salvaged any decent clothing items from your existing wardrobe, it’s good to spend whatever money you do have or borrow from the parents, on a couple well-made blazers, a nice pair of pants, a tailored skirt, a few nicely made blouses or shirts. Try to choose a color palette and stay within that, it’s cheaper and easier because everything matches and your wardrobe appears larger for less money.

Forget the Fads

Leaving college behind and entering a whole new world where you are judged by completely different rules can be very difficult. The hardest transition can be the process of taking your style from trendy to classic. Forget about always trying to keep up with the latest style fads that come and go. Save that for your nightlife. Once you decide on a career, take a look around at what successful people in that type of industry are wearing and follow suit. Find classic timeless pieces of clothing that won’t look weird or outdated when the next fashion season rolls in. You can also save money by leaving the fads behind and buying clothing that doesn’t go out of style. You will need to make more careful purchasing decisions but in the end you will spend much less money not having to keep up with every passing style trend.

Confidence is a Key Accessory

No matter what you wear or what career path you choose, confidence in yourself and your decisions is always the best accessory. Now is the time to follow your dreams and passions and get to know who you really are. Tailor your fashion decisions to match the career path of your choice and you will walk into any interview feeling as if you already belong there and your potential employer will be more inclined to see you as a part of the company and the environment. Whatever you wear, wear with confidence and you will appear ready for any job you choose.

College life can be challenging, so reward yourself by looking the part of the professional adult you have been working so hard to develop over the last few years. Following some simple guidance can make the transition from college to career, fun, easy, and economical.