Congratulations! Graduating from university is a big deal. Ready or not, you are armed with your degree and are ready to leave student life for the business world. In other words, you are ‘adulting’.
As you begin your search for your dream job, it will become apparent that the college attire you have been donning all these years is not going to cut it.
Let me guess; at university, your clothing pretty much consisted of tank tops, tees, shorts and light summer dresses. And also, lots of denim. But as you transition from college graduate to career gal, your sartorial choices will need to reflect this milestone change in your life.
Which is not to say that you need to strip all traces of your personal style from your closet. And you do not have to fill your closet with items that an adult is ‘supposed’ to wear. Think of it as more of a system upgrade—a wardrobe that represents a more refined and sophisticated version of you.
Here are seven useful tips to help convert your wardrobe full of college attire into one that is grown-up, fashion-forward and still filled with your individual style.
Find a Go-To Tailor
When it comes to office-friendly workwear that flatters and enhances the figure, finding a great fit is everything. Unfortunately, off-the-rack pieces that are often designed for a set of certain standard sizes may not always fit your form well, no matter how pretty the dress may look on the hanger. In which case, spending a little extra to have that gorgeous designer blouse tailor-fit to your measurements is well worth it, since it will accentuate your figure even more.
When you find yourself a great tailor, don’t let go. Establish a relationship so good that you are on a first-name basis!
Own a Classic Shift or Two
Speaking of classics, one can never go wrong with a flattering LBD (Little Black Dress). The right LBD is easy to put on and with the right accessories, can take you from workday to date night. But you don’t have to only stick to black, or other neutral shades such as grey or white. Jewel tones such as ruby red, citrine yellow, emerald green and sapphire blue are beautiful and flattering options that can enhance your skin tone, add a little flair to your office look and still ensure a polished and professional vibe.
Buy Pieces You Can Mix-and-Match
Adulting at work does not mean boring, full-on pantsuits all day, every day (unless you are working in an organisation that has a ‘Business Formal’ dress code). You should invest in good quality separates that are in neutral tones such as black, grey, navy, beige and white so that they can pair easily with a pretty floral silk blouse or a patterned pencil skirt that speaks to your personal taste and style.
Embrace Your Shape and Accentuate It
Are you more Kim or Kendall? It is time to acknowledge your body type—apple, pear, hourglass, athletic—and then dress to enhance your best assets.
While you may have spent your college years experimenting with all kinds of fashion, body type be damned, it may be time to leave those days behind (or save it for your days off) and place all your trendy but ill-fitting pieces in the donation pile. As a fresh graduate interviewing for a job, first impressions matter a lot. And, needless to say, your clothing choices and how they fit speak volumes about you to your potential employer. So dress to impress, and that means knowing what suits your body type and embracing the heck out of it.
Invest in Good Shoes
Any fashion expert worth their salt can tell you that rocking the right pair of heels can transform an entire outfit. A quality pair of powerful, pointed-toe heels in black (or nude-toned) can go with practically anything in your work wardrobe and immediately lifts your look up a notch. Having a pair of mules and kitten heels in your shoe closet are comfortable yet fashion-forward options for those days when tottering about on tip-toes simply feel like a dreaded option.
Silk Is Right On-Trend
A silk button-down or a silk slip skirt is trendy and elegant, and flattering on almost anybody. The fabric conveniently slides over the areas you want to camouflage, while also enhancing your curves without being inappropriate for the office. While you can’t go wrong with black or white, jewel tones are beautiful on silk and can be easily paired with the neutral separates that are now reliable staples in your closet.
Don’t Lose Yourself
As you can see, entering adulthood doesn’t mean giving up on your individual style. It does mean toning things down a little by adding some neutral, classic pieces, and making sure your stylish pieces are well-fitted to your figure. It’s simply a more polished and refined version of you. And you can still embrace your statement tees and casual jeans on the weekends and casual Fridays.