From college to career

From College to Career:

Tips for wardrobe transitions when you get a new position…

You’ve got your first job after graduating college. Congratulations! Now your wardrobe has to make the transition from casual college student to working graduate. So how do you make the transition, especially while you’re waiting for your first pay check? Here’s how you go about building up your working wardrobe …

1. Your working environment:

The first step is to consider what kind of environment you’ll be working in. A creative company or a small start-up will be very different from a corporate environment, where you’ll need smart tailored suits and dresses. This would be overdressed in a more casual workplace, where you’ll be more comfortable in more relaxed clothes.

2. What are your workmates wearing?

If you’re really not sure what the dress code is at your new workplace, check what your co-workers wear. This will give you a good idea of what is considered appropriate. Your co-workers will have been there for long enough to know how to dress suitably, so watch them and you’ll see how you need to dress in any given situation, such as when you’re meeting clients.

3. Versatile pieces:

You’ll want your working wardrobe to be as versatile as possible. It’s so annoying if you realize that you only have one pair of pants that go with one particular jacket, and those pants are waiting to be laundered. So look for garments that can be mixed and matched with each other; a good rule is to buy plain pants and skirts, and tops or shirts that can be worn with any of them.

4. Shop in the right places

Your initial budget for your work wardrobe isn’t likely to be very high, so you’ll need to be selective in what you buy. You can choose a few pieces to begin with, and match with existing items in your wardrobe that are suitable for work. A limited budget can also be stretched by shopping in the right places. Go to thrift stores, where you can pick up some pieces in excellent condition, or purchase from eBay.

5. Choose the right fabrics – You don’t want dry cleaning bills!

If your work wardrobe is limited to begin with, you’ll need pieces that are easily laundered. Dry cleaning bills will be hefty if nothing you buy is washable. Also avoid clothes that crease easily, so that you’ve less ironing to do. Natural fabrics will be better if you work in a warm environment without AC.

6. Practical matters:

When you’re trying on clothes for work, pay attention to practical issues such as how well you can move in them. Don’t choose a skirt that rides up, or a blouse that’s too revealing, as that won’t present a very professional image. Also consider how well you’ll be able to walk in shoes when you try them on; it won’t look good if you wobble while you’re walking!

7. Keep it simple:

Finally, don’t try to buy too much at first, even if you have the cash. You’ll do better to wait until you see what you need to add to your wardrobe. Start by buying a limited range of items to give yourself a basic work wardrobe. One suit, another pair of pants that can be worn with the jacket, a skirt and three or four shirts/tops would be a good start.

 

 

“So look for garments that can be mixed and matched with each other; a good rule is to buy plain pants and skirts, and tops or shirts that can be worn with any of them.”

 

“Your initial budget for your work wardrobe isn’t likely to be very high, so you’ll need to be selective in what you buy…”

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