It’s that time of year! Whether you are headed off for a summer job or an internship in a big city, college is the time to start collecting pieces that will build the foundation of your professional wardrobe. Check out a few tips below as you start compiling professional clothing while staying true to your personal style.
Staples Every Woman Should Have:
A classic pants or skirt-suit in a year-round color — black or navy are universally flattering and timeless. If you want, diversify your wardrobe by investing in suits in season-specific colors and fabrics: a wool-blend wine or forest green for fall and winter and a lilac or light beige in a linen-blend for spring and summer.
Dress pants: With so many styles available today — from slim-fit ankle pants to paperbag-waist flowy trousers — you’re bound to find a pair that looks polished and combines comfort with professional chic. Add variety to your wardrobe by purchasing a pair of plaid, gingham, or statement color slacks. Alternatively, try a wide-leg crepe jumpsuit and pop a blazer on top for an instant statement outfit.
Skirts: Traditionally considered the more formal suiting option for women, you really can’t go wrong with a simple pencil skirt. Make sure that your skirt stays professional by choosing one with a modest length and one that isn’t too skin-tight. If you want to jazz up your professional skirt look, go for a pleated or slip-style satin midi skirt. They’re all the rage right now and add a touch of feminine chic to workwear.
Blouses: These serve as the perfect base top for all professional looks. Look for various neutral shades, such as cream, gray, light blue, blush pink, and camel to add interest to your one or two staple suits. Be sure to vary sleeve length, neckline, and material for maximum pairing options. Once you have a few versatile blouses, invest in various prints — florals, animal prints, and stripes just to name a few.
Accessories: These are a great way to let your personality and personal style shine through in what is often considered to be drab and boring professional dress codes. Wearing a navy suit? Add lilac or baby blue straw dangly earrings for a pop of color. Weave a patterned hair scarf into your ponytail or add a few neutral leather barrettes to your hairstyle. Think that you need to carry a bulky leather briefcase to work or your internship? Think again. Invest in a leather tote to carry your laptop and other necessities. Start off with a neutral color that coordinates with most of your outfits, then spice it up and purchase a tote in your signature, go-to color. As far as shoes, start with black or beige pumps and then embrace what makes your style unique and buy those professional statement heels you’ve always wanted! Whether it’s a plaid stiletto or a pale blue block heel, your shoes will definitely add a bit of spice and character to your business attire.
Where to Shop:
Banana Republic (Check out Banana Republic Factory for more affordable fashion)
ThredUp: search specific brands, styles, and conditions for low-price, high-quality attire.
Hillsdale ladies, presentation and poise can go a long way, so don’t be afraid to embrace your personal style in the workplace. So go treat yourself to that item you’ve been eyeing – you’ve worked hard this semester to secure that position and it’s time to celebrate!