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Building a Wardrobe for Your First Job Out of College

You just finished your degree and you’re ready to start officially “adulting” at that brand new, post-college job. You step into your closet and realize your wardrobe is much more fitting for a lecture hall than a corporate office.

Unfortunately, being fresh out of college and just starting a new job (or interviewing for one) doesn’t leave you with a lot of cash for a brand new wardrobe.  Don’t worry!  There are several ways to get yourself looking like a professional—without breaking the bank.

Check Out Your Inventory

Spend some time in your closet and evaluate what you already have. No, those yoga pants, favorite little tees, and oversized sweatshirts won’t be suitable for the working world, but you’ll probably find quite a few things that will. The cute trendy tops and tanks you have can be worn under a blazer or cardigan for work.

Depending on your job, some of your jeans may be just fine too.  While you’re in there taking inventory, pay attention to your style preferences.  Are you more preppy and classic? Or do you tend to lean toward more modern and trendy styles?  Getting dressed for work doesn’t mean giving up your style. Take note of what colors you buy the most, if you like skirts and dresses or jeans and pants. Keep all of this in mind as you start to purchase additional items for your work wear.

Select Some Base Colors

Choose a base color or two and buy some pieces that all go together so you can mix and match your outfits.  My go-to base color tends to be black.  I like it because it’s slimming and goes with everything.  Maybe your color is white, navy, or beige.  Whatever neutral color you like, buy a few different pieces in that color.

I have black tanks, pants, skirts, cardigans and blouses.  I can easily pair them with my non-black pieces to put together an outfit in no time.   Shop budget-friendly clothing stores to find the best deals on basics.  Even secondhand stores may surprise you with what you can find for very little money.

Add in Character Pieces

Now that you have your basics, you can start adding in specific pieces that add some oomph or polish to your style.  Like a great blazer.  These are always in style and finish your outfit off nicely. However, not all blazers are created equal.  Consider your body shape and find a fit that works for you; browse the women’s blazers at Loft and look for a tailored, slightly fitted look—it’s usually the most flattering and office ready option.

Blazers are super versatile and can be worn in formal settings with a pencil skirt or slacks and a nice blouse. Or, if your workplace is more casual, blazers look perfect with a nice pair of jeans and simple shirt.  You may spend a little more on these, but you want to invest in something of good quality that’ll last you several years.

Accessorize for Flair

Now let’s talk accessories.  They can give you that “wow” factor when dressing for work.  Usually, a less is more approach is good here.  Keep it simple and classy with a statement watch—don’t have one? Check out MVMT’s collection of women’s watches and find something funky and fun, or something classic and elegant.

Colorful necklaces are also fun and absolutely okay for the office. If you need to ramp up your collection, head to BaubleBar and peruse their selection of chunky necklaces for a dash of personality. They can give you that pop you need, especially if your outfit is otherwise pretty neutral. Just choose one chunky or large piece to wear at a time, and keep everything else simple.

Cute scarves are essential to every woman’s wardrobe.  Chances are you had at least a few in college, and they are super easy to carry into the working world with you. However, if you want to add a few new options to your wardrobe, be sure to check out the cute women’s scarves from Belk.

Tied around your neck, they are a great alternative to a necklace in the cooler months.  A thin classic scarf can also double as a headband or a little cute little detail when tied onto your handbag.

Bottom Line

You don’t need a complete overhaul of your wardrobe, just a little tweaking and a few additions will make you career-ready in no time. Use these tips to up the ante on your fashion choices and make an impression every time you step into the boardroom.


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