A professional wardrobe may seem as though it is light years away when you begin college, but time goes by fast when you are having fun, and you will soon need to trade in your leggings for slacks! Here are some essentials every collegiate should consider when beginning to piece together their professional wardrobe!
Basic tank tops will become your new best friend! Essential when it comes to layering, a basic tank can serve as the platform to be accompanied with a blazer, blouse, cardigan or sweater! The key is not get a tank top with a revealing neckline. We are going for professional, office wear. Not a first date! Also, try to avoid camisoles (camis)! The thinness and v-neck layout can come off as too casual! Remember, we are going for business professional so no lace!
Cardigans may seem like a ‘Grandma Style’ but they are quickly growing to become a necessity in the fashion world. Cardigans can be paired with a dress or top, and they come with buttons or without, patterns and solids! It is best to choose bright colors that will stand out when selecting a cardigan, because you may be combining it with a pair of black or grey slacks in the beginning, and the spot of color breaks apart all the darkness. Avoid chunky, oversized cardigans! While they are comfortable, cozy and absolutely adorable they clash in the world of business clothing.
When it comes to bottoms there are a variety to choose from, but for essentials, a pair of black or grey slacks will always be a must! You will want them to fit tightly around your waist and thighs, but the rest all depends on the type of shoes you will be wearing. For basic rule of thumb, always go with a boot-cut pair of slacks. They are versatile and can be worn with heels, boots or flats! Depending on your comfort level, you can go with a “skinny jean” look or a tight-fitted pair of slacks.
It is finally time for the ultimate essential: shoes! The common mistake a lot of collegiate gals make is reusing their bar hoping pumps, but they have to take their turn on the shoe rack! Low heeled, peep toe or not, shoes are simply yet stylish. You can even have a full range of fun when it comes to your shoes if you’re daring enough to step outside the usual mold. If you’re not ready for the low-heeled life, then shopping for super cute flats work well too!
Accessories, accessories, accessories! You don’t want to wear anything too flashy when on interview because it may distract the employer from getting to know you. Studded diamond, pearl or circular earrings. A watch or bangles, but usually not both so you don’t jingle. Of course a statement necklace could eliminate all other accessories and bring just enough attention to be noticed, but not distracted. When it comes to all other necklaces, small pendants on either a long or short chain will do. Rule of thumb: match your metals! Silvers with silvers, golds with golds! Of course I like to follow the advice of the legendary CoCo Chanel, “before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” I still don’t think your crystallized necklace that reads SELFIE would be inappropriate, so best to leave it at home.
Don’t think that you have to change yourself completely now that you have a professional wardrobe! The more comfortable you become, the more outfits and style you will try, and soon it won’t seem like dressing for work is such a chore! Here’s Rowan University Alumni, Corinthea Harris, Public Relations and Social Media Manager for DDC Works in Philadelphia, showing us all that once you are comfortable, dressing professional can be cute and stylish!
Harris sports a chevron patterned, three-quarter sleeve dress from Charlotte Russe accessorized with a thick belt, nude heels and a peach colored statement necklace with matching bangles. She wears her hair down, and has a fresh looking face without too much makeup on. This photo was taken at the 2013 PRSA National Conference in Philadelphia. But to prove that her professional wear does not stray extremely from her everyday wear, here are some photos of what a casual outfit for Harris would be:
Be who you are and express that in your clothing! Harris likes to dress to impress, always coordinating her colors and wearing clothing that not flatters her figure but brings out her spunkiness and creativity! Employers want to get to know YOU, so never stray from who you are!