As interviews, meetings, internships, and law school all become more and more of a reality for me, my wardrobe has been a hot topic in my mind these days. While I want to stay true to my personal style, I also feel the itch to begin this transition into a more professional wardrobe to match where am I in life. Most pieces I have already can be dressed up or down for personal outings, so I will definitely be hanging onto those. As for the rest, I found myself stuck on what to hold onto and what to get rid of. I spent a good twenty minutes looking through all my clothes unsure of where to start. Finally, I asked myself one question: If I was called into work last minute (which happens quite often), would I feel comfortable in whatever I had chosen to throw on that morning?
In the end, this is what my overhaul looked like:
- Replace graphic tees with high quality basic tees:
Recently there has been trendy and chic basic tees (like this one!) that are awesome to wear on days off. Graphic tees with cartoon-y images or slightly cliche sayings should really be left for the teenagers. High quality basic tees that will last you for a few years will change your world if you haven’t converted yet. They can be worn in basically any season. For work, pair with slacks, a blazer, and ballet flats to make a quick outfit for mornings that you find yourself running late. On days off, a pair of shorts or jeans will do the trick. I have these ones from Gap that you literally cannot get me out of.
- Replace T-Shirt dresses with dresses that flatter your body type:
Now, don’t get me wrong, t-shirt dresses absolutely have their place, like a beach, a swimming pool, or even days off. However, save them for those occasions and invest in a dress that fits your body type. For me, it’s the fit and flare type dresses like this one. This dress is one I would feel comfortable with heels and a blazer at work, or with sandals walking around the city.
- Replace light wash jeans with dark wash jeans:
This has probably been my favorite switch. I love the casual professionalism of the dark wash skinny jeans. If your work’s dress code allows dark jeans like mine does, try pairing it with a nice blouse, a blazer, and heels. Personally, I stick with these on days I have meetings with coworkers and lots of busy work. If I am meeting with clients or others I will opt for a more business-like outfit. A high quality pair of dark jeans will keep you going for a few years and get you out of many a fashion emergency.
- Replace pattern leggings with slacks:
Pattern leggings are incredible pieces to own… for the gym. After high school, though, it might be best to leave day-to-day pairs behind as well. If you’re a sucker for patterned pants (as I am), don’t fret! Find a pair of slacks in those patterns you love so much! While you’re at it, though, make sure to find a pair in black, grey, and white. These will be go-tos in your professional closet. The basic colored slacks can be found pretty much anywhere within your price range from Old Navy to J. Crew and everywhere in between. For fun patterns, I like to raid Old Navy’s Pixie line. The patterns are always just busy enough. A blouse or a basic tee and blazer is all you’ll need with one of these.
- Replace bomber jackets with blazers:
I have to admit, I wasn’t really able to get rid of my bomber jackets. I am still so in love with how they look. Honestly, if I was wearing a bomber jacket on a day off and had to run into the office I really would not mind. However, on work days, blazers are definitely the way to go. Similar to the slacks, you can find some awesome blazers in both basic colors, fun colors, and patterns. I suggest having a couple in each of those three sections because you’ll never run out of combinations. I prefer the 3/4-sleeve length just because long sleeves tend to make me claustrophobic, but if you can wear both, buy both!
- Replace puffer jackets with nice winter jackets:
Again, this is another “don’t throw out” item, just a “try to avoid wearing this to work” item because these kinds of jackets absolutely have their place. Of course, if it’s pouring rain/snow (can it pour snow?) and is negative 10 degrees like it can get here, everything goes out the window. In general, though, a nice winter jacket will pull any winter outfit up to a whole new level. I love these camel jackets but have been seriously considering rounding out my winter wardrobe with a colored option as well.
What other switches have you made for the transition into a more professional wardrobe? Let me know in comments!