Oscar Wilde once said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
I’ve found this advice helpful in achieving my goals as a post-graduate. I’ve been to several interviews, many meetings, and plenty of events straight from work. I need a wardrobe that can keep up with my busy lifestyle and the following pieces are the ones I’ve found to be essential.
I hate the term “comfortable.” It implies acquiescence rather than intent, and I believe in always dressing with intent. However, 5 inch stilettos can make your day miserable and lower your productivity. Rather than simply seeking “comfortable” shoes for work, make a statement without sacrificing your health and happiness via grimace-inducing blisters. Look for a thick sole made of a less rigid material - think leather and rubber over plastic or wood. If needed, add inserts to get the fit and cushioning just right – you’re the only one who will know.
Pencil skirts are sexy without being sexy. A great pencil skirt serves as a confidence-boosting foundation for the rest of your outfit. You can stick with the basic black skirt, or have more fun with the color and pattern. The flattering fit makes a statement for an otherwise conservative outfit, or it can serve as the anchor for pieces with more flair. Always, always wear pencil skirts with heels – no excuses. You’ll be doing your figure a favor.
You need at least one knock-‘em-dead dress. Having a single go-to piece for a meeting or interview takes the extra work out of getting dressed when you need to focus on your strategy for the actual event. Have at least one dress that fits you perfectly, is versatile enough to take you to essentially any situation, and can be accessorized in a variety of ways.
I hated watches until I entered the 9-to-5 (okay, 8-to-6…) world. I thought, like every other student, that having my cell phone was sufficient. When you’re hustling down the sidewalk trying to fish for your car keys or hail a cab while not dropping your latte and handbag, you’ll be so grateful to have a watch on your wrist. I’m convinced I’ve saved myself many shattered iPhone screens this way. Pick a timepiece that requires a little investment for your everyday wear, and utilize inexpensive brands if you want to or experiment with trends or color.
Your work bag should be large enough to hold all your daily essentials, small enough not to break your back, versatile enough to go with many looks, and stylish enough to project a professional image. Try to stay away from anything that screams “label” – simple is often better here. A structured style in a neutral color is a good investment piece for everyday use.
A top that adds visual interest to an otherwise simple look is one of the easiest ways to get the most use out of your clothing. Incorporating structural details, patterns, or pops of color here comes naturally to most people. You’ll be able to pair an interesting top with many of the pieces you likely have in your closet, bringing new life to your existing wardrobe.
For the ambitious new graduate, a great blazer is an essential part of “dressing for the job you want.” As a bonus, they’re great for chilly offices. A blazer lends a structural, masculine element to your look. This extremely versatile piece can be dressed up or down, and can make a happy hour dress office appropriate, helping you effortlessly transition between your day and night attire.
We spend a lot of time at our jobs and, in most fields, are at least a bit limited when it comes to dress code. More than ever before, I cherish weekend dressing. Graphic sweatshirt? Cozy flannel? Sequins for day? Voluminous skirt? Why not? Have fun!