Whether you’re a college student with an internship or a senior looking for a job, it’s daunting to think about getting a career wardrobe without spending a fortune. Business professional and business casual attire is expensive, and it’s hard to have all the right pieces in your closet when most days you’re lounging in yoga pants and t-shirts in the library. So how does the typical college student upgrade their wardrobe gradually without killing their wallet?
Invest in a few pieces that’ll last you a long time.
During your first internship, even if it’s a casual office atmosphere, it always does you well to get a few pencil skirts and silhouette dresses. But if you do this, make it count. Buying cheap clothes is only good for fast fashion. But career dresses aren’t fast fashion. You don’t want to have to buy career clothes constantly; it’s expensive. A well-priced silhouette dress at a department store is often over $100. Buy those items gradually, because you likely won’t be able to afford it all at once.
Stock up on multi-purpose blouses.
You can rock a blouse with skirts at the office or with jeans to look classy at school. If you start buying blouses now and incorporate them into your style at school, you’ll be chic on the daily and you’ll already have them when it comes time to be a real adult.
Buy, break-in, and take care of classic shoes.
As much as you love funky one-time party heels, invest in a classic black pump and a few pairs of flats. Incorporate flats into your daily wardrobe, and you won’t have to worry about buying shoes for every outfit when it comes time for a real job.
Buy one outfit at a time.
Use the few occasions in college where you do have to look professional to your advantage. Whether it’s a presentation for class or an internship interview, treat yourself to a professional shopping trip. Over time, you’ll increase the clothes you already have and it won’t bust your wallet in the short term.
Get into a “classy” mindset.
Drop the sloppy college student look and just rock being well put-together. You can wear parts of your career look when you’re just going to class. It may not mean you’re wearing business dresses all of the time, but it may mean that you get some blazers and rock them with a pair of heels and skinny jeans. You could also amp up the accessories and rock funky necklaces with classic blouses. However you choose to show your style, don’t just think about fast fashion. Think through the gradual process of shifting your wardrobe without going out of style as a college student.