College is the time to make connections and put yourself out in the real world. Jobs and post-graduation opportunities are on the forefront of everyone’s minds. With the stress of sealing internships, people often forget about putting together a strong workwear wardrobe.
Office wear doesn’t have to be the same dress pants and button up everyday. Maybe you have a big presentation and need to exude professionalism. Or maybe you have a casual Zoom call and can get away with some nice jeans. With a couple staple items, you can channel your inner style and spice up your workwear wardrobe.
Trade in slim fit slacks for some wide-legged trousers. These pleated plants from Aritzia are professional but also on everyone’s Pinterest board. Radiate boss energy with a suit vest or oversized blazer. Channel the 90s by pairing your favorite tailored pants with a sleeveless turtleneck. Here’s your perfect presentation ready outfit: some gray trousers, with a simple white t-shirt and a gray oversized blazer to tie it all together.
But don’t think you need blazers and formal dresses to be professional. Those who say that jeans are unprofessional just haven’t done enough shopping. With the right accessories, jeans can be dressed up so that you are appropriate for the workplace while staying comfortable. To keep it simple, pair your favorite dark wash straight legged jeans with a knit sweater. Or, to spice it up, throw on an oversized blazer or trench and add a belt with gold accents. Add some chunky gold hoops and some statement kitten heels for some extra pop.
Freshman mechanical engineering major Yesha Shukla said, “I always keep a pair of black trousers and a black blazer handy in case I need to go to an interview or anything because they're simple but professional at the same time.”
Chic sweaters are also a great way to stay comfortable while being business casual. Ribbed knits and sweaters can be dressed up with pleated plants and some nice jeans. But they’re also breathable, allowing you to conduct all of your daily work proceedings without feeling constrained. Fitted cardigan sweaters are also a must have in everyone’s workwear wardrobe.
Junior journalism major Lilly Roser said, “Wear comfortable basics underneath! I like to wear a basic white fitted shirt underneath a blazer.”
You can also replace the heels with some comfortable shoes. Black leather loafers are a great way to stay classy while saving your feet from cramps. Professor Alanna Kopania said, “Wear comfortable shoes that are more polished. You probably won’t wear Nike with your dress but you can certainly wear flats.”
Unsure where to shop? Check out Express, Banana Republic and Abercrombie and Fitch. These sites have a wide variety of professional sweaters, pleated pants and blazers. The prices for these stores can range anywhere from $20 to $100. They have pants in all different styles and blazers in all different fits and colors. For more affordable options, check out H&M, with prices ranging from $10-$50. However, some styles in H&M, depending on material, are more expensive than others and can exceed this general price range
Kopania said, “Nordstrom Rack is a good place. I’m a big fan of Marshall’s and the Loft as well.”
The way you present yourself in the office is crucial in establishing credibility and respect. Dressing professionally not only elevates your image in the workplace but gives you that extra boost of confidence.