Graduating College? A Professional Wardrobe is on the Horizon

Posted on . Filed under: Graduation, Guest Experts.

Katy Hebebrand, the campaign coordinator at United Way of Escambia County, joined us a few weeks ago to share her tips to making the right impression after college. Well, it turns out she’s got one more tip – build a professional wardrobe!

As you prepare to graduate college, it’s time to take a look at your wardrobe. If you’re like I was in college, your wardrobe consists of t-shirts and jeans. Start now by shopping for some of the basics (and put them on your graduation gift list!!) and before you know it, you’ll have a wardrobe worthy of your professional career.

The Three Piece Suit

  • Look for a black pant, skirt and jacket combo. Black is a must for a job interview or very professional setting, but if you can find dark grey or navy blue suits they are great to have as well.
  • Shop in department stores such as Dillard’s, JC Penney or Macy’s for the best selection. Keep in mind that a suit jacket may not fit perfectly so go for the larger size and get it tailored to fit your body. Adjustments can usually be made for $20 or less.

The Button-Down Shirt

  • You want a white or light blue color, but remember to look for other colors that will compliment your skin and hair. If you don’t know what colors you look good in, use websites like this to give you an idea.
  • If you have trouble keeping a shirt tucked in, look at websites like Victoria’s Secret for a shirt that snaps between your legs.

The Shoes

  • You need a pair of black closed-toe pumps with modest 2-3 inch heels. If the heels are too high, they send the wrong message to potential employers.
  • Even though flats aren’t appropriate for a job interview, you still need to own some, because let’s face it, there are days we do not want to wear heels.

The Handbag

  • Your purse can say more about you than you realize, so keep a basic purse on hand for professional endeavors. It can be any color as long as it is neutral.

Other Must Haves and Tips

  • A little black dress is a must for any wardrobe. You can dress it up with jewelry and bright shoes, or keep it as basic as you like.
  • Black patent leather boots are great for cooler weather, no matter where you live.
  • Dark wash jeans and a blazer are great for more casual settings.
  • You can shop at stores like Ross and TJ Maxx where designer brands are typically much cheaper.
  • Victoria’s Secret is a great place to fine professional clothes. The sizes run true, and returning clothes that don’t fit is free.

Katy Hebebrand is the campaign coordinator at United Way of Escambia County. She is currently attending the University of West Florida for her Masters in Strategic Communication and Leadership. She is an active member of the Pensacola Chapter of Florida Public Relations Association. You can find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.