Transitioning Your Wardrobe—Undergrad to Working Gal

One year ago today. I can’t believe I graduated from college one year ago today. Since then A LOT has changed, but my biggest concern back then was how my wardrobe was going to change from going-to-class outfits to interview-ready get-ups that would land me a job. My bit of advice to this year’s graduating class:

Invest in 5 Multi-Use Basics

5 basics to invest in postgrad

 

1. Perfect-fitting white blouse
Opt for one in silk or cotton. Elie Tahari, BOSS by Hugo Boss, even Banana Republic and J.Crew have good options. Have a larger bust, and struggle with gaping? Try The Shirt — this brand was featured on Oprah and I got to meet the founder + try on a blouse or two while interning in DC. It has a patented hidden button placket that ensures no gaping (check it out here).

2. Ankle grazing black skinny pants
These transition well from work to weekend, and you can pair them with a blazer for a more tailored/fashion forward suit at the office. You can never go wrong with black ankle grazing tapered pants.

3. Black shift dress
This one is amazing for interviews and for on-the-job. Can be paired with flats or pumps, jazzed up with a cardigan (embellishment optional), or can be worn out after work with the proper accessory additions. The one I scored was high neck, sleeveless and hit just below the knee, but there are so many varieties, pick one that suits you! Above I chose one with a crew neck and short sleeves or a mock-neck one with a slightly more fitted shape.

4. 1-Button Blazer
The perfect topper for those black pants (item 2) or can be worn over a simple tee to jazz up jeans. The purpose of a 1-button is for it to cinch in at your waist (smallest part), but if you have a fuller figure or not as defined waist as an hourglass shape, I would recommend trying a two-button variety as this will graze your curves more and not compete with a fuller bust. Want more personality than just plain black? Seek out blazers with fun linings—you’ll still look professional, but it will have a bit more personality that only you will get joy out of :)

5. Classic, non-trendy tote
I can’t even tell you how much use you will get out of an understated tote. Knowing your wardrobe, choose a color that will pair easily for many outfits. I nabbed two totes before graduation: one minimalist all-white tote with no metallic hardware and one all black tote with minimal silver hardware—one for S/S and one for F/W. There is no need to drop bills on this item; both of mine were purchased at discount retailers! I scored my Spring/Summer all-white tote at TJ Maxx for under $200 and I scored my black croc Furla at Nordstrom Rack for under $300. Chic, minimalist, and timeless. Choosing a non-trendy tote will allow this investment to last through your 20s.


Though those above mentioned additions to your wardrobe will serve you well, it will be peace of mind to do a closet audit—especially if you’ll be downsizing into a shoebox-size apartment in NYC like I did. Buh-bye walk in closet! What I’ve listed below were things that I deemed as “never wearing again past undergrad” and was happy to give away/sell/donate. Everybody’s tastes are different—audit your closet and see what you can part with :)

Subtracted: boho mini dresses, excessively boho blouses, Minnetonka fringe boots (Halloween stash), anything I thought “I’ll wear this if I ever ______”, excessive amount of jeans and any pairs that were too trend oriented (colored denim, paint splattered, ultra ripped, etc.), 2/3 of my t-shirt drawer (namely graphic tees), shoes that I knew wouldn’t withstand a typical NYC night (aka walking 5+ city blocks), sheer blouses, anything that was very trend focused

Added: tops that could transition from day-to-night, more practical shoes (lower heels, flats that are cute and breezy), multi-use dresses, starting to save up for designer pieces (more European thinking)

Building a Solid Foundation pt. iii The Extras

The purpose of undergarments are to provide a smooth foundation on which to build your outfit. I don’t want it to come off that I think fashion is all work and no play–you’re supposed to have fun with it!! This edition of “Building a Solid Foundation” does just that: builds on the first two posts (which you can read here and here). You need to have the simple basics before you can add in the frivolous extras. Although, sometimes the extras aren’t so frivolous…

I may not have the largest chest in the world, but I have enough that not wearing a bra isn’t often an option. Then comes every girls’ dilemma: bras often limit what you can/cannot wear. HELLO ADHESIVES!! I love wearing plunging necklines and backless dresses–2 styles that are not bra friendly. I began my research earlier this summer and found my new best friends: 2: Braza’s Reveal Adhesive Bra, 6: Fashion Form’s NuBra Ultalite. Number 6 provides a great shape, but your night may be cut short if you sweat a bit–the adhesive slowly peeled away making me cross my arms for the rest of the night to hold it in place. Number 2 provides such a light lift you feel like you have nothing on! (And the adhesive stayed put All. Day. Long.)

Now here’s the fun part:

While I do think that unmentionables should remain unmentioned, there are times when I think they should show, too. I’ve often worn bandeaus (5) under super skimpy tanks, lacy bralettes (3) under low-cut shirts, and slips under shorter dresses to add a cute trim to my hem (8 & 9). I have yet to try bras as full-on shirts (1, 7, & 4 if under a blazer), but in no way shape or form am i opposed to it. But I will say: there is a fine line between sexy and skanky, so be weary.

Building a Solid Foundation pt. ii Panty Edition

It’s Girls’ Night with you and your friends. You’re the last of the group to finish primping, and as you step back from the mirror to carefully eye yourself from head to toe your eyes stop mid-way. The sexiness of your outfit has been snuffed by the dreaded diagonal lines digging into your behind. The ever-famous VPL: Visible Panty Line. No matter how fabulous your outfit is, keeping your undergarments unseen (i.e. your panties) will make a world of difference.

The Fit: Much like your bra, the proper fit of your panties will almost make you feel like you don’t have any on. You won’t be fidgeting to prevent a wedgie, worried that your panties are peeking, or concerned that your love handles are being man-handled by elastic. You will feel better. Your clothes will fit better. What could be better?

Panties are a bit different than bras. You can wear one bra per week, but you can go through at least one pair of panties per day. That being said, panties aren’t nearly as tactile of an investment as their supportive cousins, but thought should still go into which panties you buy. I think every woman should own 3 staple panties to enhance her wardrobe: low rise thong, high rise thong, and low rise hipster. When it comes to underwear I don’t have too many I genuinely don’t like. There is almost always a good purpose for a particular cut of panty: Boyshort? Sleeping and doing yoga at home. “Granny-panties”? Who doesn’t need a comfy pair around mid-month? But the 3 I specified are easy and comfortable solutions to enhance your wardrobe above all else.

The Fabric: I am a firm believer in cotton panties–a breathable fabric that is easily washed and comfortable for every day wear. Then there are nylon versions that look near-flawless under most fabrics. A little luxe lace every once in a while is a personal treat, but often rivals clingy skirts and dresses. Attention to the actual fabric of panties is only 1 of 2 things I consider; color is my next concern. Never knowing what colors, cuts, or textiles of the season may catch my eye, I opt for the simplest solution: a cotton thong in a “nude” as close to my skin tone as possible. I always want my clothes to talk, not the bulge, pudge, or peek from under my clothes. While your outfit may provide reasons for your bra to show, there is never a reason to have your panties show. Again, the two colors to seek out: classic black and a “nude” that is as close to your skin tone as possible. “Nude” or “buff” does not apply to all–finding one that matches your complexion will make red wine the only concern while wearing white jeans and ivory dresses.

The One(s): In addition to the 3 I mentioned before, here are all 7 recommendations for staple panties:

1. Low rise bikini (nude) 2. Low rise bikini (black) 3. Low rise G-string 4. High rise thong 5. Low rise thong 6. Low rise hipster (nude) 7. Low rise hipster (black)

Each one is meant to let your clothes do the talking, based on what you want them to say. Rock that mini, don those jeggings, and work that bandage skirt without worrying about the VPL.

Building a Solid Foundation pt. i

No matter how fabulous your outfit is, the garments that are unseen (i.e. your bra) can make a world of difference.

The Fit: The proper fit of your bra will almost make you feel like you don’t have one on. You won’t be tugging to keep your girls contained, straps in place, or bra band from migrating. You will feel better. Your clothes will fit better. Who could be happier? To maintain a proper-fitting bra remember to get remeasured every 6 months. This sounds a bit often, but think of the weight fluctuations that happen from your Summer bikini body to your day-after-Thanksgiving body. No one likes to compare the two, but see the reasoning?

Now comes the unfortunate truth…a woman should own AT LEAST 3 staple bras to enhance her wardrobe: a lightly lined demi or full coverage, a simple strapless, and a plunge or scoop bra. I do not think that any woman needs a push-up bra. Aside from being “false advertising,” I have seen far more girls resemble Dolly Parton than I have Heidi Klum (more crass than class). Don’t forget: a bra is made to enhance the real you, not replace your real boobs.

The Fabric: I am a firm believer in seamless Nylon or elastane bras–they provide a smooth coverage that looks near-flawless under most fabrics. A little luxe lace every once in a while is a personal treat, but often rivals clingy tops. Actual fabric of the bra aside, my most sought attribute: color of the bra. I always want my clothes to talk, not the bra from under my clothes. Unless purposely donning a neon hue or a black bra under a sheer top, your bra should be invisible. The two colors to seek out: classic black and one that is as close to your skin tone as possible. “Nude” or “buff” does not apply to all–finding one that matches your complexion will make wearing white shirts and semi-sheer shirts a breeze.

The One(s): As I said before, “a woman should own AT LEAST 3 staple bras”…well here are my recommended 7:

1. Lightly Lined Demi Bra 2. Balcony Bra 3. Strapless Push-up Bra 4. Strapless Bra 5. Bandeau 6. Full Coverage/Racerback Bra 7. Plunge Bra

Each one is meant to let your clothes do the talking, based on what you want them to say. Have you worn anything interesting lately?