Having just woken up moments ago, I stand sleepily in front of my closet. Bright pinks, colorful patterns and small tees embroidered with sorority letters stare back at me. “I have nothing to wear,” I think to myself as I file through the seemingly endless collection. Packed to the brim with dresses, skirts, denim, sweaters, and wedges…and yet nothing seems right. Silk dresses worn strictly to cocktails. Neon tropical prints that should be reserved for vacation only. A few oversized sweaters that don’t seem so oversized anymore. After moments of digging, my closet floor is nothing more than a sea of fabric. Unwearable, barely-fits, possibly hideous fabric.
You’ve been there, right? You’ve just lost the affection for clothing you once adored.
Let’s break this down. In college, you’re in the best shape of your life. You have the time and energy to exercise every day. You walk everywhere. You don’t have a dress code, so whatever is “in” is what you buy. Your class wardrobe consists of oversized Greek Week tees, leggings and a worn-out pair of Nikes—so every other article of clothing in your closet becomes a special occasion piece. New dresses for formals and parent’s weekend. Dark denim, floral print tops, and wedges for a date night. White converse sneakers, ripped denim shorts, and a crop top for your best friend’s darty. Lacy tanks and colorful rompers for a night out with the girls. Practicality is thrown out the window.
Then, you graduate. And no one tells you how to dress for the real world.
And they definitely don’t tell you that you’re not guaranteed to stay a size 4 after sitting at a desk job for a few years (even if you work out regularly!). Nope, the real world isn’t fair to you or your closet!.
Tips for Transitioning Your Closet From College to Work
Purge your closet.
You’re not going to wear that Gatsby-style dress again (probably!). And the likelihood that the same trends from college are going to be “in” again soon? Not high. What are you to do? Purge your closet. Decide what’s keepable and decide what can be discarded—then, do it. You’ll appreciate the lighter load when it’s done.
When your clothes don’t fit, size up.
Here’s the thing. Size doesn’t matter. Do you have a wardrobe of clothes that fit you properly and make you feel confident in yourself? That’s what matters. If your closet is full of clothing from college that is a little too snug, size up. Store some of your favorite staple pieces that don’t fit right now (because they could again!) and discard the trendy pieces that don’t fit anymore.
Go for neutrals first.
When shopping for new clothes as an adult, start to build a base wardrobe of neutrals. Whites, darks, and tame colors are essential to any good wear-to-work wardrobe—and they won’t go out of style. Fill your closet with simple, classic pieces and you’ll be set.
Add statement pieces second.
Statement pieces, like colorful tops, oversized necklaces, and the like, should be secondary to your base wardrobe. Statement pieces are often trendy. They don’t stay in style for long—so if you’re wanting to build an evergreen closet, focus on statement pieces second. While essential to a stylish wardrobe, you should never have more statement pieces than base pieces in your closet at one time.
Shop quality over quantity.
If you were anything like me, you were a thrift store shopper and discount extraordinaire in college. Take me into an Old Navy clearance section and I could piece together three outfits—shoes and all—under $30. While inexpensive, a lot of these discount pieces didn’t last. Lasting wardrobes require quality clothing—so consider investing in a nicer piece once a month instead of bargain shopping in heaps during a sale.
Invest in a few professional pieces.
As a recent grad, you don’t have the budget to go all in on professional work attire, but investing in a few key pieces is smart. It’s important to look for a few versatile foundation pieces—like a basic blazer, a quality pair of dress pants, a pencil skirt, and silk top or two—that can dress up your existing wardrobe. Even if you’re not working at a company that has a strict dress code, invest anyway. You never know when you’ll need these essentials—and if you’re ever called into a client meeting or prepping for an interview, you can easily dress for success.
Tone down your going out attire.
In college, going out for drinks was a major deal—one that required no less than two hours of getting ready time. When meeting friends for drinks on a Friday night post-grad, you might feel inclined to go for the full-face of makeup, romper, and wedges look. And while it’s sometimes still appropriate—see bachelorette parties, birthdays, and vacations—your average weekend look as an adult should be more subtle. It’s time to part with your sequins and crop tops. Instead, find transitional clothing pieces that can easily take you from work to happy hour.
Post-Grad Wardrobe Essentials For Women
Starting a new job after graduation? Not sure what to wear now that you’ve purged your closet? Need to shop for post-grad wardrobe essentials? Here a few of our favorite pieces to start with—plus a few trendy summer weekend items to add to cart too!
So, What’s Purcado?
Shopping as a post-grad isn’t always easy. You finally have a job, but you also have expenses now. Student loans and electricity won’t pay itself, so your expendable income isn’t grand. Purcado can help make your shopping woes disappear. At our core, Purcado is a price-comparison tool with the goal of saving you time and money when shopping for shoes. We’re committed to helping you find the best deal on shoes every single day. Use Purcado’s one-of-a-kind search engine to compare prices on thousands of shoes from 65+ retailers instantly. We’ve got all of your favorite brands—Nike, Adidas, Steve Madden, Sam Edelman and more—at prices you’ll love.
Our philosophy? If you paid full price for the shoes on your feet, you’ve paid too much. If you shop around and shop often, you’re sure to find the same shoes at a lower price. But you don’t have the time to hop from store to store—and we get that. With Purcado, we take the stress out of shoe shopping by saving you time and money—and giving you peace of mind that you scored the best deal!
Not convinced? The average Purcado user saves up to 70% off retail price from all of the top brands. Why pay more for the same pair of shoes? Try us out today and see why we’re the new way to shop!