From College To The Workplace- Build The Perfect Work Wardrobe

Going from being a student to starting your career life is always an exciting phase. But the biggest question is - what do you do about clothes? Whether your workplace is a bit relaxed or whether it’s a place that demands formal office clothes, you’ll need to start transitioning your wardrobe from college to work-worthy. Even if you’re working from home, it’s a good idea to start putting together a professional style collection. If not for anyone, but to make yourself feel fresh and excited to start this new phase of life.

If you're currently a student in college or uni, chances are that you've got a wardrobe filled with comfortable pieces that are nerdy chic. You won’t necessarily have the money to go out and replace your entire wardrobe with work-appropriate pieces. 

In this post, I’m going to show you what you can do to gradually build a work wardrobe once you’ve started working without throwing out all your much-loved college clothes. And how you can look impressive without going broke. 

How to build a work wardrobe when you’re starting your career

  • Put aside a small amount to buy clothes every month. This is so that you don't go crazy and spend all your money on clothes in the first few months and have no money left over for food or entertainment. 
  • Your dream work wardrobe takes time. I have been working for over 15 years and now I have the absolute dream workwear collection. It doesn't happen overnight. If you rush it, you’ll end up with items that don’t suit you and don’t make you happy.

  • Shop online or visit your favourite shops once a week. This way, you'll buy a few good pieces every month instead of blowing all your money on clothes all at once. Shopping sprees are a complete drain on your funds when you start working. Be smart while shopping.
  • Buy high quality, less quantity. So for instance, get just one white shirt, but make sure it's of great quality and in a classic cut so you can mix and match it with other pieces. You should be able to wear it with your college clothes like jeans, casual skirts and jackets. Focus on quality and classic shapes. 

  • Buy a blazer as soon as you can. A blazer can be thrown over anything and everything. Even worn over a t-shirt and jeans, it looks chic and professional. 

  • Get a pair of work shoes like heels or loafers. The great thing about trends today is that sneakers can be worn with anything and everything. However, one pair of formal shoes can make any outfit look polished. You'll also be prepared for when you have to attend meetings or events in which formal wear is a must. 

  • In the beginning, ask your older friends and family if they have extra work clothes that they no longer wear. You can always put feelers out there that you don't mind accepting work clothes in your size and in good shape if anyone from your friends and family wants to give theirs away. I wish I had done this when I started working because it can be such a great way to save. Today I constantly give away clothes that I'm tired of wearing or those that no longer spark joy, to younger cousins and friends. I love seeing them wear my clothes and feeling happy with them. 

  • Check out H&M sales or their sales racks that are there almost all round the year. H&M usually have very classic and basic workwear pieces marked down to ridiculously low rates. I have bought elegant pencil dresses, pencil skirts and other classic workwear pieces for throwaway prices in H&M sales. Recently, a colleague of mine got herself real nice basic pieces for a steal in the last sale. So keep an eye out. 

  • Use accessories to make a statement. Accessories usually aren't expensive and they can really personalize your look. Scarves, hats, jewellery. They can all be worn in different ways with different outfits for fresh new looks. 

  • Get creative with your college clothes. Once you have a few basic workwear pieces, mix and match them with your casual and quirky college clothes for fun looks that show off your unique personality.

Dress: Saji's Couture, Earrings, Watch: Parfois, Bag, Bracelet: from India, Shoes: Aldo, Photos: Ancita Sherel

Final thoughts

Remember to go slow and steady when building a work wardrobe. Be creative while putting structuring your outfits. Check out sales whenever possible but again, don’t go crazy. Take your time, discover a new style as you put your workwear collection together and enjoy the process!

Until next time,

Shabana Feroze

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