If you read my blog frequently, you may remember that I graduated from Kent State in May. Following graduation, I went on a three week vacation before starting my “big girl” job. My full time job opportunity came directly from my internship last summer and I couldn’t be more thankful for the amazing people I have met and the skills I have developed over the past year. Once I knew I would be starting full-time, I spent quite a bit of time (and money) planning a new wardrobe. I am still working on it, but I wanted to share one of my favorite looks, along with my best tips for building your post-graduation wardrobe on a budget!
I did my shopping at a variety of places like Nordstrom, The Limited, and Kohl’s. It was Memorial Day weekend, so I was able to get some amazing deals! I love pops of color in an outfit and this shirt does just that. I found The Limited to have an amazing variety of shirts for a great price during the sale! While these shirts are a little higher of a price point than I normally would spend, the sale made it worth it. After attempting to (and still working on!) building a word wardrobe, here are some of my best tips!
1. Decide when to splurge and when to save. This can be hard. I struggled with this and had to really think about where I should invest my money. Here’s my thoughts…
SPLURGE: items that you will wear every day (a good office bag, a nice watch), items that can be carried over from season to season (dress pants, skirts, cover up sweaters) and “timeless” office classics (classic blazers, a pair of nude and black heels). If you can justify this piece as an investment and something that can be used/worn for 2-3 years, BUY IT! You will get your moneys worth (probably more if you throw in some coupons and care-taking of your clothes)
SAVE: accessories and season-specific items. There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on accessories, but no one is going to be able to tell the different between a statement necklace from F21 vs. a statement necklace from Express. Same goes for belts, little stud earrings, or anything like that. Invest that extra money into a nice bag that will carry all your stuff! Season-specific items are fun to shop for – they are cute and trendy.. but that can be a problem. Will that bright floral dress be in style next summer? How many months of the year can you really wear it? Can it be mixed and matched forever? Unlike office staples like nude pants and a pair of good pumps, trendy items are always changing. Buy a few, but don’t spend a lot in this category.
2. Look around at all available options. Shop around! Browse for a full day and THEN go back and make your purchase decisions. Take your time and make different purchases when necessary. Do some in-person, do some online, or a mix of both. You want to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. Also look for discounts and upcoming sales. Will you store you’re buying from price match or price adjust? Look into these things and keep tabs!
3. Stay true to your style. At the end of the day, no matter what you buy or wear, you have to feel good in and it has to be a representation of who you are. Working in a conservative industry, it would be too easy for my to shy away from color. But putting on a printed shirt or adding a pop of color to an outfit makes me happy – and it shows. When you feel confident, you’ll carry positive vibes with you.
Best of luck to my fellow grads!