One of the most common problems of university graduates these days is how they can take their style from looking too casual to chic and professional. The transition is not as easy as it seems. A lot of outfit choices automatically scream fresh-out-of-college instead of competent employee.
This is why some organizations and schools provide courses on professional dressing to help university students and graduates dress more appropriately for the corporate world. The problem with these classes is, they are focused more on what you should wear instead of teaching you how to make what you have in your wardrobe look professional.
Therefore, in this post, we’re all about making typical pieces in a university student or graduate’s wardrobe perfect for the office because not everybody can buy a whole new set of clothes for work. Here are the top styling tricks for the job.
1. Wear solid colored shirts with a blazer, jeans, and high heels.
This styling tip is one of the easiest to pull off. Even the most casual T-shirts can take on a more serious vibe the moment you wear it with a structured jacket or blazer. And, jeans — even relaxed-fit ones — look work appropriate and sleek the moment you wear high heels.
If you, however, are not keen on high-heels because they can be a bit uncomfortable, opt for leather loafers or kitty mules, which are more comfortable but still refined.
2. Pair your short denim dress with a midi pleated or pencil skirt.
If you have a utilitarian short chambray or denim dress that you love to wear on its own or with a pair of leggings or shorts, turn it into a corporate top by pairing it with a midi pleated or pencil skirt. Actually, any long-ish skirt in your closet will do.
Tuck the dress in the skirt and wear a belt for a sleeker and more feminine silhouette.
3. Layer for modesty and style
Work with long and short pieces in your wardrobe to achieve the desired length and for additional coverage, which is often necessary for corporate settings. If you are wearing a short skirt, bring out a trench coat for length.
If you have a lot of sleeveless shirts, make them seem a tad conservative for the workplace by wearing a lightweight knit shirt or even a long-sleeved blouse under them.
4. Go monochromatic
Another easy way to make any outfit look chic and office-ready is to wear clothes in similar hues or exactly the same colors. An all-black ensemble, for instance, automatically looks serious and professional—ditto with an all-white or beige attire.
Plus, accessorizing to give your look that much-needed oomph for work is a breeze when you wear one solid block of color.
5. Tuck plaid shirts neatly into skirts and trousers
A plaid shirt is considered a fashion staple or a uniform among college students. If you have several, don’t throw them out just because you’re off to the professional realm. You can still use these shorts for workwear; however, wear them a little differently.
Make sure these shirts are always tucked neatly into bottoms. If these are loose, undo the first three buttons for a wider neckline and fold the sleeves way above the elbows. But, if the shirts are more fitted, wear them buttoned all the way up to the collar and button the cuffs, as well.
6. Accessorize with class
Accessories can make all the difference in an outfit. Pearls, for instance, can give a casual jersey dress instant class. Meanwhile, statement necklaces can provide a standard plain shirt with a touch of sophistication. And, if you have a lot of tribal brand clothing with ethnic prints (because college is perfect for eclectic dressing), you can make these look more elegant with bold but simple gold jewelry.
7. Tame oversized clothing with form-fitting bottoms
If you have a lot of oversized, boxy, or masculine pieces in your wardrobe (because, admit it, they’re the most comfortable to wear), you can give these a more refined and a bit of a sexy look by pairing them with form-fitting bottoms such as pencil cropped pants, and long tight skirts.
But, if you still find them a bit too overwhelming for your figure, cinch them at the waist with a belt or an obi or fitted cropped top. Doing this will gather all the extra fabric, show off your figure, and overall make the ensemble “powerful.”
See, you do not need an all-new wardrobe for your move into corporate life. A lot of the casual pieces you own just need a bit of tweaking to look work-ready. And, of course, if you want to look as professional as possible, attitude is critical.
Be confident and competent because, at the end of the day, these are the two qualities that will get other people to deal with you seriously.
Ethiopian-born and Dubai-based fashion designer Feiruza Mudessir discovered her curiosity to mix the traditional with contemporary at a young age, and this has become the trademark of her designs for Finchitua today. With her unique style standpoint, she served the VIP Color Forecast Panel 2017 for Al Jazeera Paints Company and VIP Color Forecast Panel 2019 for Asian Paints Berger. Ms. Mudessir is a shortlisted nominee for the prestigious Fashion Scout London 2018.