Professional wardrobe

Edith Morris is a 20 year old senior at Marist College studying public relations and fashion merchandising. Edith has one year of internship experience in public relations and fashion. Her love for fashion stems from a love of the arts. Edith strongly believes that creativity coupled with intelligence, motivation and passion produces excellence. In her spare time, Edith enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends and of course, shopping. Edith is set to graduate in May of 2015 and plans to work for a government agency or PR firm where she can use her talents and explore her interests.

First impressions are everything. If you don’t believe that, you are in need of a wake-up call – sorry. Contrary to popular belief, an investment in your professional wardrobe can cheap. As a senior in college, I learned that it is never too late to start behaving and dressing like a professional. Now that doesn’t mean you have come to class in a suit; however, a clean and neat appearance goes a long way and leaves an positive impression. The first lesson of dressing professionally is time management – strange, huh? Let me explain what I mean.
Tip #1: Time Management
For me, I value my sleep; however, I value my reputation more. A well-dressed individual is respected and trusted more than a sloppy individual. Here is where time management comes into play. You should allocate a maximum of 30 minutes to an hour before class to leave time for personal maintenance. To save even more time, you should pick out your outfit the night before – a flashback to elementary school. Use your time wisely and efficiently so that the end result is clean and presentable. On a side note: time management is a key trait to have when entering the professional world, so you are learning an important skill while dressing nicely! As a girl who is obsessed with fashion and style, I tend to lean toward trendier pieces, but my style preference is not for everyone, which leads to my second tip – trendy vs. professional attire.
Tip #2: Trendy vs. Professional Attire
Unless you have dreams of working in the fashion industry, a trendy wardrobe is not a requirement of a professional. You must develop your own personal style, however. Wear things that make you feel comfortable, and do not try to imitate someone else’s style. It is beneficial to find a style crush to guide your style development, for example – my style crush is Olivia Pope from Scandal. I can’t afford Olivia’s wardrobe, but I do incorporate the classic lines and feminine silhouettes of her outfits into my professional and everyday wardrobe. You only need a few well constructed pieces to start your professional wardrobe. Okay, brace yourselves for my third tip – classical pieces never go out of style.
Tip #3: Classical Pieces Never Go out of Style
For women, a little black dress is a classic, invest in one. There will be times during your college career where you will have to attend an event. Whether it is a networking event or an induction ceremony, you are going to have to dress professionally and classy. Find a black dress that flatters your shape and shows a minimal amount of skin – legs and chest areas to be specific, ladies. For men and women, a well constructed blazer is essential to a professional wardrobe. The key here is to make sure that the blazer fits well – nothing is worse than an ill fitted blazer, yikes! You should choose a black or grey blazer, and please stay away from pinstripe patterns – on second thought, stay away from all kinds of patterns for your basic blazer. Lastly, invest in quality shoes. For women, a classic black closed toed pump is the finishing touch to a professional outfit. If you are unable walk in heels, please learn how to walk in heels or invest in a smaller heel. Regardless, heels are a necessity. For men, a nice leather black dress shoe is a necessity. It is important to choose a shoe that fits well, and you must shine them before every use to maintain your look –scuffs are not attractive, my friend. Each and every piece I mentioned does not have to be a designer piece that is attached to a jaw dropping price tag. This leads to my fourth and final tip – shop like a student
Tip #4: Shop like a Student
As for me, I am on a limited budget – student loans, my fellow students. So, we have to shop with purpose and be mindful of how much we spend. Side note: here is your chance to start practicing good financial habits that can be carried over into your post-college years. The best times to shop are the months leading up to the retail buying season, which is January and July. Retailers are purchasing new inventory in January and July, so you should get the best deals around mid-December and early July because stores are trying to make room for new inventory. Also, check out fast fashion retailers like Forever21 and Express where you can get discounted clothing for an economical price.
Feel free to reach out to me via Twitter @edithamorris with any questions or comments you may have. In the meantime, happy shopping !

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