wardrobe essentials

My name is Kathleen La Valley I am a senior at Texas State University and I am 21 years old. I am a public relation major and fashion merchandising minor. I am also a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and was an Associated Student Government Senator for three years. I am passionate about fashion, technology, social media and travelling. My greatest loves are my family, my two dogs Roni and Coco (yes named after the great Coco Chanel) and Starbucks coffee. I was born in Long Beach, California, but grew up in San Antonio, Texas. However, my heart yearns for New York City! I always dreamed of becoming a fashion buyer but my career goals evolved during college. I have interned for Nordstrom and Embassy Suites, both amazing companies. I was a campus ambassador for Rent the Runway and manager of my campus team. I developed my love for blogging while publishing blogs on oBaz. I also worked for Neiman Marcus Last Call for over a year as a sales associate within the accessories department. I have plans to study abroad during the summer to Spain (I am so excited) and attend graduate school. I have been blessed with some really amazing opportunities and continue to pursue my career within the fashion industry upon graduating this May.

Warning: You are about to read a sentimental reflection on the journey from a college freshman’s wardrobe to a graduating senior’s aspiring “grownup” wardrobe.
I remember freshman year like it was yesterday. A couple of goals for my first year of college were to have fun, make new friends, attend classes, ace all of my courses, and manage to look cute while balancing it all. The truth is that I might have accomplished only a few of those goals. I’ll leave it up to the imagination on which ones I did not succeed in. However, freshman year was a great trial-and-error period on achieving a high school to college wardrobe and mentality metamorphosis.
I have managed, after three years, to master a quick beauty routine. Ladies, listen up: I recommend concealer, blush, a coat of mascara, and lipgloss for class. The joys of when I had long hair where I could do a simple top knot before class. My daily outfit for the fall and winter is typically a knit sweater and a pair of leggings. This year I proudly purchased my JCrew houndstooth vest, which I wear every time I get the chance to, and honestly it polishes every outfit. Then it is off to class, and yes, carrying a backpack is more convenient than a trendy purse and multiple binders. Trust me, I learned the hard way as an incoming freshman that a backpack would become my staple accessory during the school year.
This is where my college reminiscing comes to a halt because just when I thought I had it all figured out, my senior year of college approached. Now I am facing new challenges and the grown up world, or as experienced professionals like to say, “the real world.” As a result, I realized that I need to not only downsize all of my belongings that I have accumulated over four years, but my closet as well. I concluded that my wardrobe needs a professional makeover. If you are anything like I am, you are addicted to Pinterest. Whenever I have any questions I utilize my Pinterest account for research. So, I compiled a list of “key pieces” that every young professional or post-graduate needs in their personal wardrobe after my thorough evaluation through Pinterest.
First and foremost, every young professional needs a modern tote or briefcase to carry essential work items. I prefer the Michael Kors Hamilton tote or any Kate Spade tote because they are the perfect balance of professional and modern. I also believe there is an art when it comes to packing the ideal professional work tote. I found a very helpful guide coordinated by the “College Prepster.” A perfect work tote should always consist of: a planner, I recommend Lilly Pulitzer agendas; a notebook for jotting down ideas and note-taking during a work meeting; a tablet, makeup bag and always carry a pen/pencil pouch.
The next item that every graduate needs to incorporate into their wardrobe is a nice constructed blazer. The great thing about a blazer is you can even pair it with a t-shirt and jeans for a more casual outfit. I personally love blazers and have multiple of almost every color/pattern within my closet. However, if you do not have a blazer I recommend purchasing a nice polished black blazer to begin with. Surprisingly, I would begin with Forever 21 because the store always sells good quality inexpensive blazers. If you are looking for a more professional tailored blazer I recommend Ann Taylor, they offer blazers in almost every size as well as petite sizes.
Like almost every woman out there, I am a shoe addict. There is nothing more that I love than slipping on a pair of sky-high wedges to wear with a cute sundress. However, in the real world sky-high wedges and stilettos are not the most practical nor most professional choice to wear to work. Every graduate needs a pair of practical-sized pumps. I recently purchased a comfortable pair of black pumps at Aldo that were a great compromise between kitten heels and my traditional 5-inch heels. I also recommend that every woman has at least one pair of black heels and a pair of nude heels. I love nude heels because they give the illusion that your legs are long and lean.
Of course every post-graduate needs to trade in the daily sweatpants for a pair of tailored pants. JCrew and Express are always a good choice for finding reasonably priced professional pants. I personally love the sleek and streamlined look of Express’s Slim Leg Columnist pant.
Whether you are graduating or graduated, I would begin the post-graduate wardrobe transformation as soon as possible. If you are unsure of what your post-graduate wardrobe style is or what it should look like, I recommend utilizing Pinterest for ideas or researching your favorite celebrities “professional” wardrobe style. Congratulations to all of the other students graduating this spring like myself, we are almost there!

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