Work It: A College Girl’s Guide to the Work Wardrobe

I know I mentioned  this a few posts back, but it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to have a work wardrobe in college. Interviews, career fairs, networking lunches and internships opportunities have an uncanny way of appearing seemingly out of the blue so it is best to be prepared for any situation. So what exactly is a work wardrobe?

Let's hope Samantha is bidding on a new work outfit...

Well, this is where is gets tough. Over the past few years, I’ve had internships that have required me to wear everything from workout gear and sneakers, to trendy-casual, to semi-formal business attire and everything in between. However, during my experiences, I’ve learned that there are a few essential items that every working gal needs in her closet. I’m not going to lie, good-quality business attire can be astoundingly expensive, and that is bad news bears for someone on a budget. Luckily, here are a few, affordable staples that will make you look like a million bucks without actually spending that much.

1. The Suit

AGB Jacket Two Button $39.98 and skirt $29.98

I actually own this blazer in black. Macy’s AGB line is perfect for a college budget. Affordable, well-made, and figure-flattering (sizes range from 4-16 US) AGB’s suits should be in every gal’s closet. Each separate is an exact color match, and they also make work pants as well. Also, from my experience, the jacket is seemingly wrinkle-proof!

2. Black or Nude Heels

Target's Mossimo Black Pump $29.99

It also comes in nude

When shopping for a work heel, make sure you feel absolutely comfortable in them in the store. I know heels and comfort go together as well as Kim Kardashian and marriages (sorry I had to), but there is nothing worse than spending eight hours in uncomfortable footwear. Can’t wear heels? Don’t worry! There are a ton of affordable, fashionable flats out there that look just as professional. Also, make sure your new kicks aren’t too high, 3 in at most.

3. Work blouse

A shell like this one from Banana Republic is a great top to layer under a blazer

Button-ups and I do not get along. In fact, we hate each other. The puckering, the ill-fitting waist, the collars that simply won’t stay creased, I’m officially over the button-up. Which is fine because there are so many cute blouse options available. Ann Taylor LOFT and Banana Republic are two great stores that have super-cute shells and blouses to go under blazers and cardigans. Although BR and AT are a bit pricier than what your budget allows, they often have great sale items and last year after Christmas Ann Taylor LOFT offered a 50% your entire purchase no exclusions! Just make sure when shopping for a shell, that it is not see-through and is appropriate for the office. Another tip: sign up for email lists to receive exclusive offers and sale notifications, just be warned they send a TON of emails.

4. The Cardigan

Who says cardigans are just for librarians?

Offices are freezing year round. So you better stock up on a few cute cardigans to keep you warm. Add a little personality to your outfit by going with an embellished or embroidered cardi or pair it with a bold colored shell or statement necklace. This cardigan from Target is not only cute but super affordable at $24.99.

5. Structured Bag

My dream bag from Etsy. Okay so its $199.00...how many days until Christmas?

I currently work at a radio station which requires me to go out and collect sound with a recorder and mic. I also need a notepad to jot notes and often receive a ton of press releases during the day, so I need a purse that is not only cute, but functional with pockets galore and enough space to hold everything I need.  Etsy is a great resource for unique, affordable, well-made bags. And another plus? You are supporting small business entrepreneurs in the process!

Have any other wardrobe staple suggestions? Share them below!

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