If you recently graduated from college, you are probably eager to begin your career. However, after more than a decade and a half as a student, you may find it challenging to transition from stressed student to confident executive. One key to starting a career successfully is projecting a poised, polished image. Professionals want to draw attention to their work, not their wardrobe. Ironically, that is easiest to do after you have given your wardrobe sufficient consideration.
Ditch the Backpack
Unless you are headed out for a hike, leave the backpack at home. To interviews and to work, carry a briefcase. Or choose a more stylish leather messenger bag for women for the perfect balance of fashion, functionality and sophistication.
Leave the Hoodie at Home
Hooded sweatshirts are comfortable and durable. For hanging out with friends or prepping your meals for the week, an old hoodie cannot be beat. However, a sweatshirt, even a new one in great condition, has no place in the workplace. A certain tech industry giant made them his trademark, but until you make your first billion, you should stick to more classic attire such as fine knits, sweaters and button-down shirts.
The neon tie-dyed T-shirt you lived in during college may be a bit too casual, but do not leave the house looking like you are in mourning. Dark neutral colors such as navy, gray, black and brown are great for suits and other staples. However, they need to be energized; liven up your look with colorful shirts, sweaters, cardigans and scarves. Color evokes emotion but the relationship can be complex, so observe what other successful colleagues wear before deciding on bold, flamboyant hues.
Closed-toe shoes such as ballet flats and loafers are almost always appropriate. Moderate and low heels are okay, too. Fashionable ankle boots can pair nicely with suits and business casual looks. Remember, your shoes say a lot about you. In the work world, you want shoes that convey a sensible, tasteful image. Save the strappy sandals, platform sneakers and stiletto heels for evenings and weekends.
Wear a Watch
You can check the time by glancing at your smartphone, but wearing a watch conveys an image of class and sophistication. It also subtly suggests that you are conscientious and reliable. Choose a classic style that is versatile enough to coordinate with most of your everyday outfits. Stainless steel or leather straps are comfortable, durable and timeless. Analog watch faces are stylish; keep the design clean and uncluttered if you prefer an elegant look. Make more of a statement and express your personality with flowers, bold geometric patterns or jeweled bezels.